Ateneo de Manila University steadied down the stretch to escape Eastern University, 79-70, in the UAAP Season 84 men's basketball tournament at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on Tuesday.
Down by as much as 23 late in the third frame no thanks to Tyler Tio's 16-point explosion there, the Tamaraws clawed back to the game slowly in the fourth quarter.
“Really tough game,” said Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin. “But you always get that with Olsen [Racela] and his team. They’re just a tough organization and they don’t give anything away easily and that was the case again today.”
Trailing by 15 after a Raffy Verano breakaway off a fake handoff, FEU uncorked a 9-0 blast, capped by Emman Ojuola's lay-in from RJ Abarrientos' fancy dish to slice the deficit to just six with 4:34 left on the clock, 66-72.
But Dave Ildefonso answered back with a booming triple before the Blue Eagles locked in on defense to stay afloat and get the victory.
Tio finished with 17 points on an efficient 6-of-10 shooting, including 4-of-6 from deep, while Ildefonso ended with the same production to go with four rebounds and two assists.
Ange Kouame just missed a double-double with nine points and 11 rebounds as Ateneo rose to 2-0.
The 1-1 Tamaraws were led by Abarrientos' 16 points, five rebounds and three assists, while Ojuola had a monster performance of 15 points and 17 rebounds against five turnovers.
ADMU aims to stay undefeated on Thursday, meeting Adamson University at 10 am, while FEU battles De La Salle University at 1 pm.
Earlier, Adamson University nailed its first win, hammering University of the East, 82-66.
Jerom Lastimosa waxed hot early, draining 11 points in the 19-4 Falcons start and never looked back.
Lastimosa finished with 14 points on a perfect 4-of-4 shooting from the field and 4-of-4 from the charity stripe in just 12:53 of play.
Keith Zaldivar also made double figures for the 1-1 Adamson with 11 points while Joem Sabandal, Arthur Calisay, and Lenda Douanga got eight points apiece in the balanced attack.
Harvey Pagsanjan paced the 0-2 UE with 17 points on 20 shots to go with eight rebounds.
AdU 82 - Lastimosa 14, Zaldivar 11, Calisay 8, Douanga 8, Sabandal 8, Jaymalin 7, Yerro 7, Manzano 7, Erolon 5, Hanapi 4, Magbuhos 2, Barasi 1, Colonio 0, Peromingan 0, Fuentebelle 0, Maata 0.
UE 66 - Pagsanjan 17, Catacutan 12, Paranada N. 7, Escamis 6, Sawat 5, Lorenzana 4, Abatayo 4, Tulabut 3, Antiporda 2, Beltran 2, Cruz 2, Villanueva 0, Chan 0, Paranada K. 0, Pascual 0.
Quarterscores: 32-12, 50-32, 76-42, 82-66.
ADMU 79 - Ildefonso 17, Tio 17, Andrade 9, Kouame 9, Belangel 7, Verano 6, Mamuyac 5, Koon 4, Mendoza 3, Lazaro 2, Chiu 0, Daves 0.
FEU 70 - Abarrientos 16, Ojuola 15, Alforque 12, Torres 8, Tempra 8, Gonzales 4, Bienes 3, Gravera 2, Li 2, Sajonia 0,, Coquia 0, Sleat 0.
Quarterscores: 18-17, 42-32, 67-51, 79-70.
UAAP Season 84 Men's Basketball
Far Eastern University Tamaraws (dark) vs Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles (light)
March 29, 2022
SM Mall of Asia Arena
Photos by UAAP Season 84 Media Team (Dennis Lachica, Sportsmanila Photojournalist)