Ateneo Clinches Solo 4th Place in UAAP After Narrow Win Over Adamson
MANILA, Philippines — No heartbreaker this time for Ateneo as it made the crucial stops in the final seconds to survive Adamson, 62-58, and regain the solo fourth place in the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball tournament on Sunday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Holding onto a one-point lead, 59-58, after Matthew Erolon’s triple for Adamson, the defending champions didn’t allow the Falcons to score as Didat Hanapi missed a forced fadeaway jumper with 4.1 seconds left.
Sean Quitevis was fouled and split his free throws but Joseph Obasa got the offensive rebound that led to a pair of freebies to seal the game with 3.3 ticks remaining.
The Blue Eagles moved a game ahead of the Falcons at 6-6.
Quitevis showed the way for Ateneo with 12 points and eight rebounds. Obasa had 10 points on 6-of-9 free throw shooting to go with eight rebounds and four blocks, while Kai Ballungay also had 10 points and eight boards.
The Eagles beat the Falcons despite committing 21 turnovers and shooting just 36.5% from the field.
“This is as tough as it gets. We expect that’s the Adamson team, that’s the Adamson coaching staff. They just grind you down. And they’re doing it to everybody. They battle. It’s never easy against them. I just want to congratulate Nash [Racela] and his staff for a tough game,” said Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin after bouncing back from a heartbreaking 74-71 loss to Adamson in overtime in the first round last month.
Ateneo blew a 42-32 lead early in the third quarter as Manzano and Hanapi conspired to unleash a 17-0 run for a 49-42 Adamson lead heading to the payoff period. But the Blue Eagles got their act together in the final quarter as Ballungay capped a 10-3 run to tie the game at 52-all with six minutes left.
The Falcons regained the lead, 55-52, after Monti Montebon’s step back triple. But Jared Brown answered with his own before Obasa earned a three-point play, followed by a Chris Koon free throw for a 59-55 Ateneo edge with 3:16 to play.
“For us, I thought we really played a good first half. We played smart and tough and it was kind of a game we’re hoping for. Low scoring. We had an edge everywhere you look. And then in the third quarter again, I really don’t know what’s going in the third quarter,” said Baldwin. “It’s absolutely mental, not physical. We just have to figure out what the formula is.
Adamson coach Nash Racela was disappointed with the officiating as they got in the penalty at the seven-minute mark of the fourth and didn’t have a trip from the line, while the Blue Eagles shot 8-of-15 from the charity stripe in the period and ended the game with 16-of-31 shooting.
The Falcons, who only shot 8-of-10 from the free throw line, are still in contention for the Final Four with two more games remaining.
Montebon led the team with 13 points, while Arthur Calisay and Erolon added nine and eight markers, respectively.
Quarterscores: 18-13, 38-29, 42-49, 62-58