ATENEO de Manila kept its poise against a late University of the East (UE) uprising to score an 83-65 rout and remain unbeaten in Season 80 men’s basketball action of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) last Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The Blue Eagles were in cruise control, but the Red Warriors caught fire in the third quarter and with a series of short spurts, threatened to turn the game around as they cut their deficit to 52-60 entering the payoff period.
But that was the best UE—a team with a glorious UAAP tradition but winless since 1984—could muster as the Ateneo got its act back to storm to its fourth straight victory.
UE fell to 0-4 to share the cellar with University of Santo Tomas.
“UE is a tough team. I guess for a minute there, we fell into the trap of thinking that they’re a 0-3 team. In the third quarter, we gave up 29 points against them,” Ateneo Coach Sandy Arespacochaga said.
“It’s a good thing our players responded. We played well in the fourth—we played efficient offense,” he added.
The Blue Eagles are the hottest team so far early in the season, having beaten their opponents by an average of 17.6 points. Against UE, they led by as many as 15 points, 52-37, on Anton Asistio’s three-pointer with four minutes left in the third period.
Alvin Pasaol kept UE in the fight and scattered 11 points that threatened Ateneo’s control of the game in the third quarter.
Thirdy Ravena hauled Ateneo out of trouble in the fourth quarter by scoring 11 straight points that pushed the leaders to a comfortable 83-62 advantage.
“We knew they [UE] are a tough team, and they put a lot of effort every time they play. In the third, we had the lead, but we couldn’t really say we had control of the game because they were keeping the score within [close] distance,” Arespacochaga said.
Ravena finished with 21 points on 58 percent shooting and also had eight rebounds and two assists. Matt Nieto contributed 11 points and three assists, while his brother Mike and Aaron Black added 10 points apiece.
Pasaol topscored for UE with 22 points with Nick Abanto adding 10 points and grabbing nine rebounds.