The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons managed to maintain their control in the end-game to stagger the Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU) Blue Eagles, 56-52, in the Season 79 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
UP Fighting Maroons’ Gelo Vito drained the bayonet triple, his first for the entire season 79, with only 16.4 seconds time remaining on the clock to drive the University of the Philippines up (2-6) to its second win of the season.
Vito’s shot also drenched a rally by Ateneo De Manila Blue Eagles which came back from seven points down in the last five minutes of the contest.
Jett Manuel put up a total if 15 points and also the free throws in the dying seconds that secured the victory over the Ateneo Blue Eagles.
The Ateneo Blue Eagles (4-4), which lost massive to nemesis De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Archers last week, suffered its second consecutive defeat in the tournament.
After engaging the Ateneo Blue Eagles in a low-scoring clash, the UP Fighting Maroons threatened to pull away after an 8-1 surge in the fourth quarter of the game that gave the latter varsity team its biggest lead, 51-44, with just 5:40 left on the clock.
However, the ADMU Blue Eagles countered with six consecutive points to come within just one score.
The UP Fighting Maroons then caught a quite disappointing break after Vito’s triple from the wing was waived off as an offensive foul was called on Paul Desiderio for a push in an effort to help his teammate get free from the UP defense.
But the Blue Eagles missed its opportunity to take the lead, handing the Fighting Maroons the possession. There was no spoiling Vito this time as he scored another triple with 16.4 seconds to push the University of the Philippines lead to four points, 54-50.
Meawhile, Adrian Wong contributed a quick layup to pull Ateneo within two points, but they were forced to foul Manuel with 7.2 left. The UP Fighting Maroons guard calmly sank a couple of free throws to finally put the Ateneo Blue Eagles away.
Vito concluded the matchup with seven points while Desiderio put up nine. While Wong and Chi Ikeh scored 10 points but failed to get help from the Ateneo Blue Eagles’ core player Thirdy Ravena who struggled off floor and came up with only six points.
The UP Fighting Maroons have lost 14 games in a row to the Ateneo Blue Eagles dating back to 2009 prior to the breakthrough victory.