Ateneo stalls UST mission to move to Final 4, Eagles turn Tigers blue

Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - October 21, 2015 - 10:00am

Games on Saturday  

(Smart Araneta Coliseum)

2 p.m. – DLSU vs AdU

4 p.m. – FEU vs UE


MANILA, Philippines - It essentially took the same script as their initial meeting but the Ateneo Blue Eagles made sure it would have a different ending this time.

The Blue Eagles raced to a 17-point spread, squandered it but learning the lesson from last time, they regained their bearing and ultimately got the job done, 80-74, to boost their Final Four campaign in the UAAP Season 78 men’s basketball tourney at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last night.

Arvin Tolentino sizzled with 20 points, knocking down one big shot after another to help the Eagles quell the trademark second-half fightback of the Tigers and improve to 6-4 and solo third.

The Tigers, who failed to duplicate their come-from-behind 68-58 verdict over the Eagles in the first round, got stalled in their bid to nail the first semis berth and fell to second at 8-2.

UST’s loss also enabled Far Eastern to grab the solo lead at 8-1.

“This is actually a very big victory for us. It’s kind of traumatic for us; there were moments in the game when personally I was asking myself is this a second run again for them?” said AdMU coach Bo Perasol, remembering the fourth-quarter meltdown that cost the Eagles the game in the first-round.

“We knew we can match up well with UST but due to a lot of factors, we weren’t able to close out that game and we needed some maturity and I think we’re able to get that a little bit today,” he added.

The Eagles took a 49-32 tear at the start of the third but the Tigers went to their three-point shooting to close the gap, 50-53.

Sophomore Tolentino, however, came to AdMU’s rescue and led a 7-2 windup to restore an eight-point spread heading to the fourth. Tolentino then dumped 13 markers spiked by three treys in the payoff period as the Eagles erected a 75-65 margin with 2:38 left.

“This game was a character-building game for us. Twice in past we had big leads against UST and La Salle and we lost in the fourth quarter and second half. I wanna commend Coach Bo for reminding everybody to stay composed, and maintain discipline. That’s a big part of why we won today,” said Pessumal, who chipped in 16 laced with three triples.

Ed Daquioag (19) and Marvin Lee (15) led the way for UST as Kevin Ferrer struggled with a 1-of-11 shooting for 13 markers overall.

    Earlier, J-jay Alejandro stepped up big-time in the clutch as defending champion National U survived Adamson in overtime, 85-79, to arrest a three-game slide and stay in the hunt for a Final Four berth.

Alejandro fired a career-high 22 points, including four in regulation and eight in extension as the Bulldogs rallied to notch their fourth victory in 10 outings.

Papi Sarr muscled his way to a personal best 32 markers and 17 boards to pace the Falcons, who dropped to 1-9 and became the first squad to get eliminated this season.

“A win is a win, talagang kailangan namin ito para makabwelo sa next games (We needed this badly to gain momentum to our next games),” said NU captain Gelo Alolino, who banged in 17 markers spiked by seven in the fourth to go with 10 assists.


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