Ateneo beats FEU for fifth straight win

By Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Aug 28 2013 03:55 PM | Updated as of Aug 29 2013 10:30 PM

Ateneo beats FEU for fifth straight win 1Ateneo's Kiefer Ravena goes for a layup against FEU's Chris Tolomia during Wednesday's UAAP men's basketball action. The Blue Eagles throttled the Tamaraws, 92-73. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNNews.com

MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE 2) Five-time defending champions Ateneo sent a statement to the rest of the league as they stamped their class over the Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws, 92-73, in their second round match-up of the UAAP Season 76 men's basketball tournament Wednesday at the Araneta Colliseum.

The Blue Eagles submitted their best game of the season on offense and put together another strong effort on the defensive end en route to their fifth consecutive victory.

Juami Tiongson fired a career-high 20 points, Kiefer Ravena added 18 points and nine rebounds, and Chris Newsome had a double-double of 11 points and 14 boards for the Blue Eagles, who led by as much as 33 points in the contest.

"The winning mentality that the team has shown in the previous years is coming into play now," Ateneo coach Bo Perasol said after the game.

Ateneo trailed just once in the game, when Anthony Hargrove converted a lay-up to make it 2-0 for FEU. But the Blue Eagles then raced off to a 14-4 advantage and never looked back.

Ateneo's offense fired on all cylinders in the first half, as they shot a stunning 58.8% from the field, including 17 of their 23 two point field goals. They showed impressive execution both in transition and in the half-court, as every single player fielded by Perasol in the first half scored at least two points.

The Blue Eagles took a 51-28 lead in the first half, and kept their foot on the pedal in the third quarter. Tiongson was especially lethal in that frame, scoring eight consecutive points in one stretch, including two consecutive corner three-pointers.

A lay-up by Vince Tolentino with 49 seconds to go in the third quarter gave the Blue Eagles their biggest lead, 73-40.

Ateneo's 19-point margin of victory could have been bigger had it not been for Terrence Romeo, who scored 14 of his team-high 19 points in the final quarter.

"The significance of this game is just that we are able to go now into the top four, in the sense that we are tied with La Salle," said Perasol. "That's how we count it -- if the playoffs start tomorrow, where will we be."

"That's why during halftime, I told the guys that it's not even about the lead -- it's about the necessity to win. If we're not going to win, then we won't be in the top four. It's not the lead, it's the win," he stressed.

With the victory, Ateneo tied rivals La Salle for third with identical 6-4 records. The Tamaraws, meanwhile, have now lost three of their last four contests after sweeping the first half of the tournament. They now have an 8-3 record, just half a game ahead of the National University Bulldogs.

"We weren't able to match the energy level of Ateneo," FEU coach Nash Racela admitted. "We're thinking that this is an effect of the double-overtime win (against University of the East) noong Sunday."

"So, tingin ko hindi pa talaga nakaka-recover 'yung players namin," he added.

The Tamaraws never found their groove throughout the whole contest, missing easy lay-ups and bricking 24 of their 31 attempts from beyond the arc. They shot only 34.6% for the entire game.

The Blue Eagles cooled down somewhat in the second half and finished the game with a 46.5% shooting percentage, as well as a 58-42 advantage on the boards. They also finished with 11 more assists than FEU, 21-10.

"(The team) responded well, and I hope we can carry this momentum through against a very tough team in La Salle on Sunday," said Perasol. "I commend Juami and the others for stepping up and having a spectacular offensive day."

Ateneo has won nine of their last 10 meetings against FEU. The Tamaraws won their first-round encounter this season, 79-75, in overtime, but Ravena did not play in that game due to injury.

The scores:

ATENEO 92 - Tiongson 20, Ravena 18, Newsome 11, Tolentino 9, Golla 9, Buenafe 9, Pessumal 5, Elorde 5, Capacio 4, Erram 2, Murphy 0, Enriquez 0, Asuncion 0, Asistio 0

FEU 73 - Romeo 19, Garcia 11, Tolomia 9, Pogoy 9, Hargrove 6, Belo 6, Jose 5, Inigo 3, Cruz 3, Lee Yu 2, Sentcheu 0, Mendza 0, Luz 0, Dennison 0, Delfinado 0, Aguilon 0

Quarter-scoring: 26-11, 51-28, 73-45, 92-73