(UPDATED) BREAKING: The UP Fighting Maroons suffer their second consecutive blowout loss after bowing down against the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles in the “Battle of Katipunan,” 83-66. UP falls to 3-5, currently good for sixth place.
The UP Fighting Maroons’ bounce back bid started on a sour note as they bow down to the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles in the “Battle of Katipunan,” 66-83 in their first game of the second round of UAAP Season 79 Men’s Basketball Tournament in the Mall of Asia Arena on October 13.
Maroons center Bright Akhuetie and guard Paul Desiderio combined for 36 points but failed to get enough support from the bench and their leading scorer Juan Gomez de Liaño who only scored 5 points on 2 of 10 shooting. UP was still in the bay after a three-point play from Juan, 56-63 with six minutes left, until Ateneo center Kakou Kouame and forward Thirdy Ravena put on a dunk and block show to put the game away.
UP started out strong in the first quarter after Desiderio scored five consecutive points from downtown and the paint. But Ravena and Ateneo forward Rafael Verano would combine for 10 points to snatch the lead from the Maroons at the end of the quarter, 18-15.
The second quarter continued to be a low-scoring affair after both teams showcased their defensive prowess, limiting each other to below 20 points. Akhuetie started to heat up notching 8 points in the quarter after failing to score in the first, but his teammates would only score a total of 6 points and would still fall short against the balanced offense of Eagles to end the half down by 6, 29-35.
Ateneo came out swinging in the third quarter after creating a variety of aggressive points in the paint to establish a 12-point lead, 41-29. But UP would not fall down easily as Desiderio ignited a 19-7 run, 9 coming from him through post moves and hustle leading to putbacks and free throws to tie the game at 48 with 2 minutes left in the quarter.
Ateneo would then respond with 6 consecutive points to end the third quarter, 54-48. Eagles would carry on their momentum heading to the last quarter after they adjusted their defense to the fast pace offense of Maroons which lead to turnover points. Thirdy Ravena would score 11 points in the quarter as he and Kouame would deliver the dagger dunks and blocks to blow the game out.
Akhuetie notched 20 points and 8 rebounds while Desiderio put on his best performance of the season so far with 16 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists. The Gomez de Liaño brothers would only score a combined total of 9 points after exploding for 39 points against the National University Bulldogs.
Maroons fall to 3-5, currently good for sixth place while Eagles improved to 6-2 to grab the solo lead.
UP would look to bounce back against the University of the East Red Warriors on Sunday, October 21, at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
SCORES UP 66 – Akhuetie 20, Desiderio 16, Manzo 8, Gomez de Liano Ju 5, Gomez de Liano Ja 4, Dario 3, Jaboneta 2, Prado 2, Murrell 2, Vito 2, Gozum 2, Spencer 0, Lim 0.
Ateneo 83 – Ravena 21, Tio 12, Verano 10, Mendoza 10, Asistio 9, Kouame 9, Mamuyac 6, Belangel 4, Go 2, Navarro 0, Black 0, Wong 0. Quarters: 18-15, 35-29, 54-48, 83-66.