The Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) Blue Eagles kept their sweep aspirations alive, routing the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons, 73-58, to remain undefeated in Season 74 of the UAAP.
With the victory, the Blue Eagles kept their record spotless at 12-0, while UP is tied with the University of the East (UE) at the bottom of the standings with identical 2-10 slates.
Ateneo also clinched the number one seed in the standings.
It was not an easy victory for the Eagles, however, as they only found their offensive groove in the 4th quarter after committing an uncharacteristic 22 turnovers.
Greg Slaughter had a double-double effort of 18 points and 18 boards, but he had to bleed for his points as the UP defenders constantly swarmed him.
Slaughter was forced to earn most of his points from the free-throw line, where he finished 12-of-17.
With the Maroons ganging up on Slaughter inside the paint, it was Ateneo role players Nico Salva and Justin Chua who helped the Blue Eagles pull away in the fourth quarter.
Chua and Salva put together a 12-2 run in the final period that put the game out of reach at 66-49.
But the Maroons gave the defending champions all they can handle, especially in the first half.
The opening period saw the Maroons establish a 10-5 lead, as the Blue Eagles seemed confused without point guard Emman Monfort, who was forced to sit down due to 2 early fouls.
Chua and Tonino Gonzaga gave Ateneo some lift off the bench, but the Maroons once again took the lead in the 2nd period.
Mike Silungan made a 3-pointer that gave the Maroons a 6-point lead at 28-22, prompting Ateneo coach Norman Black to call a timeout.
The Blue Eagles then responded with a 10-0 run to end the period, allowing them to go into half-time with a 32-28 advantage.
The Maroons continued to threaten in the 3rd quarter, with Mark Juruena canning a 3-pointer that allowed UP to go into the final period down only by 7 points, 52-45.
Unfortunately for UP, they were unable to put together a significant run in the fourth quarter, allowing Ateneo to come away with the victory.
Adding to the Maroons' woes was a technical foul called on their coach, Ricky Dandan, with 1:55 left in the game.
Because of the technical on Dandan, Ateneo was able to string together a 7-0 spurt capped by a Juami Tiongson trifecta, which gave them their biggest lead of the game, 73-49.
Salva finished with 16 points for Ateneo, while Chua had 11 markers.
Silungan led the Maroons with 16 points, but he once again struggled from the field and made only 2 of 8 attempts from beyond the arc.