Blue Eagles get the win from Letran Knights in Filoil thriller

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COMING OFF a strong victory against UST on Friday, May 5, the Ateneo Blue Eagles triumphed against the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights in a Sunday thriller, which ended with a final score of 78-76 on May at the Filoil Flying V Arena.

Against Letran, Ateneo struggled with the Knights’ offensive capabilities going almost on-par with Ateneo’s tenacious charges. Letran’s Rey Nambatac was the game’s highest scorer with 25 points and 5 rebounds, while Ateneo had Tyler Tio who spread his wings scoring a total of 17 points and 3 offensive rebounds. Following him was Thirdy Ravena with 15 points and 6 rebounds.

Tensions were high in the first half when Ateneo underplayed Letran, despite keeping up with the high-intensity play. “They [Letran] are definitely more mature than us,” said Head Coach Tab Baldwin. The Knights’ system featured their quick ball movement that capitalized on the Blue Eagles’ missed shots.

However, Ateneo was able to hold themselves steady with Jawuan White averaging the game-high 10 rebounds (7 of which were defensive), while giving way to even scoring from Mike Nieto, Isaac Go and Chibueze Ikeh who all scored 7 points each.

The game however was rough on Ikeh as the Ateneo center faced a very physical Letran that gave him four fouls despite scoring 7 points and 9 rebounds. Mike Nieto also received 4 fouls prompting Coach Tab to substitute them multiple times throughout the game.

The last minutes of the game were intensified, as Rey Nambatac got an offensive board to give Letran a 71-72 lead. Quick work by Thirdy Ravena and the rest of the squad kept the game close at 74-76 until Tyler Tio catapulted them to an even closer lead with a skillful three from the top of the arc in the last 17 seconds. A free-throw from Anton Asistio secured Ateneo’s win at 78-76 in the last remaining seconds.

The Blue Eagles’ win puts Ateneo at a 2-2 win-loss ratio. The team will enjoy a long break before resuming their tournament campaign on Friday, June 2 against the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers at the FilOil Flying V Arena.

Quarter Scores: 20-21, 31-33, 61-58, 78-76

Box Scores:

Ateneo: Tyler Tio - 17, Thirdy Ravena - 15, Anton Asistio - 9, Chibueze Ikeh - 7, Isaac Go - 7, Mike Nieto - 7, Jawuan White - 6, Raffy Verano - 5, Matt Nieto - 3, Kris Porter - 2, Vince Tolentino - 0, Dan Wong - 0, Gian Mamuyac - 0

Letran: Nambatac - 25, Quinito - 9, Balanza - 9, Caralipio - 7, Calyo - 6, Pamulaklakin - 5, Ambahot - 3, Gedaria - 3, Taladua - 3, Balagasay - 2, Vacaro - 2, Bernabe - 2, Villanueva - 0, Pascual - 0, De Villa - 0

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