Blue Eagles survive huge scare from lowly Bulldogs to keep slate unblemished
Anton Asistio and the Eagles trailed at halftime and were ahead by just two entering the fourth period. Marlo Cueto

ATENEO remained unbeaten in UAAP Season 80 basketball tournament, edging National University, 85-72, on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena to clinch at least a playoff for a semifinal berth.

The Blue Eagles managed to stretch their streak to nine despite trailing at halftime for the first time this season.

The Bulldogs slid to 3-6, losing for the fifth time in the last six matches.

NU played the last few minutes of the match without head coach Jamike Jarin, who was ejected after being called for a second technical foul with 4:13 left in the match.

Ateneo assistant coach Sandy Arespacochaga said they were not surprised by the tough challenge from NU.

"We kinda expected it especially in the first half. We weren't able to match their energy. It's just a matter of telling our players to just read the defense especially the zone and find the open shots, and move the ball to the open shooter," said Arespacochaga.

The Blue Eagles hit 11 triples as they sustained their run with five games left in the elimination round.

Thirdy Ravena led the Blue Eagles with 15 points, eight rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks, while Matt Nieto and Jolo Mendoza each had 10 markers.

The scores:

Ateneo 85 - Ravena 15, Ma. Nieto 10, Mendoza 10, Ikeh 8, Asistio 8, Mamuyac 8, Go 6, Mi. Nieto 5, Tio 5, Verano 4, Tolentino 3, Black 3, White 0.

NU 72 - Alejandro 22, Joson 11, Gaye 8, Salem 7, Mosqueda 5, Bartlett 4, Rangel 4, Morido 4, Yu 3, Diputado 2, Cauilan 2, Tibayan 0.

Quarterscores: 28-22; 45-48; 67-65; 85-72.

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