UNIVERSITY of the Philippines nailed its second win of the season by beating Ateneo, 56-52, on Saturday in the 79th UAAP basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Gelo Vito put the finishing touches on the victory, hitting a late triple to put the Maroons ahead, 54-50, with 16.4 seconds left.
The Fighting Maroons snapped a 14-game losing run against the Blue Eagles, last winning in a first-round game in 2009.
Jett Manuel scored 15 points for the Fighting Maroons, who improved their mark to 2-6. They are still tied at the bottom, however, with University of the East and University of Sto. Tomas.
“I was telling them, most especially Jett and the other graduating players that we are not going to wait for another seven years to beat Ateneo,” said UP coach Bo Perasol, a former head coach of the Blue Eagles.
The Maroons took control of the game late, grabbing a 51-44 advantage in the fourth period.
Ateneo put up a run, with GBoy Babilonia splitting his two free throws to come to within a point, 51-50, with 1:37 left in the fourth before that three-point bucket by Vito as the Maroons were finally able to close out the game.
“I really thought if we could have close out games like we did today, I think we could have won a couple of games,” Perasol said.
Adrian Wong and Chibueze Ikeh had 10 points each for the Blue Eagles, who have lost two straight games to fall back to 4-4.
UP 56 — Manuel 15, Desiderio 9, Moralde 8, Lim 8, Vito 7, Jaboneta 3, Prado 2, Dario 2, Gomez De Liano 2, Webb 0, Asilum 0, Harris 0, Romero 0.
Ateneo 52 — Wong 10, Ikeh 10, Mi. Nieto 9, Verano 9, Ravena 6, Tolentino 5, Babilonia 3, Asistio 0, Ma. Nieto 0, Mendoza 0, Porter 0.
Quarterscores: 10-11; 23-23; 41-39; 56-52.