Eagles escape past gritty Tigers
John Bryan Ulanday (The Philippine Star) - September 12, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Tried and tested champion Ateneo showed great composure in a tight duel and escaped with a razor-thin 71-70 win over a gritty Santo Tomas side to soar to solo lead in the 82nd UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum yesterday.

Ranged against worthy challengers in the previously unbeaten Tigers, the Blue Eagles found themselves being dragged into a near defeat before stamping their championship pedigree in the dying minutes to notch a third straight victory.

Later in the day, La Salle squeaked past National U, 83-82, while Adamson repulsed University of the East, 91-80.

Justine Baltazar came through with 23 points and 10 rebounds as La Salle barged into the win column after a losing season debut against Adamson.

The Falcons rode high on Jerrick Ahanmisi’s 28-point job as they chalked up a second straight win.

Thirdy Ravena, last year’s Finals MVP, overcame a foul-plagued first half and spearheaded Ateneo’s steady finish to dodge a major upset ax.

Ravena finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and two steals in a solid all around effort highlighted by two crucial freebies in the last 11.6 seconds. 

Coming from a mere four-point outing against La Salle, Ivorian center Angelo Kouame bounced back big time, pouring nine of his 11 markers in the all-important payoff period, none bigger than the crucial putback that pushed Ateneo ahead at 68-67.

Kouame added 10 boards and three blocks as wingman Gian Mamuyac put up 10 markers.

“I don’t want to say I told you so, but I told you so. We could see that, we understood that game was going to be a really, really tough game and I feel very, very fortunate that we won the game,” said coach Tab Baldwin who anticipated this tough match against the aggressive Growling Tigers.

It was an escape act for the Blue Eagles, who, after taking flight with a strong 29-13 second quarter salvo, got taken down by a staggering 24-4 Tigers’ retaliation.

The scores:

First Game

Ateneo 71 – Ravena 17, Kouame 11, Mamuyac 10, Navarro 8, Belangel 6, Maagdenberg 6, Ma. Nieto 5, Go 3, Wong 3, Mi. Nieto 2, Andrade 0, Daves 0, Tio 0.

UST 70 – Chabi Yo 25, Abando 9, Nonoy 9, Subido 9, Huang 6, Cansino 4, Concepcion 4, Ando 2, Paraiso 2, Bataller 0.

Quarterscores: 23-13, 33-37, 53-56, 71-70

Second Game

La Salle 83 – Baltazar 23, Malonzo 14, Melecio 10, Caracut 7, Lojera 6, Meeker 6, Serrano 6, Bates 4, Pado 4, Cagulangan 3, Cu 0, Hill 0, Manuel 0.

NU 82 – S. Ildefonso 26, Clemente 19, Gallego 12, Gaye 11, D. Ildefonso 8, Joson 2, Minerva 2, Mosqueda 2, Diputado 0, Galinato 0, Mangayao 0, Oczon 0, Tibayan 0, Yu 0.

Quarterscores: 22-12, 42-32, 67-57, 83-82

Third Game

Adamson 91 – Ahanmisi 28, Lastimosa 16, Chauca 13, Douanga 11, Fermin 5, Bernardo 4, Camacho 4, Magbuhos 4, Orquez 4, Yerro 2, Flowers 0, Manlapaz 0, Mojica 0, Zaldivar 0.

UE 80 – Suerte 20, Mendoza 17, Apacible 15, Conner 13, Manalang 5, Tolentino 4, Abanto 3, Antiporda 3, Beltran 0, Cruz 0, Sawat 0.

Quarterscores: 19-21, 44-38, 66-57, 91-80

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