The De La Salle Green Archers won the battle of nerves against rival Ateneo Blue Eagles 70-69, thus assuring itself of a twice-to-beat advantage in the UAAP stepladder phase. Just to show you how tight the game was, score was dead even 10 times and there were 13 lead changes.
The Ateneo Blue Eagles are still from their loss to the lowly National University last Saturday. A win could have given them the outright number 2 spot but it wasn’t meant to be.
Forward Cholo Villanueva pushed La Salle to a 70-67 lead with 9.3 seconds left on the clock and the Blue Eagles, with no timeout left, settled for a two-pointer instead of a game-tying three to virtually hand the game to the Green Archers.
Jai Reyes went for a triple but was covered and was forced to pass off to Zion Laterre who instead took a 15-footer with just a second left on the game clock.
The victory over the Blue Eagles was the only Green Archers’ first in three meetings with Ateneo but they gained the all-important win which could push themselves in the UAAP finals.
The loss means that Ateneo has to win three straight games in order to arrange a title duel with the undefeated University of the East. The Blue Eagles need to win over UST this Sunday for the right to face the De La Salle Green Archers.