Ateneo escaped a gallant challenge from University of Santo Tomas, 71-70, to stay immaculate in the UAAP Season 82 Men’s Basketball Tournament Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Ange Kouame scored the go-ahead tip with 3:40 left that put the Blue Eagles, 68-67, before emphatically denying Soulemane Chabi Yo’s jumper in the final minute, before Thirdy Ravena and Matt Nieto iced the game at the charity stripe in the waning seconds.
The Ivorian Kouame finished with 11 points, 10 boards, and two blocks, while the senior Ravena topped Ateneo with 17 points, 11 of which coming in the second half, to go with 10 rebounds, two assists, and two steals.
“We understood that game was going to be a really tough game. I feel fortunate we won the game. That’s the kind of game that you can credit the team as much as you want, talk about character, and all of that, but I think that every applaud you give your team, you give the other. That could have gone either way,” said coach Tab Baldwin of what he regarded as a “track meet” and lived up to everyone’s expectations.
Gian Mamuyac also did his damage with 10 points and four rebounds, while Will Navarro had eight points, five rebounds, and five assists in the win to keep the Blue Eagles at the top of the standings at 3-0.
There’s no doubt, though, that UST left a lot of impression on Ateneo with Baldwin having a lengthy talk with counterpart Aldin Ayo after the game.
Chabi Yo paced the Growling Tigers in the valiant stand with 25 points, 13 rebounds, two assists, and two blocks as they fell to a 2-1 slate.
Rhenz Abando, Mark Nonoy, and Renzo Subido all had nine in the losing cause.
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.