, August 28, 2005
(STAR) By Joey Villar - Ateneo dug deep into its reservoir of strength as it shackled University of the East, 75-69, yesterday and moved up to second in the team standings of the 68th UAAP basketball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum.

Looking spent after a hard-fought 67-57 win over the UP Maroons Thursday, the Blue Eagles got the needed lift from the seasoned duo of JC Intal and LA Tenorio.

Intal and Tenorio bucked early foul trouble by unleashing superb efforts in the second half as Ateneo sealed a seventh straight win and eighth in 10 outings to inch closer to leader Far Eastern U (8-1).

The win also pushed Ateneo closer to the Final Four.

"I was a bit worried that we spent too much energy against UP," said Ateneo coach Norman Black. "But we started well, the second team stepped up again and we played really good defense the whole game."

It was, however, sophomore Japeth Aguilar who energized the Eagles in the first half, scoring nine of his 11 points in that period.

Then came Intal, who piled six points that triggered another furious run and enabled the Katipunan-based dribblers to erect a 44-26 third-quarter lead, their biggest in the game.

It was UE’s third loss in 11 games.

Earlier, Warren Dizon bucked an ailment, sizzling down the stretch as Santo Tomas pulled off a come-from-behind 65-62 win over Adamson to keep its flickering semis hopes alive.

Though having just checked out of the hospital after being confined for two days for an intestinal flu, De Guzman played the hero’s role for the Tigers, firing nine of his 15 points in the final period.

"I should give the credit to Warren. He really gave everything in him despite playing sick," said coach Nel Prado, whose Tigers caught up with the Falcons at 3-8.

"Although we don’t have full control of our fate anymore, at least we’re still in the running for the Final Four," Prado added.

The Warriors tried to mount a comeback several times, cutting the deficit to a single digit at times. But Intal and Tenorio, who scored eight of his 14 points in the fourth quarter, were there to crush the rally.

The win also proved to be a perfect a gift to Macky Escalona, who celebrated his 21st birthday yesterday.

Escalona, who had a career-high 19 points against UP, only had four points but dished out a game-high 10 assists on top of five rebounds.

Elmer Espiritu and Marcy Arellano paced the Warriors with 13 points apiece but couldn’t get enough contribution from Mark Borboran and Bon Bon Custodio, who combined for only11 points.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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