MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATED) A balanced effort led to yet another impressive victory for the Ateneo de Manila University on Sunday, as the Blue Eagles routed the University of the East (UE) Red Warriors, 83-65, at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Thirdy Ravena had a season-high 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting, while adding eight rebounds. Three other Ateneo players reached double-digits as the Blue Eagles cruised to their fourth consecutive victory, putting them at solo first in the UAAP Season 80 men's basketball standings.
Ateneo used a strong fourth quarter to pull away completely from the Red Warriors, which stubbornly remained within striking distance until the end of the third frame, but ran out of steam in the end.
"UE is a tough team," Ateneo assistant coach Sandy Arespacochaga said after their victory. "For a minute there, we fell into a trap of thinking that they're a 0-3 team, in the third quarter especially."
"In this league, you can't take any team for granted," he continued. "It's a good thing that our players responded. In the first half, we weren't happy with our defense and offense. In the third quarter, we played better offensively, but we were terrible on defense."
"We're happy with the way we played in the fourth quarter."
Ateneo took a 32-23 advantage heading into the halftime break, before seizing a 60-47 lead with a minute to go in the third frame off a lay-up by Isaac Go. But the Red Warriors ended the quarter on a strong note, scoring five points in a 20-second span, all courtesy of Arvin Pasaol.
Another Pasaol lay-up early in the fourth period made it a six-point game, 54-60, before the Blue Eagles regrouped on defense. They limited the Red Warriors to one solitary point in a five-minute span to break the game open, with Ravena leading the way.
Ravena knocked down a triple then scooped in a lay-up for a 77-60 lead, prompting UE coach Derrick Pumaren to sue for time with 3:27 to go. The break in action had little impact, however, as the Red Warriors were unable to end their scoring drought while Ravena added a couple more free throws on the other end.
Ateneo out-scored UE, 23-13, in the fourth period for another comfortable victory.
"We played well in the fourth quarter," said Arespacochaga. "We played efficient offense in the fourth."
Matt Nieto had 11 points and three assists, while Aaron Black and Mike Nieto each scored 10 points for the Blue Eagles, which have won each of their games by a double-digit margin. As a team, they shot 44.62% from the field and had a 44-32 rebounding edge.
Pasaol scored a game-high 22 points, making eight of his 19 field goals and avoiding foul trouble for the first time in the tournament. But Nick Abanto was the only other Red Warrior in double-digits, with 10 points, and UE was unable to impose the pace that it wanted to play against the Blue Eagles.
The Red Warriors dropped to 0-4 to join University of Santo Tomas at the bottom of the standings.
ADMU 83 - Ravena 21, Nieto Ma. 11, Black 10, Nieto Mi. 10, Tolentino 9, Asistio 8, Verano 4, Porter 3, Ikeh 2, Go 2, Mendoza 2, Tio 1, White 0, Mallillin 0, Mamuyac 0, Andrade 0.
UE 65 - Pasaol 22, Abanto 10, Maloles 9, Derige 6, Acuno 5, Bartolome 4, Olayon 4, Conner 3, Varilla 2, Manalang 0, Cullar 0, Armenion 0, Gagate 0.
Quarter scores: 18-11, 32-23, 60-52, 83-65.
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