ATENEO won its fourth game in a row after beating University of the Philippines, 74-65, on Wednesday to clinch a place in the Final Four of the UAAP Season 78 men’s basketball tournament at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Kiefer Ravena had 16 points while rookie Adrian Wong gave a good account of himself with 14 points for the Blue Eagles, who joined leader Far Eastern University and University of Santo Tomas in the playoffs.
By improving to 8-4 (win-loss), the Blue Eagles also stayed in the hunt for a twice-to-beat advantage, more so after the loss of the UST Tiger to University of the East in the other half of the double-header.
The Eagles are now just a game behind second-running UST (9-3).
The Maroons fell to 3-8, dimming their hopes of making the playoffs.
Ravena may have topscored for an Ateneo team coming off a 10-day break, but head coach Bo Perasol reserved the biggest praise for back-up players led by Wong.
“I think that we started really well. We ended the second quarter really good. We were able to sustain our lead with the likes of Adrian and the timely shots by the bench,” said Perasol.
Even with the Blue Eagles on the rise and the Tigers struggling, Perasol is guarding against complacency.
“We are happy with this situation but it still needs to be done. What we have right now is a chance,” said Perasol.
Diego Dario topscored for UP with 13 points.
Ateneo (74) — Ravena 16, Wong 14, A. Tolentino 8, Ikeh 6, Gotladera 6, Pessumal 5, Ma. Nieto 5, Babilonia 4, Capacio 4, Black 2, V. Tolentino 2, Go 2.
UP (65) — Dario 13, Amar 11, Manuel 10, Desiderio 8, Kone 7, Moralde 4, Harris 4, Vito 4, Gallarza 2, Lim 2, Juruena 0, Asilum 0, Longa 0, Jaboneta 0.
Quarterscores: 19-11, 45-26, 54-44, 74-65.