by Marisse Gabrielle Panaligan
Facing the three-time champion Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles, the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons failed to give its Katipunan neighbors a run for its money, yielding a 57-77 loss in the 74th University Athletic Association of the Philippines basketball tournament Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum.
“Some of us didn’t really believe that we could beat Ateneo,” said Maroons guard Jett Manuel, who was limited to eight points. “It wasn’t a total team effort.”
After an explosive opening, the Fighting Maroons began to crumble half way through the second quarter. The Blue Eagles turned the match into a one-sided affair, handing the UP team its third consecutive loss.
None of the Maroons scored in double digits. Key players Mike Silungan and Mike Gamboa finished with only eight points apiece, while Alinko Mbah and Miggy Maniego tossed in seven points each.
Rookie phenomenon Kiefer Ravena led the Eagles with 15 markers, while seven-footer Greg Slaughter dished out a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds to steer the Blue Eagles on top of the standings with an immaculate 5-0 record.
“We played very good defense in the last three quarters. In the first quarter, we actually did not really play bad defense, it’s just that they [Maroons] played very well offensively,” Blue Eagles coach Norman Black said.
The Maroons forced four deadlocks and six lead changes early in the first half, but Blue Eagles guard Eman Monfort fired two three-pointers that triggered a 12-0 run, building momentum for the Eagles.
The Eagles ballooned its lead to 16 points in the fourth quarter, which saw UP’s Carlo Gomez ejected from the game after he was slapped with an unsportsmanlike foul for punching Ateneo’s Niko Salva.
Unhappy weekend for the Junior, Lady Maroons
Meanwhile, the Junior Maroons and the UP Lady Maroons also failed to nip wins in their matches this weekend.
The Junior Maroons failed to notch its first win in the juniors basketball tournament Saturday, bowing to University of Santo Tomas Tiger Cubs, 61-67, while the Lady Maroons bowed to the De La Salle Lady Archers, 29-38, Sunday at the Ateneo Blue Eagle Gym.
Junior Maroons spitfire Kim Cinco scorched game-high 24 points for UP, who lost for the fifth consecutive game of the season.
Lady Maroons stalwart Bernice Furagannan, meanwhile, led her team with eight points.