ATENEO reasserted its mastery of University of the East to seize the solo lead, while University of the Philippines upended Far Eastern University to solidify its Final Four hopes yesterday in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Blue Eagles raced to a 33-point halftime lead before coasting to a 90-70 victory over the Red Warriors and moving closer to securing a place in the semifinals.
Paul Desiderio, waxing hot from beyond the arc, scattered 18 of his career-high 31 points in the first period as the Fighting Maroons moved in a tie with the Tamaraws at No. 4 with a 95-82 romp.
Logging its eighth win in 10 contests, Ateneo dislodged Adamson from the top spot, as the defending champions stayed dominant in the second round, posting an average winning margin of 19 points in three matches.
Winning its second consecutive match, UP played with a sense of urgency right from the get go, exploding for 37 points in the opening quarter and quelling several FEU fightbacks to raise its record at 5-5.
Imposing his will in the middle, Ivorian first year center Ange Kouame came through with 18 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks, while Tyler Tio continued to fill the void left by Matt Nieto with a career-high 16 points for the Eagles.
Thirdy Ravena was at his usual best in his return from one-game suspension with 10 points, five rebounds and four assists - and more importantly his valuable presence inside the court.
“He is one of the guys who can rebound for us, who can pass for us. He can defend. He can penetrate and he can score. That’s important for us,” said Ateneo assistant coach Sandy Arespacochaga.
“We are happy that Thirdy is back. We feel his presence. To his credit, even though he was not able to play in our last game, he helped his teammate to get ready,” he added.
Ateneo (90) – Kouame 18, Tio 16, Verano 14, Ravena 10, Mendoza 10, Mamuyac 6, Belangel 6, Navarro 5, Black 3, Daves 2, Asistio 0, Wong 0, Go 0, Andrade 0.
UE (70) – Pasaol 29, Manalang 18, Varilla 9, Cullar 6, Bartolome 4, Strait 2, Guion 1, Beltran 1, Gallardo 0, Lacap 0, Antiporda 0, Acuno 0, Gagate 0.
Quarterscores: 29-15, 57-24, 73-51, 90-70
UP (95) – Desiderio 31, Akhuetie 20, Gomez de Liaño Ju. 19, Manzo 11, Dario 6, Gomez de Liaño Ja. 4, Jaboneta 2, Gozum 2, Vito 0, Murrell 0, Lim 0, Prado 0.
FEU (82) – Bienes 14, Eboña 13, Comboy 12, Cani 11, Iñigo 10, Escoto 10, Ramirez 5, Stockton 3, Parker 2, Tuffin 2.
Quarterscores: 37-30, 54-43, 78-65, 95-82