Tio’s impressive debut propels Blue Eagles to second victory
THE ATENEO Blue Eagles benefited from strong performances by a bevy of players to blow out the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons (UP), 92-71, in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Men’s Basketball tournament.
The win keeps Ateneo (2-0) undefeated through its first two of games, while UP (1-1) fell to an even win-loss record.
In just 11 minutes, rookie Blue Eagle Tyler Tio debuted with 14 points on a perfect six of six field goal shooting, including two three-pointers and two assists. This included a stretch in the beginning of the fourth quarter where the Xavier product knocked in 10 straight points as a part of Ateneo’s game-clinching 13-3 run.
Thirdy Ravena led the way for Ateneo for the second game in a row as he finished with 16 points and six rebounds. Aaron Black came off the bench and flirted with a double-double, tacking in nine points and 10 boards.
On UP’s side, former UAAP Juniors Most Valuable Player Juan Gomez De Liano dropped in 16 points and grabbed seven boards in the loss. Jun Manzo chipped in with 14 markers on an efficient five of seven shooting. Meanwhile, King Maroon Paul Desiderio was limited to just nine points and 22% shooting from the field.
While Ravena and Tio led the way, it was a balanced scoring effort that helped push Ateneo to victory. Fourteen of 16 players who were fielded in scored at least a point, with nine of them dropping in at least five markers.
Rebounds also told the story of the game for the Blue Eagles much like in their first contest against the Adamson Soaring Falcons. Ateneo finished with a +13 advantage on the boards en route to a 31-7 edge on second chance points.
The Blue Eagles started strong out of the gates—thanks to the duo of Anton Asistio and Chibueze Ikeh. The sweet-shooting off-guard scored seven points on his first three shots, while the center continued from the previous game by making the most of his second-chance opportunities.
The Fighting Maroons' balanced attack kept them in the game despite Ateneo’s quick start. After starting the game shooting two of eight from the field, UP started to get in rhythm, going on a stretch where they converted five of six shot, culminating with a Juan Gomez De Liano triple that tied the game at 16-all. The Blue Eagles regained the lead at the end of the period thanks to consecutive triples by Isaac Go and Jolo Mendoza.
The introduction of Tio in the second period for the Blue Eagles injected a new energy to the team. The highly touted recruit ignited a 16-5 run with a pull-up jumper on his first UAAP possession, and was capped by a layup from Gian Mamuyac, which also marked his first points in the Men’s division. However, the Blue Eagles’ double-digit lead was cut down to eight points (44-36) from a quick 5-0 run from UP to end the first half.
The pace of the game bogged down in the third, with all of Ateneo’s points in the first five minutes coming from the free throw line. Ravena’s seven points from the charity stripe helped extend the Blue Eagles’ lead back to double-digits. A Raffy Verano trifecta from Tio’s dish gave Ateneo an 11-point cushion heading into the final period.
Tio then exploded in the first three minutes of the fourth quarter, scoring 10 straight points from four pull-up jumpers, including a pair of triples. The Blue Eagles continued to wax hot as a triple by Matt Nieto, midway through the period, doubled the 11-point lead that they possessed heading into the fourth. The Fighting Maroons tried to mount a comeback in the dying moments of the match, but Ateneo had a response for every bucket and held on for the win.
“Almost everyone contributed offensively. That’s the way we want to play. We don’t know who’s going to score double figures for us,” said assistant coach Sandy Arespacochaga on his team’s great performance.
Moving forward, the Blue Eagles will face another Final Four threat on Sunday as they play against the Far Eastern University Tamaraws (1-1) at 4:00 PM at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
Ateneo-UP: 22-16, 44-36, 62-51, 92-71
Ateneo: Ravena - 16, Tio - 14, Ikeh - 9, Black - 9, Ma. Nieto - 7, Verano - 7, Asistio - 7, Go - 6, Mi. Nieto - 5, Porter - 4, Mendoza - 3, Mamuyac - 2, Mallillin - 2, Tolentino - 1
UP: Ju. Gomez De Liano - 16, Manzo - 14, Lim - 10, Desiderio - 9, Ja. Gomez De Liano - 6, Prado - 6, Webb - 3, Romero - 3, Quattara - 2, Lao - 2