by Jason Mercene
Photos by Luis Adrian Hidalgo
The University of the Philippines climbed up from 19 points down and came within eight but fell short at crunchtime to drop their fifth assignment to the Ateneo de Manila University, 72-64, in the UAAP Men’s Basketball Tournament Sunday at the MOA Arena.
Trailing by 17 to start the fourth quarter, the Maroons’ spirit came alive down the stretch with guard Joseph Marata providing the necessary spark to trim the lead. Despite foul trouble, he fired eight straight points but just could not carry the team alone for their first win of the season.
The win improved ADMU’s win-loss card to 2-4 while UP remained in the cellar at 0-5.
“Never give up, kahit anong mangyari just keep playing, sinasabi sa akin na just keep taking my shot,” said Marata on his instruction in today’s game.
Comebacking hero Kiefer Ravena spearheaded the Ateneo squad, scattering 15 points while Chris Newsome gathered 13, who delighted the crowd with an alley-oop in the final minutes to put an exclamation point to their second win.
The Blue Eagles imposed a tall order inside the paint as they outrebounded UP, 51-40 but it was the turnover points that made most of the damage for the Maroons, 14-0.
UP was getting the touch in the early going of the game, even led by one point, 28-27, via a Chris Ball jumper in the second quarter but veteran marksman Ryan Buenafe quickly silenced the Maroon side with back-to-back treys.
Ateneo ended the second quarter on a high note with Nico Elorde draining a buzzer beating trey that ballooned their lead to eight and never looked back for good.
Raul Soyud, who will be suspended on their next game due to an unsportsmanlike foul, once again displayed superb skills from under the rim chipping in eight points and 14 rebounds while Chris Ball and Jason Ligad added 10 points apiece.
The Maroons will try to break into the win column against the University of Santo Tomas on Wednesday, 2 pm at the Araneta Coliseum.
ADMU – Ravena 15, Newsome 13, Buenafe 13, Tiongson 9, Golla 6, Pessumal 4, Erram 4, Elorde 4, Tolentino 2, Capacio 2
UP – Marata 22, Ligad 10, Ball 10, Soyud 8, Lao 7, Desiderio 3, Wong 2, Asilum 2