ATENEO stepped on the gas in the second half to take down Adamson, 80-74, on Wednesday and inch closer to a Final Four spot in the UAAP Season 82 men's basketball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Thirdy Ravena poured in 23 points, five assists, four rebounds, one assist and a block as he became the first Blue Eagle to breach the 20-point mark in a game this season. He also iced the game from the free throw line with 18.9 seconds left.
Will Navarro was also magnificent all game long as he contributed 11 points, eight rebounds, and four rejections to help Ateneo stay at the top of the standings with a perfect 9-0 (win-loss) record.
The win was the Blue Eagles' 19th straight dating back to last season to clinch at least a playoff for the Final Four.
Curiously, the Blue Eagles have not lost a game in the UAAP for a year now, or since they fell to Far Eastern University, 63-60 last October 10.
Ateneo showed poise despite staring at a 37-34 halftime deficit, patiently waiting for an opening before flipping a 50-48 affair into a 63-50 lead behind a 13-2 finishing kick to cap a big third quarter.
"First half, I think we were patchy, but in the third quarter, we came out with some purpose," said coach Tab Baldwin.
The Blue Eagles continued the barrage in the payoff period, with Matt Nieto extending the lead to 15, 67-52, with 8:36 remaining.
But the Falcons refused to fold, fighting back to within three, 77-74, on a Joshua Yerro fastbreak in the last 8.9 seconds. But Nieto and Adrian Wong iced the game from the free throw line.
"We really survived Adamson in the end," said Baldwin. "We made a lot of bonehead plays. There’s no excuse for that. We have to practice those kinds of situations. We didn’t perform well in that scenario in either end. We have to figure out how to be good in either situation."
Nieto got 11 points and five assists, while Matthew Daves scored a career-best 10 points and six rebounds in the win.
Adamson's fourth straight defeat to left it with a 3-6 record.
Valandre Chauca led the Soaring Falcons with 17 points on 3-of-4 shooting from rainbow country, to go with seven rebounds and four assists.
Jerrick Ahanmisi also scored 17 points built on three triples, on top of two boards, two dimes, and two steals.
ATENEO 80 - Ravena 23, Navarro 11, Ma. Nieto 11, Daves 10, Go 7, Kouame 7, Mi. Nieto 7, Mamuyac 3, Wong 1, Belangel 0, Maagdenberg 0, Tio 0.
ADAMSON 74 - Ahanmisi 17, Chauca 17, Douanga 13, Yerro 12, Camacho 6, Manlapaz 5, Lastimosa 4, Fermin 0, Flowers 0, Magbuhos 0, Mojica 0.
Quarters: 22-18, 34-37, 63-50, 80-74.