UNIVERSITY of the Philippines' stunning victory over Ateneo during the 2009 season was one of the few bright spots in the Maroons' UAAP campaign the past several years.
It turned out, that match is one that continues to haunt Norman Black to this day.
“I remember that game like it was yesterday,” Black said after his fivepeat-seeking Eagles survived another scare from the Maroons in hacking out a 76-68 victory on Thursday in the UAAP men’s basketball at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Blue Eagles captured their third win in a row and fourth in five outings but had to endure long, anxious moments against the winless Maroons, who led 40-32, at halftime and held a 10-point advantage at the start of the third quarter.
Black said the close call should serve as a warning for the defending champions.
“Every game that we play, we expect the other team’s best effort,” said Black. “We have to expect that going into every UAAP game.
"Just because we are Ateneo doesn’t mean that it’s going to be an easy win for us,” Black added.
The Maroons lost their fourth straight game.
Nico Salva scored the go-ahead basket that broke the final deadlock at 57-57. A Greg Slaughter tip-in allowed the Blue Eagles to grab a 61-57 advantage entering the fourth period.
A 6-1 start to the fourth period by the Eagles practically sealed the Maroons’ fate.
Salva topscored with 21 points for the Blue Eagles, who also got big contributions from Greg Slaughter (13 points, nine rebounds, three blocks) and Kiefer Ravena (11 points, six rebounds).
Oping Sumalinog had 10 points including five straight points that padded Ateneo’s lead to 10 points, 74-64, with 2:27 left in the game.
ATENEO 76—Salva 21, Slaughter 13, Ravena 11, Sumalinog 10, Chua 7, Gonzaga 5, Buenafe 5, Erram 2, Elorde 2, Pessumal 0, Capacio 0.
UP 70—Lopez 13, Ball 11, Padilla 11, Gamboa 10, Soyud 9, Montecastro 6, Asilum 6, Silungan 2, Romero 2, Mbah 0, Manuel 0, Hipolito 0, Gallarza 0.
Quarterscores: 17-19, 32-40, 61-57, 76-70.