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Ateneo stays clean, repulses NU for 9 in a row

Thirdy Ravena got a lot of lift from the bench as Ateneo remained clean.
By Kevin Estrada

PASAY CITY -- Ateneo fell behind at the end of any of the first three quarters for the very first time this year, but came back just in time to remain unbeaten in the UAAP Men's Basketball tournament tonight at the MOA Arena after repulsing NU, 85-72.

Tab Baldwin and his Blue Eagles maintain their immaculate record for the ninth time of asking despite giving away the halftime lead for the first time, but their bench mob saved their day to sweep its season series against the Bulldogs.

Thirdy Ravena lead the eight-time UAAP champions with 15 points and 8 boards.

And his supporting cast gave them a massive lift, outscoring NU by 22, with Jolo Mendoza and Gian Mamuyac combined for 18 bench points.

Jayjay Alejandro paced NU with 22 points but the Bulldogs could not cope with the depth Ateneo had and their hot heads got the better of them, as Jamike Jarin was tossed with 4:13 left in the final period after incurring his second technical.

Ateneo came flying at the start with a 10-0 that caught the Bulldogs by surprise, thanks to triples by Anton Asistio and Matt Nieto.

Then the Blue Eagles continued their opening frame domination to lead by six at the end of the first.

But NU responded by winning the second quarter by nine, albeit in a highly charged manner when Dave Wilson Yu hacked Thirdy Ravena in an unsportsmanlike manner with 4:48 left in the first half.

Despite Ravena converting the three-point play, that did not deter the Bulldogs, as JJ Alejandro started a 7-0 run to get the lead for the first time on a Yu triple en route to a 48-45 lead at the break.

But Ateneo regained the upper hand in a wild third period that saw 4 deadlocks and 6 lead changes, as Tyler Tio's charities put them for good with 1:51 left for a precarious two point game.

Their win was sealed in the fourth, where NU was limited to just seven points, coupled with timely three pointers by Nieto and Raffy Verano gave the Blue Eagles its largest lead at 15, 82-68.

The Scores:

Ateneo 85 -- Ravena 15, Matt Nieto 10, Mendoza 10, Ikeh 8, Asistio 8, Mamuyac 8, Go 6, Mike Nieto 5, Tio 5, Verano 4, Black 3, Tolentino 3, White 0

NU 72 -- Alejandro 22, Joson 11, Gaye 8, Salem 7, Mosqueda 5, Morido 4, Rangel 4, Bartlett 4, Yu 3, Diputado 2, Cauilan 2, Tibayan 0

Quarter scores: 28-22, 45-48, 67-65, 85-72

Follow him on Twitter: @KevinLEstrada