AN undermanned Ateneo showed a lot of heart and resilience to stun San Beda, 74-62, in the 2018 Philippine Collegiate Champions League President's Cup on Thursday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Starting the game with just five players, the Blue Eagles turned to big man Isaac Go to bring down the Red Lions and force a deciding game in their best-of-three series for the right to meet University of the Visayas in the knockout championship.
Go scored 28 points in the absence of starting center Angelo Kouame and four other key players, going 7-of-12 from three-point land and hitting four treys to slam the door on the Red Lions in the final period.
Go also had 10 rebounds.
Tyler Tio also stepped up big with 18 points built on three treys as the Blue Eagles collectively shot 13-of-37 from beyond the arc in the absence of twins Matt and Mike Nieto. He added five assists and two rebounds.
Thirdy Ravena chipped in 11 points, three boards, three steals, and two dimes.
"I told the guys before the game, we only had five guys and they did a heck of a job. They kept the pace where it needed to be. That set the tone for when the other guys came in," said coach Tab Baldwin.
Ateneo started the game with just Go, Tio, Adrian Wong, Jason Credo, and RV Berjay as Ravena and three other players came in late from their classes in Katipunan.
Despite playing shorthanded, the Blue Eagles hit it from distance to gain control of the game.
The Red Lions made a spirited comeback with James Canlas cutting the deficit down to three, 51-48, before Go and Too buried backbreaking triples to send the best-of-three series to a decider.
"No heroes needed. They just needed to do what they needed to do and today, we played well," Baldwin said. "They went out there and under conditions that weren’t ideal. I think it just says something about them wanting to play the game the right way."
Canlas topscored for San Beda with 24 points, eight rebounds, and two assists, as Clint Doliguez added 14 and six.
ATENEO 74 - Go 28, Tio 18, Ravena 11, Wong 10, Andrade 3, Credo 3, Belangel 1, Mendoza 0, Berjay 0.
SAN BEDA 62 - Canlas 24, Doliguez 14, Oftana 13, Tankoua 8, Etrata 2, Nelle 1, Soberano 0, Abuda 0, Carino 0, Alfaro 0, Cuntapay 0, Obenza 0, Visser 0.
Quarters: 16-18, 38-28, 51-44, 74-62.