Ateneo nearly suffered a meltdown before escaping with a 62-60 win over University of Perpetual Help System-DALTA Wednesday in the Fil Oil-Flying V Hanes Preseason Cup at The Arena in San Juan.
Greg Slaughter scored two free throws for the four-time defending UAAP titlist with three seconds in the game to sneak a win past the NCAA cellar dwellers last year.
“We weren’t ready and we didn’t play as a team. Perpetual Help played well but it’s a good thing that we came out with the win,” said Ateneo assistant coach Sandy Arespacochaga, who took the cudgels for head coach Norman Black for the second time.
The Blue Eagles improved to a 2-0 win-loss but squandered a 12-point fourth quarter lead as the Altas came out with a furious comeback.
The Altas had a 6-0 run capped by a Chris Elopre three-point play to cut the deficit to one point, 58-57. They had a chance to take a lead but Earl Thompson turned the ball over, leading to a lay-up by Oping Sumalinog with 19.5 seconds left.
Perpetual Help tied the match when Jett Vidal scored a three-pointer with 13.6 seconds remaining, but Slaughter was able to grab an offensive rebound off a miss by Nico Salva and was fouled from behind by Thompson.
Slaughter calmly sank both free throws to take the lead for Ateneo. Perpetual Help had a shot to claim an improbable win but the desperate three by Vidal hit the board.
Nico Salva had 15 points, eight rebounds and four assists while Slaughter added 13 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks for Ateneo, who had a 47-35 lead to open the fourth on a jumper by Justin Chua.
Nigerian Femi Babayemi scored a team-high 12 points and grabbed 15 rebounds for the Altas.
The Adamson Falcons, meanwhile, posted an 80-67 win over the Lyceum Pirates in the first game.
Rodney Brondial had an all-around game with 14 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks for the Falcons to grab a win in their debut.
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