The Ateneo De Manila University Blue Eagles once again bowed to the National University Bulldogs, 78-74, in Game One of the Final Four semifinal in the 77th University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s basketball tournament.
But Ateneo coach Coach Bo Perasol said the Blue Eagles are not about to give up despite another setback against the Bulldogs at the Araneta Coliseum last Wednesday. The Blue Eagles lost to the Bulldogs for the fifth consecutive time dating back to last season’s UAAP.
“We still have a chance again next Wednesday. We had a chance when we lost to them. So I cannot ask for more from my players,” said Perasol in a post-game huddle.
UAAP Most Valuable Player Kiefer Ravena once again waxed hot in the final period to tow the Blue Eagles. Ravena scored 15 points in the final period but it wasn’t enough to bail out the Blue Eagles.
The 6’0″ Ravena scored on a layup off Henri Betayene with 29.7 seconds left to push Ateneo within a point, 74-75.
NU guard Gelo Alolino, rookie Jhay Alejandro and Henri Betayene converted the free throws which bailed the Bulldogs out of trouble.
This forged a sudden-death match for a place in the UAAP Season 77 finals between Ateneo and NU next week.
The win was NU’s first victory in the Final Four since the format was introduced in 1994.
The fourth-seeded Bulldogs were scoreless in the last eight minutes and lost a 15-point lead.
But they converted 10 of their last 14 free throws which proved enough to beat Ateneo.