By Yann Magcamit
PASAY CITY - The Ateneo Blue Eagles inched closer to the UAAP Season 81 crown with an 88-79 win over the UP Fighting Maroons at the Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday night.
Matt Nieto dominated for the Blue Eagles with 27 points, 1 assist, and 3 steals, making 56 percent of his field goals (9-of-16) and showing an 80 percent efficiency from beyond the three-point line.
Thirdy Ravena also brought the team 21 points and 10 rebounds while falling short of a triple-double by just one assist, following Nieto as the game's top scorers.
The Blue Eagles banked on offensive rebounds, producing 18 versus the Maroons' 12, giving them more leeway for second-chance points (7 versus the Maroons' 2).
They were also able to draw first blood for the best-of-3 series with a 40.91 percent offensive rebounding percentage and 69.23 percenct defensive rebounding percentage, putting them in advantage as they face the Fighting Maroons once again on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum in Game 2.
Ateneo (88) – Nieto, J. 27, Ravena 21, Kouame 7, Verano 6, Tio 6, Mamuyac 5, Asistio 4, Nieto, M. 4, Wong 3, Mendoza 3, Go 2, Navarro 0.
UP (79) – Manzo 19, Gomez de Liaño Ju. 17, Gomez de Liaño Ja. 11, Akhuetie 10, Dario 9, Desiderio 5, Tungcab 3, Vito 3, Prado 2, Murrell 0, Jaboneta 0, Gozum 0.
Quarterscores: 26-18, 39-38, 63-61, 88-79
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