Blue Eagles soar to top after comeback win versus Tams

By Ivan Saldajeno

The Ateneo Blue Eagles completed a fightback from 19 points down to trounce the FEU Tamaraws in overtime, 68-64, in the penultimate day of the UAAP men's basketball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

After a low-scoring first half, the Tamaraws outscored the Blue Eagles, 20-8, in the third frame to open a 45-26 edge.

They maintained the 19-point lead with 6:09 remaining in the fourth period.

The Blue Eagles, however, made a 21-3 run and cut their deficit to only one, 57-58, after Gideon Babilonia converted a three-point play with 1:28 left in regulation.

Mike Tolomia converted a free throw to up FEU's lead to two, 59-57, with 27 seconds to go in the fourth.

Chris Newsome grabbed the loose ball after Tolomia missed his second charity and found Kiefer Ravena, who got fouled by Roger Pogoy.

Ravena made his two free throws to tie the game, 59-all, with 21 seconds left.

Ravena, however, fouled Tolomia in the next play, putting the latter to the charity stripe with only two seconds to play. Tolomia, however, missed his two potential free throws.

Ravena had a chance to steal the win in the next play.

But he missed his game-winning attempt with less than a second left, forcing overtime.

Ateneo opened the extra session with seven straight points to take a 66-59 lead with 3:21 left.

FEU responded with five unanswered markers of its own to cut the advantage to two, 66-64, with 57 seconds remaining.

Ravena badly missed a three-pointer on the other end, paving for the Tams to tie the match.

Achie Iñigo, however, lost the ball to Newsome, who passed it to Ravena before Carl Cruz fouled the latter.

Ravena split his charities, giving FEU another chance to stay in contention for the win.

Fonso Gotladera, however, disrupted Tolomia's pass and got fouled by Cruz.

Gotladera sank the insurance free throw as Tolomia flubbed a trey at the final buzzer.

Despite only making 5-of-28 from the field, Ravena had a game-high 23 points on 12/18 clip from the free throw line along with five rebounds, five assists, and two steals.

Newsome added 13 points, 16 rebounds, three assists, and four steals for the Blue Eagles, who finished the elimination at the top of the team standings with an 11-3 record and secured the first twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four.

In what could be his best game in an Ateneo uniform, Gotladera, who previously played for La Salle before moving to his current squad, contributed nine markers, seven boards, and two blocks.

Belo made 16 points, eight rebounds, two assists, two steals, and a block for the Tamaraws, who slipped to 10-4.

The Tamaraws will face the winner of the NU-La Salle game later in the night in a playoff for the other semifinal bonus, technically making their upcoming Final Four series a best-of-3 affair.

Box Scores:

Ateneo 68-K. Ravena 23, Newsome 13, Gotladera 9, Pessumal 7, Capacio 6, Babilonia 5, Elorde 3, V. Tolentino 2, A. Tolentino 0, Doliguez 0

FEU 64-Belo 16, Pogoy 15, Tolomia 10, Cruz 8, Hargrove 8, Iñigo 3, Jose 2, Dennison 2, Tamsi 0, Lee Yu 0, Denila 0

Quarterscores: 7-12, 18-25, 26-45, 59-59, 68-64
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