By Ivan Stewart Saldajeno
MANILA — Ateneo stayed unbeaten in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament after edging University of Santo Tomas, 71-70, on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City on Wednesday.
In what many touted was a preview of the finals, Ange Kouame made the plays that mattered in the clutch for the Blue Eagles, scoring the go-ahead layup and making a huge block on Soulemane Chabi Yo to keep the Growling Tigers at bay.
CJ Cansino still tried to force overtime after Thirdy Ravena made two clutch free throws for a 70-67 cushion, but Cansino missed the potential equalizer from three-point land, and Matt Nieto sealed the win with a split from the charity stripe.
Renzo Subido made a triple at the buzzer for the final tally.
Ravena (17 points and 10 rebounds) and Kouame (11 points and 19 rebounds) each tallied a double-double for Ateneo, which is now at 3-0.
Chabi Yo put up 25 markers, 13 boards, two assists, two blocks, and one steal for UST, which lost for the first time this season after a 2-0 start.
Meanwhile, Kurt Lojera saved the day for La Salle as the team notched its first win of the season against National University, 83-82.
Lojera scored the game-winning jumper that spoiled the Bulldogs’ 12-0 run that gave them the lead as the Green Archers bounced back from their loss against the Blue Eagles on Sunday night.
Justine Baltazar (23 markers and 10 caroms) and Jamie Malonzo (14 points and 11 boards) each had a double-double for La Salle.
Shaun Ildefonso made 26 markers for NU, which slipped to 0-2. (PNA)