ATENEO weathered a second-quarter run by University of the East to pull off an 84-69 victory on Saturday in the UAAP Season 79 seniors basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Blue Eagles pulled away from the Red Warriors by outscoring them, 26-16, in the third period to get back on track after a heartbreaking 61-62 setback at the hands of Adamson last week.
But it was not a stroll in the park for Ateneo, which saw a 20-8 advantage slip away in the second quarter and found itself trailing, 32-30, at the half.
The Blue Eagles improved to 3-2 (win-loss), tying Adamson for second place in the team standings behind unbeaten arch-rival De La Salle.
The Red Warriors fell to 0-5.
Anton Asistio is proving to be a great pick-up for Ateneo, scoring 21 points in a drawn-out battle that turned into a free throw-shooting contest in the second half.
The Blue Eagles took 52 attempts from the foul line in the game.
“Hard earned win,” Ateneo coach Sandy Arespacochaga said. “We knew that UE was going all out. The score doesn’t tell the whole story of how this game was fought.”
Adrian Wong had 17 points before fouling out in the contest while Mike Nieto and Chibueze Ikeh totaled 11 points each for the Blue Eagles.
Alvin Pasaol finally broke out of his slump, scoring 22 points in a losing effort for the struggling Red Warriors.
Ateneo (84) — Asistio 21, Wong 17, Mi. Nieto 11, Ikeh 11, Ravena 7, Ma. Nieto 7, Verano 4, Tolentino 3, Go 3, Babilonia 0, Mendoza 0, Porter 0, White 0.
UE (69) — Pasaol 22, Batiller 11, Varilla 7, Abanto 6, Derige 6, Charcos 4, Olayon 3, Manalang 3, De Leon 2, Palma 2, Penuela 2, Larupay 1, Acuno 0, Bartolome 0, Gagate 0, Armenion 0.
Quarterscores: 20-9, 30-32, 58-46, 84-69.