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Sports

Eagles snap losing spell, win it for MVP

Abac Cordero - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Ateneo can’t lose them all.

After dropping their first three games this season, the Blue Eagles finally barged into the win column yesterday with a 71-59 victory over Adamson at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Blue Eagles played like champions and gave their fans a reason to cheer. It was a fitting gift for sports patron Manny V. Pangilinan on his birthday yesterday.

They led most of the way and took a 15-point lead at 70-55 before cruising to victory.

Ateneo, champion in the last five years, notched its first win in the 76th UAAP season following setbacks against National University, FEU and La Salle.

The Blue Eagles waited long enough for this one.

Coach Bo Perasol heaved a sigh of relief as he entered the press room where winning coaches are traditionally brought for post-game interviews.

“It’s the first time I’ve seen this press room. I didn’t know it’s big,” said Perasol, who was starting to feel the heat after the team’s disastrous 0-3 start.

It was his first win as Ateneo coach.

“It’s more of a relief because if you keep on losing it’s a big challenge to your competence,” said the former coach in the Philippine Basketball Association.

The past couple of weeks, according to Perasol, were like no other.

“The criticism I received the past weeks was more than what I received in my entire career,” said Perasol, drawing laughter inside the press room.

Now he can start talking about winning, and he said they will try to win as many games in the first round, and hopefully reach the .500 mark.

Up next for Ateneo is University of the East.

The last time Ateneo got off to a 0-4 start was in 1997, and Perasol was happy to avoid the same situation.

“Naisip ko yung 0-4. Ano na naman ang sasabihin sa akin pag 0-4 eh matindi nga yung 0-3,” said Perasol, who drew the best from Juami Tiongson and JP Erram.

Injured Kiefer Ravena saw action for 11 minutes and delivered four points. Tiongson made two triples and finished with 15 points while Erram had 12 points and 12 rebounds.

In the other game, National University did not waste the opportunity to win, preying on winless University of the Philippines, 74-60, to climb into a share of second place.

The Bulldogs once again relied on Bobby Ray Parks’ all-around performance of 18 points, nine rebounds, six assists, a steal and a block in 34 minutes of action.

With a 3-1 record, NU moved into a tie with Santo Tomas, right behind unbeaten leader Far Eastern U at 4-0. The UP Maroons dropped to 0-4.

The Bulldogs got 40 free and made 30 of them. Parks was often fouled as he drove to the hoop and was awarded 16 free throws, missing only twice.

ATENEO

BLUE EAGLES

BOBBY RAY PARKS

COACH BO PERASOL

ERRAM

FAR EASTERN U

INJURED KIEFER RAVENA

JUAMI TIONGSON

NATIONAL UNIVERSITY

PERASOL

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