MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) Ateneo de Manila University escaped with a difficult 80-74 victory over Adamson University on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum, keeping the Blue Eagles unbeaten in the UAAP Season 82 men's basketball tournament.
Thirdy Ravena scored a season-high 23 points on 9-of-16 shooting, along with 4 rebounds, 5 assists and a steal, while Will Navarro was steady as usual with 11 points and 8 rebounds. Matt Nieto added 11 points and 5 assists, and Matthew Daves contributed 10 points.
The Blue Eagles improved to 9-0, and have now won 19 straight games since last year.
It was far from a comfortable victory for the Blue Eagles, however, with Adamson refusing to fade away even after trailing by 13 points at the end of the third period. Timely shots by Navarro, Ange Kouame and Nieto kept the Blue Eagles ahead, however, and a late flurry by the Adamson pair of Val Chauca and Jerrick Ahanmisi would not be enough for the Falcons.
"We really survived Adamson at the end of the game," said Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin. "They made all the right plays, and we made several boneheaded plays. There's no excuse for that, none whatsoever."
Adamson took a 37-34 lead at the break, as they got solid contributions from Joshua Yerro and Lenda Dounga. But Ateneo outscored them, 29-13, in the third quarter, with Navarro and Ravena finding their mark from beyond the arc to help the Blue Eagles pull away.
The Blue Eagles went on to lead by as much as 15 points, 67-52, off a Nieto floater with 8:37 to go. But Chauca refused to let the Soaring Falcons go down easily, as the veteran guard sparked a 9-0 run that made it a 6-point game, 67-61, with still 5:06 to play.
Ateneo made just enough shots to keep them at bay, with a Kouame bucket making it a 9-point game, 75-66, with 1:41 left. Adamson last threatened when Ahanmisi made a triple for a 75-71 count with 22 seconds left, but Ravena, Mike Nieto, and Adrian Wong made their charities to preserve the win.
"As I always say, there's a lot to work on," said Baldwin. "We were fortunate to get the win."
Ahanmisi shook off a slow start to finish with 17 points, while Chauca had 17 points and 4 assists, but also committed 7 turnovers. Dounga finished with 13 points and 7 rebounds.
The win assured Ateneo of at least a playoff for a spot in the Final 4. This also marked the second time in Season 82 that Ateneo won by single digits, after they escaped with a 71-70 victory over University of Santo Tomas in the first round.
The Soaring Falcons have now dropped four straight games to fall to 3-6.
ATENEO 80 -- Ravena 23, Navarro 11, Nieto Ma. 11, Daves 10, Go 7, Kouame 7, Nieto Mi. 7, Mamuyac 3, Wong 1, Belangel 0, Maagdenberg 0, Tio 0.
ADAMSON 74 -- Ahanmisi 17, Chauca 17, Douanga 13, Yerro 12, Camacho 6, Manlapaz 5, Lastimosa 4, Fermin 0, Flowers 0, Magbuhos 0, Mojica 0.
Quarter scores: 22-18, 34-37, 63-50, 80-74.
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