ATENEO switched into high gear with a big fourth quarter run to defeat University of Santo Tomas, 73-69, on Sunday in the UAAP Season 79 seniors basketball tournament at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Blue Eagles went on a 14-2 run to start the fourth to open a 66-53 lead as Aaron Black and Thirdy Ravena provided the scoring punch to give consultant Tab Baldwin a win in his Ateneo debut.
Black scored a game-high 23 points while Ravena had a double-double of 17 points and 11 rebounds in his first UAAP game back after missing all of last season due to academic problems.
A tight contest through first three quarters finally saw some separation when Ateneo finally found it rhythm and pulled away in the final stretch, thanks to its outside shooting.
“We played well enough defensively especially toward the end and kept our ball movement going. We hit some crucial outside shots in the fourth quarter,” said Ateneo coach Sandy Arespacochaga.
Ravena hit a jumper to start the Blue Eagles' fourth-quarter run followed by a triple by Anton Asistio. The lead later swelled to 13 points as the Blue Eagles continued to pour it on.
UST was able to slice the gap to five points, 71-66, but with only 54.6 seconds left in the contest.
Louie Vigil finished with 21 points, nine rebounds, and five assists as he picked up the slack for a Tigers side depleted by the graduation of Kevin Ferrer, Karim Abdul, and Ed Daquioag.
Ateneo (73) — Black 23, Ravena 17, Mi. Nieto 7, Asistio 6, Wong 5, Mendoza 5, Babilonia 4, Tolentino 2, Go 2, Ma. Nieto 2, Ikeh 0, Porter 0, Verano 0.
UST (69) — Vigil 21, Macasaet 12, Bonleon 9, Lao 8, Basibas 7, Faundo 6, Subido 2, Afoakwah 2, De Guzman 2, Sheriff 0, Lee 0, Arana 0, Huang 0.
Quarters: 14-17, 34-34, 52-51, 73-69.