Ateneo thwarts archrival La Salle

By Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Jul 28 2012 06:25 PM | Updated as of Jul 31 2012 09:11 PM

MANILA, Philippines (1st UPDATE) – The Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) Blue Eagles weathered a huge third quarter comeback by the De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Archers for a 71-61 win in their first encounter in Season 75 of the UAAP men’s basketball tournament.

The Archers’ twin tower defense worked wonders in the third canto, making it hard for the Eagles to penetrate the shaded lane.

However, Ateneo worked around the towers by sending its smaller but faster players near the basket.

Kiefer Ravena finished with 16 points and 4 rebounds for the Blue Eagles.

“That's the best thing about our team, we have Greg [Slaughter] and Nico [Salva] inside so they have to focus on them also. That would open a lot of opportunities for us, the perimeter guys, to really drive in,” said Ravena, the league’s 2011 Rookie of the Year.

Slaughter led the Ateneans in scoring with 20 points on 7-of-14 field goal shooting.

He also grabbed 7 rebounds despite the presence of La Salle’s Norbert Torres and Arnold Van Opstal in the paint.

“They mixed it up a lot of times today, they tried to throw Greg off...sometimes they double [team] him, sometimes they did not,” said Ateneo coach Norman Black.

“I think it's more about the willingness of Greg to give up the basketball when he's double-teamed that's really helping us.”

Ateneo opened the game with a scorching 20-8 exchange with La Salle in the first quarter.

Slaughter's tip-in completed a 9-point advantage for the Eagles, 35-26, at the half.

Things became complicated for Ateneo in the third when the double teaming efforts of Torres and Van Opstal on Slaughter started to click.

The Archers’ 9-point run, capped by Jeron Teng’s shot from rainbow territory, tied the game 42-all.

The battle inside the paint led to 5 lead changes in the third period, but the Eagles managed to get ahead with a 3 point-lead, 53-50.

In the fourth quarter, La Salle coach Gee Abanilla again sent his taller men under the basket to force Ateneo’s scorers out of the shaded area.

But Ravena and Salva hit key baskets and then settled the final scores at the free-throw line.

With the win, Ateneo avenged its 62-59 loss to La Salle in the pre-season.

The Eagles moved to solo second with a 3-1 slate behind league-leading Far Eastern University (3-0).

La Salle, meanwhile, slid to fourth in a tie with National University Bulldogs (2-2), who lost to the University of Sto. Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers, 77-71, in the first game on Saturday.

A crowd of 17,380 watched the first meeting between the archrivals, including former Chief Justice Renato Corona, former President Joseph Estrada and Senator Jinggoy Estrada.

Powerade head coach Bo Perasol, who is rumored to be among the candidates for the Ateneo coaching job, was also in attendance. 

Box scores:

ADMU 71 - Slaughter 20, Salva 16, Ravena 16, Chua 6, Tiongson 4, Elorde 3, Buenafe 3, Pessumal 2, Erram 1, Sumalinog 0, Gonzaga 0

DLSU 61 - Revilla 16, Teng 13, N. Torres 11, Dela Paz 7, Manguera 6, Van Opstal 2, Andrada 2, Webb 2, Mendoza 1, Tampus 1, Paredes 0, Vosotros 0, T. Torres 0, Gotladera 0, Tallo 0

Quarterscores: 20-8, 35-26, 53-50, 71-61