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Blue Eagles soar

Ateneo bucked the absence of coach Bo Perasol and a 10-point halftime deficit to eliminate University of the East from Final Four contention with a 77-72 victory in UAAP Season 76 yesterday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Chris Newsome scored nine of his 19 points in the fourth quarter as the Loyola-based squad got the needed cushion to take a 10-point lead before surviving the Red Warriors’ last ditch comeback effort to rejoin University of Santo Tomas in a tie for fourth spot.

The defending champion Eagles improved to 7-5, with two games left against National University on Wednesday and UST on Sept. 18.

Meanwhile, in the second game, La Salle rallied from a nine-point deficit in the fourth quarter to stun National University, 57-55, to forge a three-way tie for the lead.

Long-time assistant Sandy Arespacochaga took over the coaching chores with Perasol in dispose to serve a one-game suspension for nearly confronting La Salle fan JJ Atayde at the end of Ateneo’s 68-66 loss last week.

Kiefer Ravena topscored for Ateneo with 22 points while Ryan Buenafe fell short of a double-double with nine points and 11 rebounds.

Ateneo trailed 44-34 at the half with UE’s Roi Sumang firing 20 points and Charles Mammie dominating the shaded lane.

But the Eagles made a big run in the third with Ravena sizzling in that period before Newsome, coupled with point guard Nico Elorde’s defense on Sumang, led the fourth quarter outburst to grab a 72-62 lead with 4:40 to go.

ATENEO 77 – Ravena 22, Newsome 19, Buenafe 9, Elorde 7, Tiongson 6, Pessumal 5, Erram 5, Golla 4, Tolentino 0, Enriquez 0.

UE 72 – Sumang 27, Mammie 11, Jumao-as 10, Alberto 10, Noble 5, Santos 4, Sumido 2, Hernandez 2, Javier 1, Olayon 0, Pujante 0, Flores 0, Casajeros 0.

Quarters: 14-16; 34-44; 56-55; 77-72.

Second Game
LA SALLE 57 – Teng 21, Perkins 18, Revilla 6, Van Opstal 5, Salem 3, Vosotros 2, Reyes 2, Torres N. 0, Torres T. 0, Montalbo 0, de la Paz 0, Bolick 0.

NU 55 – Parks 19, Alolino 15, Villamor 7, Javillonar 5, Mbe 4, Rosario 3, Neypes 2, Rono 0, Khobuntin 0, Javelona 0, Alejandro 0.

Quarters: 10-14; 25-31; 42-45; 57-55.