Ateneo takes 1-0 lead vs UP in UAAP hoop finals
THE Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Blue Eagles asserted themselves in the fourth period to bring the University of the Philippines (UP) back down to earth as they defeated the Fighting Maroons, 88-79, in Game 1 of the UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball finals on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Matt Nieto and Thirdy Ravena presided over the fourth period pullaway by Ateneo, which led by only two, 63-61, at the end of the third.
Nieto scored 27 points while Ravena missed out on a triple-double as he compiled 21 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists along with three steals and two blocks to help give the Blue Eagles a 1-0 series lead.
Ateneo can clinch yet another title in Game 2 on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Even with MVP Bright Akhuetie sitting out a portion of the match after injuring his knee in the third canto, the Maroons were within three, 72-75, at the halfway point of the fourth canto before Nieto came to life, firing in eight in a 12-1 salvo that gave Ateneo an 87-73 lead with just 2:09 left in the match.
Former University of the Visayas guard Jun Manzo sparked the Maroons with 19 points including a three-pointer at the second period buzzer that pulled UP to within one, 38-39, at halftime.
Juan Gomez de Liano added 17 while his brother, Javi, pumped in 11. Akhuetie had 10 markers in limited minutes.
UP’s main man, Cebuano Paul Desiderio, was held down to just five points on six shots. He did, however, have six rebounds and eight assists before fouling out with 1:07 left in the game.
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