Team Standings

Far Eastern University - 3-0

De La Salle University - 3-1

Adamson University - 2-1

University of Santo Tomas - 2-1

Ateneo de Manila University - 2-2

National University - 2-2

University of the East - 0-4

University of the Philippines - 0-3

Games Sunday (Philsports Arena, Pasig City)

2 p.m. UP vs FEU

4 p.m. UST vs AdU

DE LA Salle University went mightier in the last two minutes to snap a two-year losing skid against archrival Ateneo, 66-63, in the 73rd UAAP at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City Saturday night.

Second year Samuel “Tata” Marata made back-to-back triples to erase the nine-point lead of Ateneo, 65-63, with 1:26 remaining in the last canto.

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King Archer Simon Atkins, on the other hand, split his charities in the last 17.6 seconds as Ateneo bigman Justin Chua failed to register two attempts beyond the arc to the delight of thousands of La Salle fans.

La Salle never won a game against Ateneo since the first round of Season 71, which is the prime reason why the Green Archers executed game-changer plays at crunch time to end just that.

“I don’t know what to say. I’m just very happy,” said debuting La Salle mentor Dindo Pumaren.

Pumaren, who took over the coaching chores of La Salle after multi-titled brother Franz capped his mentoring career in 2009, said his wards are hungry for the win.

“It’s been two years and the boys really just fired up,” he said.

Marata finished with 12 points, nine of which came from the outside, four rebounds and two assists while teammate Joshua Webb produced 12 points as well.

“I’m not really a physical player. Ito na yata ang pinaka-physical na game so far at buti na lang ay nalampasan naming ito. After the game talagang naiiyak na ako. I was just fired up lang talaga. I just did my job to lift the spirit of the team,” said Marata, who dedicated the win to his deceased uncle, former PBA player Ricardo “Ric Ric” Marata.

“I really dedicate this win to him because he’s the reason why I learned how to play basketball ang kung bakit ang pamilya na naming ay napasok din sa basketball,” the former UAAP juniors MVP said.

Chua topscored for Ateneo with 16 points and eight rebounds while Eman Monfort added 11 points.

MANILA. La Salle fans jubilate after Green Archers hacked out a come-from-behind victory over Ateneo, 66-63, in the 73rd UAAP basketball at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City. (Virgil Lopez)

As expected, thousands of avid fans trooped to the Big Dome to watch the first match between the archrivals for this season.

Some 16,556 people watched the game based on gate attendance.

Among those sighted in the venue are US Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr., Education Secretary Armin Luistro, telecommunications mogul Manny Pangilinan.

Former cage stars from both schools who are now seeing action in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) were also in attendance -- Ateneo’s LA Tenorio, Nonoy Baclao, Rabeh-al Hussaini, Enrico Villanueva while La Salle was represented by Rico Maierhofer, Mac Cardona, among others.

NU lists second win

In the other contest, former Letran star Glenn Khobuntin shone for National University as he led the Bulldogs to a 70-63 pulsating victory over listless University of the East.

The highly-touted rookie punched in 13 points and five rebounds after seeing action in 20 minutes while veteran forward Melvin Baloran added 11 points to power the Sampaloc-based squad.

“Kailangan namin maging ready lagi kasi di namin alam kung sino ang bubunutin sa bench eh. Ang problema talaga namin ay yung sa end-game. Ang sabi sa amin ni coach hindi na namin sila pagbigyan na makabawi,” said Khobuntin.

UE made a scare in the fourth quarter but NU’s 20-point leverage in the third quarter helped the school to list its second win in four outings.

With the win, NU effectively dismantled the 14-game winning streak of UE, which started to roll over the Bulldogs in a 69-68 squeaker last September 7, 2002.

“I came here to win. I really want to win. During my pep talk, I told my players that we are going up against a championship team. We always have a problem of sustaining the drills in the end game. To be honest, I’m still not that happy. We could have won the game by double digits if not for the mistakes. Good thing that we did well on free throws,” said coach Eric Gonzales.

NU lost to Adamson University in the season opener and to Far Eastern University last week.

The Scores

First Game:

NU (70) - Khobuntin 13, Baloran 11, Mbe 10, Hermosisima 8, Ponferrada 7, Terso 6, Singh 5, Javillonar 3, Malanday 3, Ludovice 2, Magat 2, Tungcul 0.

UE (63)- Martinez 18, Lee 18, Reyes 9, Acibar 7, Duran 5, Zamar 4, Ayala 2, Santos 0, Rosopa 0, Razon 0, Enguio 0, Casajeros 0, Sumido 0, Noble 0.

Quarters: 23-9, 42-27, 56-47, 70-63

Second Game:

La Salle (66)- Webb 12, Marata 12, Atkins 9, Tampus 6, Andrada 6, Dela Paz 5, Tolentino 5, Mendoza 5, Vosotros 3, Villanueva 2, Ferdinand 1, Paredes 0.

Ateneo (63)- Chua 16, Monfort 11, Long 9, Salamt 6, Salva 5, Golla 3, Escueta 2, Dela Cruz 2, Austria 2, Tiongson 0, Gonzaga 0.

Quarters: 14-16, 26-30, 42-46, 66-63. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)