They kept in step with the Ateneo Blue Eagles for nearly the entire game on Saturday, but the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons collapsed in late, allowing the defending champions to clinch Game 1 of the UAAP Season 81 men's basketball finals.
According to UP head coach Bo Perasol, there are lessons to be learned losing the way they did, as they prepare for Game 2 at Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday.
The Fighting Maroons, he said, should remember how they stayed with No. 2 seed Adamson in their final-4 clash and they were able to beat the Soaring Falcons.
"It's a lesson that we have to learn. In the series we had with Adamson, hindi naman dapat kakaiba 'yun. That gave us thought that if we have done this, we could have given (Ateneo) a tougher game in the end. We could have won," Perasol said.
Thirdy Ravena and Matt Nieto, both former Blue Eaglets, conspired in a 13-4 run that turned a slim 71-68 Ateneo lead into a commanding 84-72 advantage with three minutes left.
After a split at the line by Paul Desiderio with 2:32 remaining in the game, Nieto drilled a dagger triple for an 87-73 cushion with 2:09 remaining, effectively killing UP's attempt at a comeback.
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