MATT Nieto drained the game-winning triple as Ateneo claimed its biggest win in the 40th William Jones Cup with a 77-76 win over hosts Chinese Taipei on Saturday in Taiwan.
A controversial call granted Ying Chun-Chen two foul shots which eventually gave the hosts a 76-74 lead with three seconds remaining, but that only set up Nieto's heroics as he drained a triple from the left wing off a Thirdy Ravena inbound to break the hearts of the home crowd in attendance.
Eight of the 12 players of this team was part of the squad which faced Gilas Pilipinas twice in the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers, making the win for the Blue Eagles all the more impressive.
The win improved Ateneo to 5-2, just a stone's throw away from a podium finish as it trails Iran, Canada and Korea which totes 6-1 records.
Ateneo will shoot for a podium finish when it takes on Iran on Sunday at 3 p.m.
Nieto finished with 13 points to lead Ateneo as William Navarro continued his impressive run for the Blue Eagles with 11 points and eight rebounds.
Tab Baldwin also got a huge boost from his young players in Tyler Tio and Gian Mamuyac with the pair sparking a late Ateneo rally in the third after falling behind by seven early. They finished with eight and seven points respectively.
Cheng Liu led Chinese Taipei with 24 points, 10 rebounds, seven steals and three blocks as Chen added 17.
ATENEO 77 - Nieto Ma. 13, Navarro 11, Tio 8, Kouame 8, Ravena 7, Mamuyac 7, Wong 6, Verano 6, Nieto Mi. 4, Go 4, Maagdenberg 3, Mendoza 0.
TAIPEI 76 - Liu 24, Chen Y 17, Chou Y 12, Hu 9, Chou P 6, Chen G 6, Douglas 2, Peng 0, Chang 0, Lin 0, Zhen 0.
Quarters: 18-18, 36-35, 57-56, 77-76.