Blue Eagles end UP’s magical run to hoist 2nd straight UAAP title
The Cinderella run of University of the Philippines has come to an end.
Ateneo De Manila University wasted no time in Game 2 of the Final, as they swept the UP Fighting Maroons, 99-81, to claim their second straight title in the UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball tournament at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday, December 5.
The only time that UP got the lead was when Paul Desiderio opened the game with a three-pointer, 3-0.
From then on, Ateneo dictated the pace of the game, and their momentum started when reserve guard SJ Belangel scored four of the team’s 10-0 run late in the first period and entering the second quarter, 28-13.
Ateneo maintained their double-digit lead for the whole game, and would never look back, as thet proved that their championship pedigree would bring them to their back-to-back championships.
The Blue Eagles also claimed their 10th overall championship in men’s basketball.
Season 81 Finals MVP Thirdy Ravena registered career-high 38 points on 13-of-18 shooting, while Angelo Kouame had a double-double of 22 points and 20 rebounds.
Anton Asistio, who had six points in the game, played his final year with Ateneo.
For UP, Juan Gomez De Liaño led his team with 24 points and seven rebounds.
Reigning MVP Bright Akhuetie registered 19 points and eight rebounds while the graduating Desiderio had 15 markers.
Desiderio will leave the UP Fighting Maroons with pride and glory together with Jarrell Lim, Gelo Vito, Diego Dario, and JJ Espanola.
All is not lost for the Fighting Maroons, as their historic run will be remembered in UAAP history, since they outlasted La Salle and Adamson respectively to enter the Finals for the first time in 32 years.