MANILA, Philippines (July 31, 2011) - The Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles remain unbeaten in UAAP Season 74 men's basketball as it predictably outplayed Universiy of the Philippines Fighting Maroons at the Araneta Coliseum yesterday afternoon.
It was a rout as the Eagles, banking on its vaunted defense and perimeter shooting, cruised to an easy 77-57 victory over the Maroons to maintain solo lead.
UP was in the game only in the first quarter, taking a 21-19 lead after the first 10 minutes. But from the second quarter onwards, the Eagles cranked up their defense and broke away on a 23-10 exchange to seize a 42-31 lead.
With Kirk Long shutting down State U’s wingmen and 6-11 Greg Slaughter making an imposing inside presence, the Blue Eagles easily topped the Maroons to remain spotless after five outings and move two wins away from sweeping the first round.
“Our defense, especially in the last three quarters, made the difference and our perimeter shooting helped us a lot today,” said Ateneo coach Norman Black, who drew double figures from all his starters.
“In the first quarter, we actually did not really play bad defense; it’s just that they (Maroons) played very well offensively. But I thought we buckled down in the last three quarters defensively and that made the difference,” said Black, whose wards choked UP to a measly 20-of-70 shooting (28.6 percent).
Long made life miserable for the UP top guns, like Mike Silungan, who was held down to eight markers on a 2-15 FG.
“Kirk is a veteran. He had the same role he has had the last four years, which is to guard the best offensive wingman of the other team. He doesn’t get much credit but he does a very good job,” Black said.
The Ateneo mentor also took notice of their perimeter shooting.
“We recovered on our three-point shooting. Last game, we were 1-17, and we’ve been working hard in it on practice. Today, we made 6-of-10, we did much better job from beyond the arc,” he said.
Rookie Kiefer Ravena delivered 15 markers, four assists and four steals as Ateneo’s first five scored 10 points or more, the first since Far Eastern U’s starters did the trick back in 2009. Slaughter added 14 markers with 13 rebounds, while Long chipped in 14 and Emman Monfort and Nico Salva had 13 and 10, respectively.
UP, which absorbed its third straight setback for a 1-3 card overall, was led by Silungan, Jose Manuel and Michael Gamboa with eight apiece.
Forward Carlo Gomez was thrown out of the game for a punching foul on Salva’s groin with 2:40 left and Ateneo up, 70-54. Gomez faces likely suspension in their next outing.
In the second game of the day, Rookie Cris Michael Tolomia knocked down a triple with 2.9 seconds left as Far Eastern U eked out a come-from-behind 62-59 win over University of Santo Tomas to grab solo second at 4-1.
Chipping away UST’s 38-25 third-quarter lead using a punishing press, the Tams went to RR Garcia in their final offensive with 24 ticks left but realizing the phalanx of defenders waiting for his move, the 2010 MVP kicked it out to an open Tolomia for the game winner.
“I knew UST was thinking I would take the last shot so when I drove and saw them collapsing, I gave it to Tolomia who was free and I trusted him to make the shot,” said Garcia, who bled for nine points against the taller Jeric Teng.
Tolomia topscored with 10 points, including seven in the final canto that helped FEU erase an eight-point deficit fueled by an 18-7 windup.
Aldrech Ramos also had 10 points with nine rebounds for the Tams, who bucked an atrocious five-point performance in the second period to post their third straight win.
Teng finished with a game-high 23 highlighted by three triples for UST (2-2), which lost its seventh straight game to FEU dating back to 2007. The Tigers’ last win over FEU was an 80-69 romp in the playoff for the fourth seed in the stepladder finals back then. (From philstar.com)
Blue Eagle Greg Slaughter gets little room for maneuver as he is hemmed in from all sides by Maroons Carlo Gomez, Alinko Mbah and Jose Manuel. (From philstar.com)