Ateneo weathers late UST barrage to go 5-0

A career-high performance by Ateneo Blue Eagle's Matt Nieto (22 points) prevented an almost upset first defeat at the hands of  the gritty UST Growling Tigers earlier this evening at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in the UAAP Season 80 Men's Basketball Tournament. 
By Kevin Estrada

QUEZON CITY -- Ateneo extends its lead on the top of the UAAP table, surviving a late UST uprising with 94-84 win to cap off Wednesday's UAAP men's doubleheader tonight at the Big Dome.

The Blue Eagles nearly blew a 22 point lead in the payoff frame but got its act on time, finishing the game on a 13-4 spurt to drag the wounded and growl-less Tigers further down to the cellar with their fifth straight setback.

Guard Matthew Nieto clicked in all cylinders for 22 points on a 7/12 clip from the field, including 67% from beyond the arc.

UST captain Marvin Lee almost turned the game around for 22 markers also, but did not have enough gas left in the payoff period to doom the Tigers.

Ateneo fell behind early by six in the opening period but got their act together to establish a 29-23 edge.

The Blue Eagles then turned up the heat in the following quarter, leading by as much as 15 before going to the locker room with a dozen point advantage.

Ateneo shifted to higher gear in the third with Nieto catching fire with three triples in the quarter as their lead ballooned to 22, 69-47 courtesy of a 7-0 spurt.

But UST also caught fire to reply with a 24-7 run to reduce the lead to just five heading into the payoff period.

The Tigers pulled within one, 80-81 on a Lee trey, but they missed seven free throws to send to them crashing back to earth.

The Scores:

Ateneo 94 -- Matt Nieto 22, Go 13, Ravena 12, Mamuyac 8, Ikeh 7, Asistio 7, Mike Nieto 6, Tolentino 5, Verano 4, Tio 3, Mallillin 3, Black 2, Mendoza 2

UST 84 -- Lee 22, Sta. Ana 21, Faundo 6, Escalambre 6, Akomo 6, Romero 6, Garcia 4, Huang 4, Basibas 4, Soriano 3, De Guzman 2

Quarter scores: 29-23, 55-43, 76-71, 94-84

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