Eagles survive gutsy Archers in overtime.
MANILA, Philippines - Ateneo overcame an 11-point deficit, bucked the loss of main man Rabeh Al-Hussaini and survived a gritty La Salle side that kept on coming back to fashion out a 76-72 overtime victory and remain tied with Far Eastern U at the helm in the UAAP seniors basketball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum last night.
The Eagles toughened up on defense in the third quarter to stymie the inspired Archers and erase a 36-47 deficit, then outsteadied their arch rivals in the extra period to complete the come-from-behind victory, their sixth against a loss, in the game held to honor the late President Cory Aquino.
“Luckily the players answered the call at halftime. We came out in the second half and played better defense. In the first half we gave up too many points and I think they were shooting 50 percent on the floor which is pretty unusual,” said Ateneo coach Norman Black.
“But I challenged the players at halftime that if they want to really win the game, they would have to come up and play defense in the third quarter and they were able to hold La Salle to 10 points.
“I think that gave us the opportunity to win back the game,” he said.
Earlier, the Tams beat the UE Warriors via the same score, 76-72, to likewise improve to 6-1.
La Salle and UE dropped to 4-3.
Al-Hussaini, Ateneo’s tower of strength, sprained his left ankle with less than six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and never returned after scoring 13 points.