Saturday, 15 September 2012 4,175 Views / 143 Comments
Buenafe, stole the ball, made a costly turnover but came thru at the clutch with a crucial free throw and a basket in the final 21 seconds as reigning UAAP champions- the Ateneo Blue Eagles pulled-off a pulsating 68-66 win over the UST Growling Tigers on September 15 in UAAP Season 75 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
With 5 seconds left, Buenafe went towards the basket and was fouled by Kevin Ferrer. His attempt was rejected by Karim Abdul but game officials ruled it as goal-tending violation that gave the Blue Eagles the lead at 67-66.
Buenafe, a former San Sebastian Staglets, had 11 points with 6 -points in the 1st then 5 -points in the 4th quarter, converted split his charities to increase the lead at 68-66 with 5 seconds to go. Blue Eagles 1st round nemesis, Aljon Mariano, who was limited to just 9 points, tallied nine rebounds, threw a desperate shot at the buzzer but couldn’t connect.
“It’s a nice win. I attacked at the middle because I’m very confident that I can score,” said Buenafe.
With the win, the Blue Eagles secured their 12th win in 14 games clinching the first twice-to-beat edge in the final four.
The Growling Tigers fell to third place with a 9-4 slate. UST failed to advance to the semifinals outright with its fourth loss in 13 matches, half-a-game behind 2nd placer – FEU (9-3) in the race for the second ‘twice-to-beat’ advantage.
Kiefer Ravena, led the Blue Eagles with 18 points along with 6 rebounds and 4 assists, AND a vicious, in your face slam off Karim Abdul in the 3rd period.
Abdul finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Growling Tigers.
“Ryan’s three-point play was huge,” said Ateneo mentor Norman Black. “That was actually the goal from the beginning to try to stay in the Top 2. This is a tough game, very difficult game for us, to see exactly how good UST it is. They will be very formidable down the stretch.”
The victory somehow avenged the Blue Eagles’ 70-71 heart-breaker in the hands of the Growling Tigers in the first round.
Ateneo was poised to runaway with the victory, taking a 56-43 advantage after Buenafe scored on a drive with 9:02 remaining but the Growling Tigers, made another uprising in the final period.
Trailing by 8-points, Clark Bautista scored 5 points in UST’s 10-0 run to grab the lead, 63-61, with 1:23 remaining.
A lay-up by Ravena forged the game’s last deadlock at 63-all when Aljon Mariano split his charities on the next play to take a one-point lead.
A jumper by Juami Tiongson gave the Eagles a 65-64 advantage before UST countered with Karim Abdul’s jumper for a 66-65 Tigers lead.
Tiongson had 13 points while Greg Slaughter had 10 points.
UST management is planning to file a protest on the goal tending call by the referees on Abdul in the dying seconds.
Meanwhile, FEU’s Arvie Bringas has been slapped by Commissioner Ato Badolato with another two-game suspension prior to his hard foul on UP’s Diony Hipolito.
ADMU 68 – Ravena 18, Tiongson 13, Buenafe 11, Slaughter 10, Sumalinog 7, Salva 6, Elorde 3, Chua 0, Golla 0, Gonzaga 0.??UST 66 – Abdul 22, Teng 12, Mariano 9, Ferrer 8, Fortuna 8, Bautista 7, Afuang 0, Lo 0, Pe 0, Vigil 0.
UST 66 – Abdul 22, Teng 12, Mariano 9, Ferrer 8, Fortuna 8, Bautista 7, Afuang 0, Lo 0, Pe 0, Vigil 0.
Quarter Scores: 15-18; 30-33; 52-43; 68-66