MANILA -- Eman Monfort dished out a career-high 23 points, highlighted by a 50-percent clip outside the rainbow country to lift Ateneo against winless University of the Philippines, 75-59, at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

The Bacolod standout architected the Blue Eagles by knocking in six rebounds, five assists and four steals to his name and hand Ateneo its four-game winning streak after bowing out to arch nemesis La Salle last July 24.

Ateneo was down by five points in the opening minutes but the defending champions never allowed UP to widen the gap after Monfort drained 14 markers in the second canto while bigman Justin Chua sizzled with eight points in the first.

The Blue Eagles continued its scoring rampage in the second half, with the triumvirate of rookies Art dela Cruz, skipper Eric Salamat and 2008 top rookie Ryan Buenafe scoring 10 of Ateneo’s 18-point haul in the payoff period to move away, 73-51, with 1:37 left.

“It’s still a long way to go, the goal is to try to get to the top 2, so we still have Adamson or FEU who are either behind or ahead of us. We still have a lot of work to do,” said mentor Norman Black.

UP co-skipper Martin Reyes paced the losing effort of the Diliman-based squad with 15 points, seven rebounds and three assists while team captain Woody Co punched in 13 markers.

The Boyet Fernandez-coached Maroons remained the weeping boys of the league at 0-8 while Ateneo shared second place honors with Adamson at 6-2. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)