Ateneo comes up big in 2nd half to beat UP
MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATE 1) The Ateneo Blue Eagles rallied from a double-digit deficit in the first half to once again win the Battle of Katipunan, 67-59, over the UP Fighting Maroons in their second round game of the UAAP Season 76 men's basketball tournament.
Kiefer Ravena shot miserably from the field but finished with a double-double of 14 points and 14 rebounds to lift the Blue Eagles past their Katipunan neighbors Thursday at the Araneta Coliseum.
But while he will take the win, Ateneo coach Bo Perasol admitted that he is dissatisfied with how the Blue Eagles played.
"I don't think I'll be honest if I say I'm satisfied with the way we won the game," he said. "We could have done better in bracing ourselves for tougher situations... but like any other coach, I'll take it any time."
The Fighting Maroons were the sharper team in the first quarter, with Henri Asilum firing eight points in the opening period to power UP to a 21-14 lead. The Blue Eagles were scoreless in the final 4:37 of the first quarter and clearly had trouble settling into their halfcourt sets.
UP would lead by as much as 11 points, 33-22, after Sam Marata drilled a triple even while being double-teamed. But the Blue Eagles barged their way back into the game with an 11-1 run to end the second half, and were down by just a point, 33-34, at halftime.
"There are things that are commendable. We did not give up even if we were down in the first quarter, even the second quarter," Perasol said. "If there's one thing that brought out the better in us, it's that kind of attitude - we never gave up."
Behind Ravena, Ateneo opened the third quarter with a 5-0 blast that allowed them to take the lead, 38-34, for the first time since early in the first quarter. A triple by Marata and a jump shot by Raul Soyud gave UP their last lead of the game, 39-38, and then it was all Ateneo from that point.
Reserve forward Gwyne Capacio scored four points in an 8-0 run that allowed Ateneo to take a 46-39 lead, and the Fighting Maroons were unable to mount a significant threat the rest of the game.
The Blue Eagles would eventually lead by as much as 14 points, 67-53.
The win allowed Ateneo to even their record at 4-4, marking the first time they reached the .500 level in Season 76 after a 0-3 start to the tournament. It was also Ateneo's ninth consecutive victory over their Katipunan rivals.
"Being in the middle of the board, I think that is going to give us a little bit of confidence going to the last six games of the elimination round," said Perasol. "If we can stay with our game plans, with the right attitude, I think we'll give anybody a tough fight."
Ateneo converted 40.3% of their shots, and out-rebounded UP 44-35. The Maroons, after making six of their 12 triples in the first half, would convert only two more the rest of the way.
ATENEO 67 - Ravena 14, Tiongson 11, Newsome 11, Buenafe 7, Golla 6, Erram 6, Elorde 4, Capacio 4, Tolentino 2, Pessumal 2, Murphy 0, Enriquez 0, Asistio 0
UP 59 - Marata 15, Lao 9, Asilum 8, Wong 5, Soyud 5, Gingerich 4, Desiderio 4, Pascual 3, Gallarza 3, Ligad 2, Ball 1
Quarter-scoring: 14-21, 33-34, 53-47, 67-59