Ateneo Blue Eagles edge Tamaraws, clinched 3-peat

THE Ateneo Blue Eagles booked a piece of history in collegiate basketball, pulling off a come-from-behind, 65-62, win over the Far Eastern U Tamaraws yesterday to clinch its third straight title in the UAAP men’s basketball championship.
Norman Black, the charismatic Ateneo mentor, accomplished his second Triple Crown as the man dubbed ‘Mr. One Hundred Percent’ during his playing years also accomplished the feat as coach of the San Miguel Beer in 1989 PBA season.

Meantime, in NCAA action, Jose Rizal outlasted Mapua, 83-78, yesterday to remain in contention for the last Final Four berth in the juniors’ division of the 86th NCAA basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.

Cris dela Paz fired 21 points while Kevin Oliveria and Jerome Garcia scattered 20 points apiece to help send the Light Bombers in a three-way tie with the St. Benilde Junior Blazers and Letran Squires on 9-7 (win-loss) slate.

Jose Rizal and Letran, however, drew the lowest quotient scores and would fight it out in a knockout match at 10 a.m. tomorrow with the winner battling it out with CSB, which emerged with the highest tiebreaker, on Monday in a another no-tomorrow contest for the fourth and last slot in the Final Four.

In the other game, San Sebastian pulled the rug from under defending champion San Beda to eke out a 76-75 win in overtime in what could be a sneak preview of this year’s finale.

Gino Juma-as unleashed a game-high 31-point effort he spiked with nine rebounds, five assists and four steals while Aldwin Vitug connected on five booming triples to end up with 15 points as the Junior Stags wound up at No. 2 with a 12-4 card.

MVP race leader Baser Amer caught fire late in the game as he poured in 17 of his 21 points in the second half of regulation but he was bothered by San Sebastian’s stinging defense all game long and turned the ball a season worst 13 times.

The Cubs absorbed only their second loss against 14 victories but still finished atop the field.

No. 1 San Beda will take on the winner among CSB, Letran and Jose Rizal while No. 2 San Sebastian dukes it out with No. 3 Perpetual Help (10-6) needing just a win to arrange a best-of-three title showdown.

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