ATENEO bounced back from its shooting woes in the first half to defeat Far Eastern University 74-71 on Saturday in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Blue Eagles finished the first round with a 6-1 win-loss record to take the top spot in the standings. University of Santo Tomas holds a 5-1 card and can gain a share of the lead with a win over Adamson on Sunday. FEU now has a 5-2 slate.
Greg Slaughter had 17 points while Juami Tiongson added 12 points, including three triples, to spark the Blue Eagles’ comeback in the second half.
Ateneo trailed 23-35 at one point in the second period after the Blue Eagles only shot nine-of-23 in the first half.
The Blue Eagles scored nine points in the second quarter and trailed 27-37 at halftime but still managed to capture the win with a 14-of-28 shooting clip in the second half.
“I told them in the first half that we didn’t do a good job with the perimeter players scoring in the paint,” said Ateneo coach Norman Black. “They really wreak havoc by getting in the lane and breaking our defense down.”
“We did a much better job in the second half especially defensively. It was easier to make shots,” added Black.
The Blue Eagles slowly climbed back, with Tiongson converting back-to-back triples to cut the deficit to 40-43 into a manageable 49-53 third-quarter FEU lead.
Nico Salva finally gave Ateneo the lead, 56-55, before the Blue Eagles grabbed a 68-60 lead on a 6-0 run.
ATENEO (74)—Slaughter 17, Tiongson 12, Ravena 12, Buenafe 10, Salva 6, Erram 6, Elorde 6, Sumalinog 3, Chua 2, Gonzaga 0, Golla 0.
FEU (71)—Garcia 21, Hargrove 12, Romeo 10, A. Bringas 10, M. Bringas 7, Belo 6, Tolomia 3, Pogoy 2, Sentcheu 0, Mendoza 0, Cruz 0.
Quarterscores: 18-21; 27-37; 49-53; 74-71.