Photo by Courtside Philippines


Poised Ateneo staves off UST to seize third straight title

by Niel Victor Masoy, November 20, 2019 6:51pm

When the pushing came to shove, Ateneo de Manila University showed its championship exposure, fending off University of Santo Tomas, 86-79, in Game Two of the Finals to clinch its third straight title on Wednesday in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) season 82 Men's basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.

With the victory, the Blue Eagles became the first team in UAAP history to sweep (16-0) all of the Men's basketball tournament.

"16-0 season is really something that we dreamed about. We didn’t talk about that but the players wanted it," said Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin.

Determined to put the Growling Tigers right away, the Blue Eagles soared to a 12-4 lead and settled for a 42-32 advantage at the half.

UST stormed back in the second half and got within a point, 66-67, following a CJ Cansino floater at the 34.9-second mark.

However, Ateneo didn't crumble as SJ Belangel, Thirdy Ravena, and Ange Kouame joined hands to unleash a 16-4 run which was capped by a Kouame putback slam dunk at the 2:22 mark.

Both the lead and the time remaining proved to be more than enough for the Blue Eagles to stave off the gritty Growling Tigers, and cruise to the win.

Finals Most Valuable Player Thirdy Ravena led the way for Ateneo, putting up 17 points, seven rebounds, and five assists, while SJ Belangel cashed in 15 points, all of which came from beyond the arc. 

Belangel also hit timely threes when the Growling Tigers were fightig back in the second half.

Matt Nieto proved to be steady once more, unloading 14 markers, six boards, and five assists as Ange Kouame chipped in seven points and eight rebounds in the win.

Most Valuable Player Soulemane Chabi Yo paced UST with 11 points and 19 huge rebounds, while Rhenz Abando bounced back from a subpar Game One performance and uncorked a team-high 16 points, on top of four rebounds and two blocks.

Rookie of the Year Mark Nonoy punched in 14 points, six caroms, and five dimes in a losing effort.


The scores:

ATENEO 86 - Ravena 17, Belangel 14, Ma. Nieto 14, Kouame 7, Navarro 7, Go 6, Maagdenberg 6, Wong 5, Daves 4, Mi. Nieto 3, Mamuyac 2, Andrade 0.

UST 79 - Abando 16, Nonoy 14, Chabi Yo 11, Concepcion 8, Subido 8, Huang 7, Ando 6, Paraiso 5, Cansino 4, Bataller 0, Pangilinan 0. Quarters: 31-18, 42-32, 67-62, 86-79.

Quarters: 31-18, 42-32, 67-62, 86-79.

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