ATENEO'S Justin Chua unloaded eight of his 17 markers in the final quarter to nip University of Santo Tomas (UST), 68-56, in the 73rd UAAP men's basketball Sunday at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.

The 21-year-old interdisciplinary studies major also scored a double-double after netting 11 rebounds in a game that saw four deadlocks and 12 leadchanges.

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Chua opened the inevitable win for the Katipunan-based squad after he made back-to-back goals, 61-52, with 3:10 remaining.

From there, Ateneo strengthen its hold on the lead as UST successively commit foul troubles and loose defense of the basket, clearing the way for other Blue Eagle members to widen the gap at a comfortable 67-54 with 33 ticks left.

"Justin has a great attitude. He is not complaining even if he is not out there to play. He works hard on practice and he does his best. Justin is a very, very good high school player," said coach Norman Black.

UST failed to match its first half composure as Ateneo held them to a measly 10-point output down the last stretch.

"UST is a very physical team and we tried to limit their shots. We have to make our presence inside," said Black, who extended his winning run against the Espana-based squad to eight.

For his part, Chua said he would try his best to fill in the void left by 2008 Most Valuable Player Rabeh-al-Hussaini, who like him made a breakout season on his third year with Ateneo.

"Pinaghahandaan ko talaga ang bawat game. Even if I could not play more minutes, the more important thing is to make presence inside, and do rebounds. Maswerte na kami pag nakaka-shoot," said the 6-foot-6 center and prized recruit from Chiang Kai Shek College.

Nico Salva, a batchmate of Chua in the 2008 Ateneo championship team, sizzled with 14 points, six rebounds, one assist and two blocks, while Eman Monfort and team captain Erik Salamat combined for 15 points.

The Blue Eagles improved to 2-1 with the win while the Growling Tigers dropped to an even 1-1 card.

Clark Bautista led the losing effort of the Tigers with 11 points on 3 of 11 shooting while sophomore guard followed at 10 points.

Career-high members

MANILA. La Salle fans celebrate the victory of the Green Archers, who listed its second win in three outings. (Sunnex/Virgil Lopez)

Six De La Salle University members knocked in career-high figures to rout University of the East, 82-63, in second men's basketball match.

Former University of the Philippines (UP) high school towers Maui Villanueva and Samuel Marata drained 31 points while Cagayan de Oro-born hotshot Philip Paredes chipped in 10 markers to silence the Red Warriors.

Other members who showed career-best performances Sunday night are Luis de la Paz, Indonesian center Ferdinand, who posted 10, nine and eight points, respectively.

Lanky Yutien Andrada also capped his night with eight points as coach Dindo Pumaren credited the win to the team's aggressiveness and good defense.

"Basically we played good defense and we hope to extend this in the next few games," he said, whose wards recovered from a humbling 55-59 loss to National University last July 15.

The blowout win was a good riddance for La Salle which suffered back-to-back beatings from UE last year.

"I saw the aggressiveness, the energy and the A-game and I'm very happy," said Pumaren.

UE joined early cellar-dweller UP at 0-2 while La Salle is in a three-way tie with Adamson and archrival Ateneo for a 2-1 card.

The Scores

First Game:

Ateneo (68) - Chua 17, Salva 14,Monfort 8, Salamat 7, Golla 7, De la Cruz 6, Escueta 5, Long 2, Austria 2, Tiongson 0, Buenafe 0.

UST (56) - Bautista 11, Teng 10, Camus 8, Mariano 7, Fortuna 7, Pe 4, Afuang 4, Marata 2, Aytona 2, Daquiog 1, Wong 0, Tinte 0, Mamaril 0, Lo 0.

Second Game:

La Salle (82)- Villanueva 16, Marata 15, Paredes 10, De la Paz 9, Ferdinand 9, Andrada 8, Atkins 7, Tolentino 4, Tampus 3, Webb 2, Vosotros 0, Elorde 0, Mendoza 0.

UE (63) - Lee 25, Zamar 11, Martinez 9, Reyes 5, Acibar 5, Enguio 3, Santos 2, Razon 2, Casajeros 1, Rosopa 0, Tagarda 0, Duran 0, Ayala 0.

Games Thursday (Araneta Coliseum, Quezon City)

2 p.m. UP vs UST

4 p.m. UE vs FEU

Team Standings

Far Eastern University 2-0

Adamson University 2-1

Ateneo de Manila University 2-1

De La Salle University 2-1

University of Santo Tomas 1-1

National University 1-2

University of the East 0-2

University of the Philippines 0-2

(Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)