MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The all-collegiate Philippine-Ateneo Blue Eagles stunned national team Chinese Taipei-Blue, 77-76, to stay in the running for a podium finish in the 40th William Jones Cup in New Taipei City, Saturday, July 21.
Thirdy Ravena got called for a reach-in foul on Chen Ying-Chun on Chinese Taipei’s final possession, who sank the go-ahead free-throws that gave the host team a 76-74 lead with 3.1 seconds left in regulation.
But Matt Nieto – off Ateneo's final timeout – was left wide open for the cold-blooded game-winning triple that sealed the deal with 0.2 left.
Nieto led the balanced Blue Eagle attack with 13 points and two assists. Rookie William Navarro followed up his strong showing against Lithuania with 11 points, 9 rebounds, one steal and a block in 19 minutes off the bench.
Philippines-Ateneo remained at 4th place with a 5-2 record behind Canada, Iran and South Korea, which are locked in a 3-way tie at 6-1. Chinese Taipei-Blue slipped to 5th at 4-3.
If the Blue Eagles win on Sunday, July 22, against Iran, they are guaranteed the 3rd place podium no matter what happens to Canada and South Korea.
An Ateneo win coupled with losses by Canada and South Korea would still keep the Blue Eagles at 3rd place despite a 3-way tie at 6-2 since both teams won over the Blue Eagles.
Chun Ying-Chun ran off for the steal and score to put Chinese Taipei up one, 70-69, at the 2:47 mark of the 4th quarter. On the other end, however, Navarro was left wide open in the corner and promptly sank the go-ahead triple for the Blue Eagles, 72-70.
Chinese Taipei then slowed the pace down, fished some fouls and made 4 straight free-throws, 74-72. They then couldn’t convert off the timeout as Ravena tipped the ball to a streaking Gian Mamuyac for the wide-open layup, 74-all.
A reinvigorated Chinese Taipei-Blue orchestrated a 12-3 run to begin the second half, 47-41, which was broken by an Angelo Kouame two-hand flush off a Mamuyac feed midway through the 3rd.
Turnovers repeatedly hounded the Blue Eagles, but veteran sniper Anton Asistio fired off two straight long bombs to seize back the lead, 57-56, at the end of the period. Ateneo-PH, however, recorded 8 giveaways in this quarter alone, compared to just 10 in the entire game against Lithuania.
These back and forth attacks also characterized the first two quarters, where Ateneo-PH came out on top against Chinese Taipei’s best ballers, 36-35, at the half, and tied 18-all after the first.
Liu Cheng paced the Chinese Taipei nationals with 24 points on a 9-of-14 (64%) shooting with 10 boards to complete the double-double. Ying-Chun chipped in 17 points, 5 boards and 5 assists in the stunning loss.
PH-Ateneo (77) – Nieto, Ma. 13, Navarro 11, Kouame 8, Tio 8, Ravena 7, Mamuyac 7, Wong 6, Verano 6, Nieto, Mi. 4, Go 4, Maagdenberg 3, Mendoza 0
Chinese Taipei-Blue (76) – Cheng 24, Ying-Chun 17, Yi-Hsiang 12, Long-Mao 9, Po-Chen 6, Guan-Quan 6, Douglas 2, Chun-Yen 0, Yu-An 0, Zhi-Wei 0, Huang 0
Quarter scores: 18-18, 36-35, 57-56, 77-76