It’s the Blue Eagles in overtime

26 07 2007

After a season of waiting, the old rivalry is back. Students, alumni, businessmen, professionals and professors, among others left their respective works and gathered Thursday at the SRO (Standing Room Only) Araneta Coliseum to see this. The legendary Ateneo-La Salle rivalry – a mixture of revelry and frustration was in the air.

Guard Chris Tiu assured that Ateneo would not be frustrated as he connected five straight points late in the extension period to propel the Blue Eagles to a nerve-wrackling 80-77 overtime win over their longtime adversary the De La Salle Green Archers.

Tiu unloaded a crucial triple at the left corner for the Blue Eagles’ 78-74 lead down with only 21 seconds and sealed Ateneo’s fourth win in five outings, plus, converting two free throws off Tyrone Tang’s fifth foul with not enough time left.

“It feels good,” said Ateneo head coach Norman Black, winning his first UAAP game against the Archers. “The guys had a lot of desire today. I like to compliment their offense.”

Joseph Casio, paced La Salle with 21 points, scored a trey with 1:25 minutes left in regulation to get things even at 65-all. Clifford Arao connected a deuce in the ensuing play, then Cholo Villanueva made a lay up to knot the count to 67-all with only five ticks remaining.

Casio had a chance to seal the victory for La Salle, but his pass to Maierhofer was deflected by Al-Hussaini as time expired.

Playmaker Jai Reyes, a rookie of the year winner two years ago, delivered 18 points on 8-of-16 shooting from the field and dished out six assists to lead the Blue Eagles’ charge. Tiu produced 15 points including three triples while Ford Arao had 14.

Arao scored on a hook shot and had a split charity off a Villanueva foul to go ahead, 74-69, with 1:41 minutes in the five-minute extension. Casio scored two straight baskets that closed the gap, 73-74, with 2:13 minutes left.

From thereon, Ateneo sustained its run and La Salle failed to catch-up in the remaining minutes.

Rico Maierhofer had a double-double with 19 and 10 rebounds, while Cholo Villanueva added 14 points.

The Green Archers hit 2-out-of 21 from the three-point area, in contrast to Ateneo’s 6-of-17.

The Blue Eagles grabbed more rebounds, 55-44, and passed the ball more times, 17-8.

“It is hard to celebrate too much because we have to play FEU on Sunday,” Black said.

The Archers fell to a tie with University on Santo Tomas at 3-2. The two will face each other on July 29 at the Araneta Coliseum.

Maierhofer and Casio started scoring for La Salle ’s 19-15 cushion in the opening quarter and continued from there to provide the Green Archers a 30-25 lead with 3:04 minutes left in the second quarter. Tiu tied the ball game with a three-pointer for a 30-all halftime score.

After the Green Archers scored the first four points, Ateneo’s Reyes seized the show as he released a backbreaking 7-0 rally for a 45-38 lead at 4:36 minutes of the 3rd quarter.

Reyes’ long two gave Ateneo its largest margin at 53-44 with still 9:10 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

Individual scores:

ATENEO 80 — Reyes 18, Tiu 15, Arao 14, Nkemakolam8, Al-Hussaini 7, Long 6, Baclao 5, Salamat 4, Monfort 3, Escueta 0, Laterrre 0, Barracoso 0.

LA SALLE 77 — Casio 21, Maierhofer 19, Villanueva 14, Walsham 6, Tang 6, Malabes 5, Ferdinand 2, Mangahas 2, Barua 2, Lee 0, Ilad 0, Co 0.

Quarter scores: 15-19, 30-30, 49-44, 67-67 (regulation), 80-77 (OT)




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