UE shocks fancied Ateneo in UAAP-A A +A
Thursday, September 6, 2012
MANILA -- Bigman Chris Javier listed another clutch performance to his name on Thursday as he led the University of the East in nipping defending champion Ateneo de Manila, 79-77, in the 75th UAAP men’s basketball tournament.
Repeating his heroic role in last Sunday’s 79-76 escape over lowly University of the Philippines, Javier nailed a jumper to log the final score as the Warriors snapped the Eagles’ eight-game winning streak.
Ateneo though remained on top of the eight-team field with a 9-2 slate but its goal of booking an early slot to the crossover semifinals will have to be delayed a bit.
"It's just one game," said outgoing Eagles mentor Norman Black, whose wards suffered their second defeat after University of Santo Tomas delivered the first blow on July 19.
But for graduating forward Gene Belleza and the rest of the red-clad crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, the win was akin to bagging a championship trophy.
"We have nothing to lose. We just have to execute what coach (Boycie Zamar) told us what to do. We are happy but we are not satisfied. We still have to improve as a team," he said.
In a game marked by 11 deadlocks and 7 leadchanges, Ateneo last gained the upperhand with two minutes left, 75-71, before UE clawed back to even the score and eventually pull the upset.
UE improved to sixth-best 3-8 record with Belleza finishing with a career-high 28 points and five rebounds. This was the highest scoring output for any UE cager since James Yap exploded for 36 points in 2002.
Cebuano Greg Slaughter, meanwhile, topscored for Ateneo with 24 markers and 15 boards. The Warriors last won against the Eagles, 62-60, on August 26, 2010.(Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)