MANILA, Philippines— Defending champion Ateneo held its fort and overcame University of Santo Tomas, 71-70, in an instant classic in the young UAAP Season 82 men’s basketball tournament Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Angelo Kouame came up with big plays down the stretch, hitting a contested layup with more than a minute remaining then rejecting Soulemane Chabiyo’s jumper with about 30 seconds left to preserve Ateneo’s 68-67 lead.
Thirdy Ravena then, drilled two free throws with 11.6 seconds to play for Ateneo’s 70-67 lead.
CJ Cansino tried to tie the game but his three-point heave bounced off before Matt Nieto went 1-of-2 from the line with 3.9 ticks left to go to seal Ateneo’s victory.
Renzo Subido drilled a three in transition but all that did was cut the final margin to one point.
The Blue Eagles remained the lone undefeated team in the league at 3-0 while the Growling Tigers dropped to 2-1.
“We understood that the game would be really tough and I feel very fortunate to win this game, this is the kind of game that you want to talk about character and toughness but this game could’ve gone either way,” said Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin.
Thirdy Ravena finished with 17 points and 19 rebounds to lead the Blue Eagles while Angelo Kouame added 11 points and 10 boards.
Chabiyo had 25 points to lead all scorers with 13 rebounds but he was silenced to just two points in the final quarter.
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