BACOLOD, Philippines – Defending champion Ateneo finally settled down and clipped Holy Cross of Davao, 94-67, in men's basketball but titleholders La Salle and UST were held to scoreless draws in football in the 17th Sandugo-University Games at the Po Hang Gymnasium of the Bacolod Tay Tung High School here yesterday.
Kiefer Ravena dazzled the crowd with his daredevil and high-wire moves and finished with a game-high 19 points as the Eagles played true to form after scrambling for a 56-54 decision over University of San Jose de Recoletos last Monday in Group A action.
"It's a long way but we're slowly but surely getting there," said acting Ateneo coach Gabby Severino.
Ateneo nearly squandered a big 19-point bulge as Holy Cross rallied to within four late in the third quarter. But Ravena took over and drilled in clutch baskets to bail the Eagles out of trouble.
Upsets, meanwhile, marred football as UP, which beat Central Phl U, 1-0, Monday, forced La Salle, which also posted a 1-0 win over NCAA champion San Beda, to a scoreless draw in men’s play at the Negros Occidental pitch.
Ateneo likewise pulled off a standoff with UST at the USLS field in the women’s side of the event backed by Smart.
Host USLS also showed its readiness to challenge for the football crown as it blanked St. Benilde, 7-0, behind a hat-trick by Joel Bedia, a brace by Ralph Layumin and a goal apiece by Angelo Bahoyan and Adrian Dolino.
Track and field, meanwhile, comes off the wraps today with the first gold medals staked in the men's and women's long jump and discus throw starting at 8 a.m. at the Pana-ad Park and Stadium.
Hostilities also start in men's 110-meter hurdles, women’s 100m hurdles, men and women's 100m dash and 1,500m in the afternoon events.
Medal-rich swimming, for its part, will also start today at the USLS’ Olympic-sized pool.
In women's basketball, last year's winner Adamson survived a late fightback by Lyceum to fashion out an 89-76 triumph.
Also in men’s basketball, University of the East dominated University of San Agustin, 112-66, to remain unscathed at the USLS Gym here.
The Warriors, who finished second to last in the just concluded UAAP cage wars, leaned on the slam-dunking 6-8 Cameroonian JM Arafat to post a follow-up to their 112-38 demolition of University of Northern Phl.
Arafat, who plays more like a small forward with his impressive dribbling skills matched with a soft, deadly shooting touch, is one of the two imports tapped by UE, the other being 6-8 Sierra Leone center in Charles Mamie.
Arafat, however, is still undergoing residency and will only be eligible in 2014 while Mamie, who didn't play, is expected to suit up next season.
"They're different players who will surely help the team in the coming UAAP seasons," said Billy Reyes, who is handling the coaching chores with UE head coach Boycie Zamar scheduled to arrive only today.
Other basketball resuts saw UST dump Ateneo de Davao, 101-79, National U blast University of Immaculate Conception, 99-56, and reigning Cebu champion Southwestern U overpower West Negros U, 82-62.
In volleyball, St. Benilde stunned UAAP powerhouse UST, 25-22, 20-25, 18-25, 25-18, 16-14, to nail its first win here and its first over the latter in the last four years.
Also in men’s volleyball, Rizal Technological U waylaid Colegio de San Agustin-Bacolod, 25-17, 25-17, 26-24, Ateneo crushed Xavier U, 25-14, 25-22, 25-12, and Central Phl U slammed University of Northern Phl, 25-20, 25-19, 25-17.
In lawn tennis, UST swept Ateneo, 3-0, on wins by John Altiche over Andrei Banate, 8-2, in the singles, Francis Patino and Joel Cabasas over Daniel Macalino and Johann Exconde, 8-1, in the doubles and Ralph Kevin Barte over Julius Lagman, 6-1, in the non-bearing singles.
"We're hoping to make it as far as the finals, that would be an accomplishment already," said Barte, a national campaigner who is hoping to improve their fifth place finish in last year's staging in Roxas City.