Derige comes clutch as UE stays alive in F4 race

(file photo)
By Kevin Estrada

PASAY--UE leaned on Clark Derige in the dying moments to stun Ateneo, 74-69 in a UAAP 78 action at the MOA Arena on Saturday.

Derige drilled a reverse layup on a broken play 45.2 seconds left in the game as the Red Warriors almost blew their 12-point lead in the third quarter but launched an 11-2 run in the last two minutes to stay alive in the postseason race.

Derige ended with team-high 17 points, along with Chris Javier's 13 and Bonbon Batiller's nine as Coach Derrick Pumaren's slim postseason hopes were kept alive with the win at 5-8.

For the Blue Eagles, it was the same story again with Kiefer Ravena leading them with 28 points, but had a little help from the rest of the team as Von Pessumal the only other Atenean in double figures with ten as Bo Perasol saw his team lose its final chance to sneak in to the twice-to-beat bonus ending the regular season at 9-5, good enough for third place.

Needing a win just to stay alive in the final four hunt, UE began aggresively, starting the first seven minutes in the lead 16-9. but the blue eagles responded on a 12-0 blast in the last 3 minutes to lead 21-16 at the end of the first quater.

However, UE regained their lead in the second quarter as their suffocating press limit Ateneo to five points to enter the break ahead 35-26 in the strength of a 10-0 run.

In the early stages of the third canto, UE extended the run to 18-3 between the two quarters to give the Red Warriors the biggest lead at 14, 43-29 with 7:19 remaining. but the eagles dominated the rest of the third, which they responded with a huge 22-10 blast to pull within a single basket heading into the last 10 minutes of the game.

Ateneo continued their rally in the final frame, in which they regained the lead by scoring on the first 4 points in three minutes thanks to Pessumal's 3 point play, Aaron black's split from the line and the fastbreak lay-up by Ravena to go ahead 57-53

Refusing to go silently into the sunset, Fran Yu turned the game into a tighter contest with a three, which was replied by Ravena with his own to maintain a precarious four-point lead, 60-56, with less than five minutes left in the game.

But Chris Javier helped UE overturn the deficit into a five-point lead for the Red Warriors, scoring seven points in that 9-0 run to put the team into the driver's seat, 65-60, heading into the last 90 seconds of the game.

But after a Ravena basket, Derige put the game away for good with 45.2 seconds to go on a broken play reverse lay-up to put them ahead, 67-62, as his teammates' clutch free throw shooting thwarted every Blue Eagle basket to finish the season on a high, while waiting for the result of NU-FEU that is still in progress as of this writing.

Box Scores:

UE 74-Deirge 17, Javier 13, De Leon 10, Batiller 9, Yu 8, P. Varilla 7, Palma 6, Charcos 4, J. Varilla 0, Sta. Ana 0, Cudal 0

Ateneo 69-Ravena 28, Pessumal 10, Black 8, Wong 5, Ikeh 4, Capacio 4, Mi. Nieto 4, V. Tolentino 2, A. Tolentino 2, Babilonia 2, Gotladera 0, Pingoy 0, Go 0, Cani 0

Quarterscores: 16-21, 35-26, 53-51, 74-69

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