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"Big Mike" goes clutch anew as Blue Eaglets stay unbeaten with win against Junior Archers

By Dugout Philippines

"Big Mike" Nieto once again proved vital in the endgame as he sank the go-ahead basket to lift Ateneo to a 69-67 win against La Salle-Zobel in their UAAP juniors basketball clash at the Blue Eagle Gym.

Nieto, currently leading the MVP race, scored on a fastbreak layup off a feed from Gian Mamuyac with 12.1 seconds to go that turned out to be the game-winner for the Blue Eaglets.

Nieto's shot also capped a game-deciding 6-0 Ateneo rally in the last two minutes of the match.

The Blue Eaglets trailed the Junior Archers, 63-67, with 2:17 left in the game after Quinito Banzon scored on a field goal.

But Matt Nieto scored on a two-pointer of his own to cut the deficit to two entering the two-minute mark.

Aleck Melecio then turned the ball over in the ensuing play, giving Ateneo a chance to tie the game.

Jolo Mendoza equalized with a left-handed layup on the other end with 1:14 remaining in the game.

Noah Webb failed to give La Salle-Zobel the lead again as he missed his shot following a timeout.

Mike Nieto made his first try of giving the Blue Eaglets the lead.

But Nieto failed to convert, and Lorenzo Joson issued a bad pass, giving the Junior Archers the ball back with 37.4 seconds remaining.

Melecio failed again to make a shot in the next play.

But his brother Aljun stole the ball from Mendoza after the latter grabbed the rebound.

Aljun, however, missed the transition basket, and Mamuyac secured the rebound and found Nieto for the game-winner.

Aljun Melecio went for the win in La Salle-Zobel's final play.

But he failed to make a three-pointer at the buzzer.

Jolo Mendoza led the Blue Eaglets, who stayed unbeaten in eight outings, with 22 points, four rebounds, and two assists, while Matt Nieto added 13 points, four rebounds, four assists, and three steals.

Mike Nieto finished with eight points, 18 rebounds, two assists, and a steal.

Aljun Melecio led the Junior Archers, who slipped to a tie with the FEU-FERN Baby Tamaraws for third place with 5-3, with 17 points, four rebounds, four assists, and three steals.

Melecio, however, was 0-of-7 from beyond the arc and 6-of-25 overall.

Box Scores:

Ateneo 69-Mendoza 21, Ma. Nieto 13, Mi. Nieto 8, Ramos 8, Joson 6, Andrade 5, Ildefonso 5, Salandanan 3, Mamuyac 0, Eustaquio 0, Termoso 0

La Salle-Zobel 67-Alj. Melecio 17, Webb 15, Banzon 11, Paraiso 9, Ale. Melecio 6, Romero 5, Sario 3, Isaac 1, Fortuna 0, Tongco 0

Quarterscores: 23-14, 34-34, 51-47, 69-67