by Yski Rualo
The University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons lost the Battle of Katipunan yet again as they were thwarted by the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles.
Despite the absence of their perimeter shooting, the Eagles leaned on their interior dominance over the Maroons to post a 73-66 victory in the second round of the UAAP Men’s Basketball tournament, Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“We really struggled today with our outside shots. UP’s defense today was solid,” Ateneo coach Norman Black said.
Going 0-for-5 from three-point territory, Ateneo got a huge boost from the free throw stripe – making 21-out-of 32 charities. On the other hand, UP went 3-for-19 from behind the arc, to go along with their 13-for-19 performance from the line.
Combo guard Kiefer Ravena paced the Eagles with 21 points and five rebounds. Forward Nico Salva scored 10 markers and grabbed eight boards while center Greg Slaughter tallied just nine points to go with his 13 rebounds and four blocks.
Big man Raul Soyud led the Maroons with 14 markers and three rebounds. Team captain Mike Silungan contributed 13 points, nine off three-pointers. Guards Henry Asilum and Mark Lopez added a combined 18 points and nine rebounds.
By the halftime mark, the Maroons built a narrow lead, 34-32. UP owned the perimeter, scoring 22 against the Eagles’ two, while Ateneo dominated the paint, scoring 26 against the Maroons’ 10.
Ravena’s and-one play, at the 7:05 mark of the third quarter, allowed Ateneo to regain the lead, 37-36.
At the 1:11 mark of the third canto, Ateneo capitalized on UP’s technical foul to increase their advantage, 53-44. During the quarter, the Eagles edged out the Maroons by booking 21 pointsagainst UP’s 12.
The payoff period saw Silungan and Asilum missing treys, Lopez and Alvin Padilla missing crucial free throws, and Alinko Mbah fouling out. Ateneo held on to their lead and booked a final score of 73-66.
Chris Ball, the Maroons’ American big man, sat out the game due to a player eligibility paperwork issue.
UP, along with the University of the East and Adamson University, are now tied for the last place with similar 1-7 win-loss cards.