MANILA – Ateneo Blue Eagles nailed its third straight UAAP men’s basketball championship and completed a rare season sweep, but the 16th and title-clinching win was not a walk in a park.
University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers tried its best to matchup with the Blue Eagles but still came up short in the end for an 86-79 score in Game 2 of the UAAP Season 82 finals last night at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The Blue Eagles tried several times to broke the game wide open with double-digit edge but the rookie-laden Tigers kept on catching up before succumbing in the endgame.
Ilonggo Ferdinand “Thirdy” Ravena capped his UAAP career with 17 points, seven rebounds and five assists while netting another Finals MVP trophy.
Negrense Samjosef Belangel showed a glimpse of Ateneo’s future by submitting a career-best 15 points, build on five triples, while Joseph Matthew Nieto finished the collegiate ranks with 14 points.
The Blue Eagles seemed headed to another wipeout after establishing a 15-point edge behind Nieto and Matthew Daves but the Tigers chopped it to five points before Ateneo made it 42-32 at the half.
Ateneo clung to the double-digit edge in the second half but UST made a huge scare at 66-67.
The Blue Eagles surged to 83-71 with triples from Belangel and inside hits from Ravena and Angelo Kouame.
The Tigers did not immediately raised the white flag. They came to within 79-86 before they were forced to miss by the defense of the Blue Eagles.
Rhenz Abando finished with 16 points while Negrense rookie Mark Nonoy and Soulemane Chabi Yo had 14 and 11 markers, respectively, for the Tigers./PN