Ateneo sets up PCCL title showdown with UST
MANILA, Philippines – The Ateneo Blue Eagles outclassed the San Beda Red Lions, 66-49, in the last Philippine Collegiate Championship League (PCCL) round robin Final Four game Sunday at the Arena in San Juan to set up an all-UAAP finals.
The Blue Eagles, making their sixth appearance in the PCCL Finals, will take on the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers in a rematch of the UAAP Season 75 Finals.
In a match-up of the UAAP champions vs the NCAA champions, it was the Blue Eagles who wound up on top after a dominant third quarter which saw Ateneo hold San Beda to only five points.
Ateneo’s slim 28-26 halftime advantage ballooned to 20 points, 46-26, as the five-time UAAP champions opened the period with an 18-0 blast.
Kiefer Ravena dissected the San Beda defense in the third period, finding big men Greg Slaughter and Nico Salva inside the lane for easy baskets while also putting the clamps on San Beda point guard Baser Amer.
The stunned Red Lions did not score until the 1:39 mark of the third quarter, when Kyle Pascual converted a baseline jumper.
San Beda was able to cut the lead down to 10 points, 38-48, early in the fourth period thanks to Amer, who converted an outside shot and four free throws to rally the Lions.
But the Blue Eagles responded with a 10-0 run of their own, sparked by a reverse lay-up from reserve Von Pessumal, to pad the lead to 20 points again.
“I didn’t expect to win this much. They’re the NCAA champions, so coming into this game I was looking forward to a tough match-up,” said Salva, who top scored for the Blue Eagles with 16 points and six rebounds.
Greg Slaughter had his way inside the paint with 11 points and 12 boards as the 7-footer took advantage of the absence of San Beda’s Ola Adeogun, who suited up but was not fielded in by Coach Ronnie Magsanoc.
Adeogun missed all of San Beda’s Final Four games due to a nagging ankle injury.
Meanwhile, Juami Tiongson also finished in double digits with 11 points, while Ravena came up short of a triple-double after tallying eight points, seven rebounds and eight assists.
With the Blue Eagles and the Growling Tigers in the Finals, the PCCL crown will return to the UAAP after staying in the NCAA for one year following San Sebastian’s breakthrough win the previous season.
“It’s rematch of the UAAP Finals so it’s gonna be a great match,” said Salva.
The Eagles swept the Tigers in two games in the UAAP Season 75 Finals, with Salva copping the Finals Most Valuable Player crown.
Game 1 of the best-of-three series will tip off on Tuesday.