In what was a back-and-forth battle, the Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles emerged victorious against the Far Eastern University Tamaraws, 69-68, in their do-or-die Final Four matchup of UAAP Season 79, Wednesday afternoon at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon city.
An Isaac Go putback layup with 1:24 left in overtime that put Ateneo in front for good proved to be the clincher as both teams failed to score again. FEU had a chance to steal the game in the closing seconds but Ron Dennison’s last gap layup proved to be a couple of miliseconds too late.
Isaac Go, who was forced to sit out halfway into the overtime period to treat a bloodied nose, was crucial for Ateneo as he came back and hit the game-clincher and tallied a double-double of 12 points and 14 rebounds to go along with two blocks.
“I knew I had to stay on the floor and that we needed to stay in the game,” said Go. “At that point of the game it was winning time. There was no point of getting out of the game. Injury, you had to set that aside. When the gsme’s on the line you have to play.”
With the score at 66-all, Thirdy Ravena had a chance to seal the game for Ateneo in the final seconds of the fourth quarter but missed a layup against three defenders.
In the overtime period, both teams failed to score until the 2:50 until a Vince Tolentino split at the free throw line and answered by a Donnison jumper 23 seconds later and that led to the Go putback.
Ateneo also got crucial contributions from the swingman Ravena who finished with 13 markers along with eight rebounds. Mike Nieto also scored 13.
For FEU, Monbert Arong had 15 points, seven boards and two assists while Raymar Jose chipped in the last double-double of his UAAP career with 12 markers and 12 rebounds.
Ateneo’s win set them up with a best-of-three Finals series against archrivals La Salle. Game One will be on December 3, Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.