JP ERRAM had 10 of his 12 points in a pivotal third quarter as Ateneo avoided its worst start to a season in 16 years by defeating Adamson, 71-59, on Sunday in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Erram led the Blue Eagles’ 25-19 onslaught in the third highlighted by a telling 13-5 windup to the period that took the fight out of the Falcons and gave five-time defending champions their first victory of the season.
It was also the first victory of Ateneo coach Bo Perasol as college coach.
“More than anything else, this is a relief,” said Perasol of the victory that ended an 0-3 slide to start the season. “Para bang if you keep on losing, it’s kinda trying to challenge your confidence in what you are doing everyday.”
“It’s a break na nanalo na tayo, we can always follow what we are doing sa practices and there is a fruit to that,” added Perasol.
There were a lot of “sa wakas” (finally) comments in the crowd after the Blue Eagles completed the victory that kept them from duplicating an 0-4 start to the 1997 season.
King Eagle Kiefer Ravena saw action for the Blue Eagles after sitting out the team's last two games, playing for only 11 minutes and scoring four points as he is still recovering from a badly sprained ankle.
But Erram left Ravena in the shade, scoring eight points in the Blue Eagles’ pivotal run that opened their first sizeable lead of the game, 57-47, entering the fourth.
Ateneo’s lead never challenged in the final period.
Erram outplayed Adamson bigs Ingrid Sewa and Rodney Brondial as he redeemed a much-maligned Ateneo frontline that is still adjusting to life after center Greg Slaughter.
The Blue Eagles outrebounded the Falcons, 49-37.
Juami Tiongson led the Blue Eagles with 15 points including 2-of-4 from three point range. He also grabbed eight rebounds.
Erram also had 12 rebounds, while Ryan Buenafe had a near triple-double of 11 points, 12 rebounds, and nine assists.
“It’s an answered prayer for us. In the pregame huddle, that (rebounding) has been our emphasis for the last four to five days of practice,” said Perasol.
Ateneo is now in sixth place with a 1-3 card, in a tie with its opponent on Wednesday, University of the East.
Ateneo’s third quarter run came after Adamson closed to within four points, 44-48, on two free throws by Jericho Cruz.
Cruz had 21 points, Roider Cabrera added 14 markers, while Sewa and Brondial combined for 12 points and 16 rebounds for the Falcons, who dropped to a tie for fourth with La Salle at 2-2.
Adamson has now lost 32 of its last 33 games against Ateneo.
Standings: FEU 4-0, NU 3-1, UST 3-1, DLSU 2-2, Adamson 2-2, UE 1-3, Ateneo 1-3, UP 0-4.
Ateneo (71) – Tiongson 15, Erram 12, Buenafe 11, Newsome 10, Golla 6, Ravena 4, Capacio 4, Pessumal 3, Tolentino 2, Lim 2, Elorde 2, Enriquez 0.
Adamson (59) – Cruz 21, Cabrera 14, Brondial 8, Sewa 4, Inigo 3, Agustin 3, Rios 2, Monteclaro 2, Abrigo 2, Trollano 0, Petilos 0, Julkipli 0.
Quarterscores: 13-16; 32-28; 57-47; 71-59.