ATENEO FENDS OFF A SURGE FOR AN OPENING VICTORY AGAINST UP IN UAAP SEASON 84
The Ateneo Blue Eagles were off to defend their title as they defeated the UP Fighting Maroons, 90-81, to begin their journey in the UAAP Season 84 men's basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday.
SJ Belangel started the game with two free throws in the first quarter, and with no surprise, led the Blue Eagles to the victory as he delivered 10 points.
UP’s Ricci Rivero immediately answered back with a three from the dip, from which the team never got the chance to score again as Ateneo made an 11-0 run, and led the Maroons to call the first timeout.
Ateneo easily ended the first quarter with a 26-18 lead, and after a long two from Tyler Tio, the second frame ended, still in favor of Ateneo with a 46-35 lead.
As UP adapted to the strategies of Ateneo, the Fighting Maroons tried to close the gap to 46-41 in the third quarter, but Ateneo did not falter and made a decisive 19-5 run, ending with an Angelo Kouame putback layup at the 3:37 mark for the 65-46 separation.
Although the Maroons got within a single-digit deficit, 78-85 in the fourth frame, following Zavier Lucero’s free throws, they did not have ample time to recover as Belangel fired back-to-back open three and a two for the 90-79 lead.
With 1:37 left, Lucero gave the ball away which gave the victory to Ateneo.
The successful start of the Blue Eagles was led by transferee Dave Ildefonso as he marked a team-high 19 points on 7-of-14 shooting plus six rebounds, Raffy Verano’s 18 markers and five boards, while Kouame scored 11 points and 13 rebounds.
“Obviously we’re delighted to get a win in that game. We went into it not knowing how well perform and how well UP will perform, so we’re delighted with the win,” said coach Tab Baldwin.
ADMU 90 – Ildefonso 19, Verano 18, Kouame 11, Belangel 10, Mamuyac 9, Mendoza 6, Tio 5, Chiu 4, Daves 4, Koon 2, Lazaro 2, Andrade 0, Mallillin 0, Gomez 0.
UP 81 – Cansino 21, Diouf 15, Tamayo 13, Rivero 11, Fortea 4, Cagulangan 4, Spencer 4, Lucero 2, Catapusan 2, Abadiano 2, Webb 2, Alarcon 0.
Quarters: 26-18, 46-35, 71-54, 90-81.