Robbed of a game-winning moment during Game 1 of last year’s Finals, Matt Nieto finally made sure his name would be immortalized in Ateneo folklore, as he made the game-winning free throws with 3.9 seconds to play as the Ateneo De Manila University Blue Eagles defeated the De La Salle University Green Archers, 76-75, on Sunday in the UAAP 80 Men’s Basketball Tournament at Mall of Asia Arena.
Ateneo started the game strong as the Blue Eagles waxed hot from downtown early on. Anton Asistio made three triples in the first quarter alone as the opening period ended, 28-16 in favor of the blue and white.
La Salle fought back during the second quarter. Ben Mbala and Ricci Rivero led the way for the green and white during the second quarter. The first half ended, 43-36 in favor of the boys from Katipunan.
La Salle was holding on to a 75-74 lead plus ball posession but the Green Archers but Ateneo stole the possesion and had Matt Nieto fouled and sinks both free throws to win the game for Ateneo.
Matt Nieto led the way for the Blue Eagles with 16 points, Anton Asistio finished with 14 points and Jolo Mendoza added 10 for the Blue Eagles as they sweep the first round.
Ricci Rivero finally broke out of his slump, as he scored 19 points for the green and white, Ben Mbala finished with a season low 18 points and 13 rebounds and Jollo Go chipped in 11 points for La Salle.
With the loss, DLSU drops to 5-2, in a tie for second place with the Adamson Soaring Falcons.
ATENEO 76 – Nieto Ma 16, Asistio 14, Mendoza 10, Ravena 9, Verano 6, Go 4, Tolentino 4, Nieto Mi 4, Black 4, Mamuyac 3, Ikeh 2
DLSU 75 – Rivero R 19, Mbala 18, Go 11, Rivero P 8, Caracut 5, Paraiso 5, Tratter 4, Montalbo 3, Santillian 2, Gonzales 0
QUARTER SCORES: 28-16, 43-36, 63-62, 76-75