After seven years, Maroons finally topple Eagles

UP big man Gelo Vito fired the game-turning basket in the endgame.
By Ricky Manliguis

PASAY—After 14 unsuccessful tries, University of the Philippines finally solved the riddle that is Ateneo.

Getting a big lift from bigman Gelo Vito in the clutch, the Maroons pulled off a pulsating 56-52 win over the Eagles in Saturday’s UAAP Season LXXIX men’s seniors basketball tournament second round action at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The six-foot-five Vito canned in a booming triple with 16.4 seconds to give UP a 54-50 lead that proved to be the dagger in the hearts of its Katipunan neighbors in the tight contest to chalk up its second win opposite six defeats.

Dave Moralde sparked an 8-1 scoring spurt to turn break a 43-all deadlock to a 51-44 lead on the 5:10 mark of the final period.

Adrian Wong and Thirdy Ravena kept the Eagles in the thick of things, burying six consecutive points to come within one, 51-50, with 1:39 left. Vito lighted up a three-ball, but was nullified after an offensive foul was whistled on Paul Desiderio.  

Two defensive sequences later, Vito was found wide open from the left corner and pocketed the back-breaking trifecta.    

Jett Manuel led the State U assault with 15 points on 5-for-12 field goal shooting along with five boards. Desiderio followed suit with nine markers, while Moralde and Jarrell Lim each had eight.

Vito finished with seven points and five rebounds on a 33 percent clip from the field (3-of-9).

The win ended a seven-year losing spell for UP, which last defeated ADMU in July 26, 2009 via a 68-58 success.  
Wong and Chebuize Ikeh both tallied 10 points for the Eagles, which now slumped to an even 4-4 win loss slate.
The scores:
UP 56 — Manuel 15, Desiderio 9, Moralde 8, Lim 8, Vito 7, Jaboneta 3, Prado 2, Dario 2, Gomez De Liano 2, Webb 0, Asilum 0, Harris 0, Romero 0
Ateneo 52 — Wong 10, Ikeh 10, Mi. Nieto 9, Verano 9, Ravena 6, Tolentino 5, Babilonia 3, Asistio 0, Ma. Nieto 0, Mendoza 0, Porter 0
Quarterscores: 10-11; 23-23; 41-39; 56-52.

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