By Kristel Satumbaga
(Mall of Asia Arena)
2 p.m. – UE vs La Salle
4 p.m. Ateneo vs FEU
Ange Kouame came through when it mattered most in the fourth quarter as Ateneo survived University of Santo Tomas, 71-70, Wednesday to remain unscathed in UAAP Season 82 men’s basketball at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The 6-foot-10 Ivorian center scattered nine of his 11 points in the fourth, including a putback in the last 2:53 that gave the defending two-time champion Blue Eagles a 68-67 lead en route to their third straight victory.
He also collared 10 rebounds and had three blocks.
“The game could have gone either way, and it’s fortunate that we won,” said Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin, who put on the necessary defensive stops in the second half to slow down the Tigers.
A crucial unsportsmanlike foul on CJ Cansino in the last 14.3 ticks allowed the Blue Eagles to retain possession, with Thirdy Ravena and Matt Nieto delivering three of the four charities for 71-67.
Renzo Subido’s buzzer-beating triple counted, but it wasn’t enough as the Tigers slipped to their first loss in three games.
Battling in eight deadlocks and 14 lead changes, UST set the pace in the second period where it uncorked a 21-3 run spearheaded by Chabi Yo for a 37-33 halftime advantage.
The Tigers last tasted the lead in the final 3:33 with a Subido triple, 67-63, but it turned out to be their last stand.
Ravena anchored Ateneo with 17 points and 10 rebounds while Mamuyac chipped in 10 points and four boards.
Kouame’s fourth-quarter assault overshadowed the overall efforts of Soulemane Chabi Yo, who erupted for 25 points and hauled 13 boards for UST.
Rhenz Abando, Mark Nonoy and Subido finished with nine points each in a losing cause.
Ateneo exploded behind the arc by burying five of its 10 triples in the first quarter and convered UST’s 19 turnovers to 23 points.
The Eagles also converted 16 fast break points.
ATENEO 71 — Ravena 17, Kouame 11, Mamuyac 10, Navarro 8, Belangel 6, Maagdenberg 6, Ma. Nieto 5, Go 3, Wong 3, Mi. Nieto 2, Andrade 0, Daves 0, Tio 0.
UST 70 — Chabi Yo 25, Abando 9, Nonoy 9, Subido 9, Huang 6, Cansino 4, Concepcion 4, Ando 2, Paraiso 2, Bataller 0.
Quarters: 23-13, 33-37, 53-56, 71-70.