ATENEO started on fire and never let up, overpowering Far Eastern University, 92-73, on Wednesday for its fifth straight victory in the UAAP Season 76 men’s basketball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
What was expected to be a tight match between two Final Four contenders turned out to be walk in the park for the Blue Eagles, who led by as many as 33 points and improved to a 6-4 win-loss slate.
Ateneo was already ahead, 26-8, in the first quarter and FEU couldn’t respond. A 6-0 Ateneo start to the second period all but put the game away, 32-13.
In contrast to their previous games where they relaxed in the final two periods, the Blue Eagles never once eased up on the pedal in the second half, padding the lead to 73-40 late in the third period.
FEU, which was coming off an emotional 98-94 double overtime victory over University of the East last Sunday, dropped to 8-3 after losing for the third time in four second-round games.
The win came as a big morale boost for Ateneo ahead of the much-anticipated match-up on Sunday against archrival La Salle, which has won its last three game and shares joint third at 6-4.
“We responded well and we hope that we can carry this momentum against strong teams like La Salle,” said Ateneo coach Bo Perasol.
Juami Tiongson led Ateneo with 20 points, Kiefer Ravena added 18 points, while Chris Newsome had 11 points and 14 rebounds for the Blue Eagles.
“We played honest-to-goodness defense again. I have to commend Juami and the others for stepping up and having a spectacular offensive day,” Ravena said.
Terrence Romeo had 19 points but shot just 7-of-24 from the field. RR Garcia, returning from a one-game suspension, added 11 markers for the skidding Tamaraws.
Ateneo (92) – Tiongson 20, Ravena 18, Newsome 11, Tolentino 9, Golla 9, Buenafe 9, Pessumal 5, Elorde 5, Capacio 4, Erram 2, Murphy 0, Enriquez 0, Asuncion 0, Asistio 0.
FEU (73) – Romeo 19, Garcia 11, Tolomia 9, Pogoy 9, Hargrove 6, Belo 6, Jose 5, Inigo 3, Cruz 3, Lee Yu 2, Sentcheu 0, Mendoza 0, Luz 0, Dennison 0, Delfinado 0, Aguilon 0.
Quarterscores: 26-11; 51-28; 73-45; 92-73.