ATENEO withstood a late Far Eastern University uprising to carve out a 79-70 win to start its bid for redemption on a bright note in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament last night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Patrick Sleat scored nine of the Tamaraws’ last 11 points to cut the deficit to 70-75, with 1:08 remaining.
But the Blue Eagles, who squandered a 14-point lead midway in the final period, regained their bearings, as Fourth Padrigao nailed a huge triple to give his team the needed separation at 78-70.
Ateneo, which lost to University of the Philippines in the Finals last season that ended a three-year reign, ran out the gates early in the first quarter, leading by as much as 10 points before FEU unloaded a 20-6 second quarter to take the upperhand.
True enough, Blue Eagles coach Tab Baldwin know that the Tamaraws won’t just roll over and die.
“Scrappy for sure. We have a typical FEU fight,” said Baldwin.
Padrigao finished with 19 points, seven assists and six rebounds while BJ Andrade, whose six straight points gave Ateneo a 69-55 lead, added 15 points.
Ljay Gonzales led the Tamaraws with 19 points, four steals and two assists while Sleat chimed in 17 points.
Earlier, National University lived up to its preseason billing as it overcame a rough patch in the third period to beat vastly-improved University of the East, 77-70.
The Red Warriors briefly led, 52-51, on a Gani Stevens’ layup late in the third quarter, as they clawed back from 15 points down.
But thel Bulldogs restored order with a 16-3 run to establish a 67-55 advantage with 4:08 left.
“It’s a good win for us but still marami pa kaming kailangan trabahuhin. Bukas back to drawing board, we will review kung ano ‘yung mga lapses talaga namin,” said coach Jeff Napa, as NU will play Ateneo next.
John Lloyd Clemente paced the Bulldogs with 15 points, Jake Figueroa had 13 points and nine rebounds while Patrick Yu also scored 13 points.
In the women’s division, Camille Clarin had 22 points, seven boards, four assists and two steals as NU gave its new coach Aris Dimaunahan a triumphant debut and exended its winning run to 97 games following a 131-47 rout of UE.
LJ Miranda fired 17 points including a go-ahead corner three pointer with 18.2 seconds left as Ateneo defeated FEU for the first time in six years following a 67-64 victory.
Kyle Paranada tallied 17 points, five steals, five assists and three steals while Luis Villegas chipped in 15 points for the Red Warriors, who have lost 15 in a row dating back from last season.
Rookie Kean Baclaan, who made a controversial move to NU last August after playing in preseason leagues for University of Santo Tomas, started in lieu of injured Steve Nash Enriquez and finished with team-highs five assists and four steals to go with eight points.
NU (77) — Clemente 15, Figueroa 13, Yu 13, Malonzo 10, Manansala 9, Baclaan 8, John 5, Minerva 3, Mahinay 1, Galinato 0, Padrones 0, Tibayan 0, Palacielo 0, Tulabut 0.
UE (70) — K. Paranada 17, Villegas 15, Sawat 7, Stevens 6, N. Paranada 6, Antiporda 6, Payawal 5, Tulabut 4, Alcantara 2, Remogat 2, Pagsanjan 0, Guevarra 0, Abatayo 0, Lingo-Lingo 0.
Quarterscores: 24-11, 44-32, 53-52, 77-70
Ateneo (79) — Padrigao 19, Andrade 15, Ildefonso 14, Kouame 12, Koon 11, Ballungay 3, Daves 2, Chiu 2, Lazaro 1, Gomez 0, Garcia 0, Quitevis 0.
FEU (70) — Gonzales 19, Sleat 17, Sajonia 10, Anonuevo 9, Torres 5, Tchuente 3, Alforque 3, Tempra 2, Sandagon 2, Gravera 0, Celzo 0, Guibao 0, Bagunu 0.
Quarterscores: 24-16, 30-36, 55-50, 79-70.
11 a.m. – UE vs FEU (Men)
1 p.m. – AdU vs UP (Men)
4:30 p.m. – DLSU vs UST (Men)
6:30 p.m. – Ateneo vs NU (Men)