Ateneo pulled away in the fourth quarter to turn back upstart UST, 73-69, in the UAAP Season 79 men’s basketball tournament Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Unable to hit their mark from deep early on, the Blue Eagles banked on crucial triples by Anton Asistio and Adrian Wong to repel the feisty Growling Tigers in their first game after the Kiefer Ravena era.
Aaron Black delivered an all-around performance with 23 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 blocks and a steal while Thirdy Ravena scored 17 points and hauled down 11 boards for the Katipunan quintet.
The match was a tight affair from the get-go, with neither team giving an inch.
But Ateneo opened the final quarter with a 7-0 run, pushing a slim 52-51 lead to a 59-51 bubble that had new UST coach Boy Sablan calling for time.
Sablan’s pleas, however, fell on deaf ears as the Eagles, behind Asistio and GBoy Babilonia, grew the advantage to 66-53 — a lead that proved to be too big to catch for the Espana side.
Louie Vigil top scored for the Tigers with 21 points on 21 shots while also posting 9 rebounds and 5 assists.