Ateneo Blue Eagles tighten grip on third spot, deal NU Bulldogs fifth straight loss
Thirdy Ravena and the Blue Eagles create separation from midtable and bottom teams. Jerome Ascano

RAFFY Verano scored 20 points as Ateneo walloped National University, 65-50, on Sunday in the UAAP Season 79 basketball tournament at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

The rookie shone brightest for the Blue Eagles as they picked up their second consecutive victory and solidified their hold of third spot with a 6-4 win-loss slate.

The Bulldogs slumped to their fifth consecutive defeat to stay in fifth spot with a 4-7 win-loss record but are now two games behind fourth-running Adamson (5-5).

“Coming into this game, we knew that we are up against an NU team that might be a little more desperate. We know that NU’s system, especially defensively is very tough,” said Ateneo assistant coach Sandy Arespacochaga.

“We wanted to make sure that we execute offensively and match or surpass NU’s defense,” he added.

Ateneo’s defense picked up in the second quarter, holding NU to just eight points to grab a commanding 34-16 lead at the half.

J-Jay Alejandro had 13 points for the struggling Bulldogs squad.

The scores:

Ateneo 65 — Verano 20, Go 9, Black 7, Babilonia 6, Asistio 6, Tolentino 6, Ravena 4, Mi. Nieto 3, Wong 2, Mendoza 2, Ma. Nieto 0, Ikeh 0, Porter 0, Escaler 0, White 0, Ildefonso 0.

NU 50 — Alejandro 13, Aroga 8, Salem 7, C. Diputado 6, Morido 5, R. Diputado 3, Gallego 3, Rangel 3, Pate 2, Abatayo 0, Mosqueda 0, Salim 0, Yu 0.

Quarterscores: 11-8; 34-26; 52-34; 65-50.

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