One more win to a first-round sweep.
The Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles sent the National University Bulldogs crashing down to its third-consecutive defeat, 96-83, in a titanic collision the UAAP Season 80 Men’s Basketball Tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, yesterday.
Ateneo pulled away in the payoff period as they clamped down the ballers from Jhocson with tight defense to build a double-digit lead. Go sank a bucket underneath to give the Blue Eagles a 78-68 edge with still 7:27 to go in the game.
The Bulldogs did not want to show signs of giving up as Antonio Joson fed Issa Gaye for a slam to trim the deficit to seven 78-85.
The Katipunan-based crew, however, left no stone unturned. Matt Nieto found Ikeh inside for the deuce to balloon the lead to fourteen, 94-80, with only 50 ticks left as Coach Tab Baldwin and his wards eventually notched their sixth win in as many outings.
The first half saw both teams fighting tooth and nail with each other, exchanging leads in possessions after another, before the Blue Eagles had some stops in the final canto.
Chibueze Ikeh anchored Ateneo’s offense with 18 points on 7/9 shooting clip to go along with 11 rebounds. Vince Tolentino added 14, while the Nieto brothers posted 12 markers apiece.
Jayjay Alejandro paced the Bulldogs with 24 points, three rebounds, and three assists. Joson and Gaye tallied 14 each, with the latter mixing it up with eight boards.
ADMU still holds first place and last night’s win is a good momentum for the Blue Eagles prior to their match-up vs arch-nemesis La Salle.
On the other hand, NU slid down to a 2-4 win-loss card.
ADMU 96 – Ikeh 18, Tolentino 15, Ma. Nieto 12, Mi. Nieto 12, Verano 9, Ravena 8, Asistio 7, Black 4, Go 4, Mendoza 3, White 2, Malilin 1, Mamuyac 0, Tio 0.
NU 83 – Alejandro 24, Joson 14, Gaye 14, Rangel 7, Mosqueda 6, Morido 4, Yu 4, Bartlett 4, Salem 3, Tibayan 3, Diputado 0, Abatayo 0, Aqiono 0, Cauilan 0.
Quarter scores: 21-25, 47-43, 71-65, 96-83.