Ateneo was not able to relinquish its mastery of College of the Philippines (UP) simply but, nor give the Maroons the psychological edge from incomes a primary spherical sweep of the UAAP Season 86 males’s basketball match.
And the extremely anticipated rematch of final season’s championship was good as marketed, with the Blue Eagles needing an additional 5 minutes to mud off the Combating Maroons, 99-89, earlier than a boisterous crowd that crammed Mall of Asia Area on Sunday.
“That is the primary time we’ve received back-to-back this season, and if we are able to’t do extra of that, then this is able to simply be a second as a substitute of perhaps turning a nook,” Ateneo’s Tab Baldwin informed reporters after his Eagles rose to 4-3 to make it inside the highest 4 for the primary time in a protracted whereas.
“Very delighted with the win, it was a personality sport for us. UP is a good staff they usually performed nice.”
However regardless of being the primary staff to pin a loss on the Maroons, Baldwin nonetheless believes that UP is the staff to beat. And being the perfectionist that he’s, the Ateneo mentor needs nothing lower than his Eagles to proceed enjoying with the identical brilliance, the identical resilience, to keep away from one other roller-coaster stretch when the second spherical comes.
Ateneo’s brilliance appears to come back to fore each time it performs massive video games, like in a 77-72 win over bitter rival La Salle a few weeks again.
“To win massive video games you gotta do issues which are form of out of the system,” he mentioned. “Guys must step up and make performs. This sport actually means nothing if we don’t again it up.”
The Eagles have been coming off a 97-77 manhandling of beforehand winless College of Santo Tomas (UST), and Mason Amos was massive as soon as once more for Ateneo, ending with 19 factors and 10 rebounds together with massive pictures within the additional interval.
Francis Lopez was instrumental in UP’s struggle again within the dying seconds of regulation, 80-76, earlier than JD Cagulangan and Reyland Torres necessitated extension at 80-all with big-time buckets.
Chris Koon helped Ateneo with 17 factors and 7 boards, Joe Obasa had 13 factors, eight rebounds and 5 blocks whereas correctly conserving away from a disqualifying foul. Kai Ballungay chipped in with 10 factors and the identical variety of rebounds to spherical out a well-balanced assault by the Eagles.
The Growling Tigers, in the meantime, licked the injuries of that 20-point shellacking to win for the primary time this season, downing Far Jap, 68-62, that snapped the varsity’s longest shedding streak of 19 video games.
“The most effective half for us is that [the players] have felt easy methods to win once more,” Santo Tomas assistant Japs Cuan mentioned in Filipino, taking up for the interview from Pido Jarencio who joined the staff within the dug out instantly. “[But] we informed them that it’s only one sport. “We have to work tougher for the subsequent sport.”
Cuan and the remainder of teaching employees are simply relieved to get the monkey off their backs, particularly with Adama Faye persevering with to sit down it out with a foul again.“We had an excellent begin in our previous six video games solely to fall brief,” Cuan mentioned. “The boys have been locked in, hopefully they may proceed that.”
The final Santo Tomas win got here throughout the opening of Season 85 when it nipped Adamson, 69-60.
That stood as their solely win your complete season, and issues regarded up for the Tigers after a large recruitment frenzy. They’re 1-6 now and with seven extra video games to enhance on final season’s mark.
Not an excuse
However Jarencio and his deputies will not be about to level their fingers at Faye’s absence on their woes.
“Ever since, we didn’t make excuses that Faye is just not right here. We put our belief in our 15 gamers,” added Cuan, who additionally revealed that UST will make an announcement quickly on the standing of Faye.
Faye had performed simply 12 minutes mixed in two video games, and has reportedly gotten a clear invoice of well being from staff medical doctors. He has nonetheless not suited up. Christian Manaytay was the one who stood up on the slot for the Tigers, ending with 10 factors and 11 rebounds.
“I simply crammed that position since we don’t have our import. Our different bigs must step up as nicely. I inform them throughout the observe that we’re the one bigs left and we don’t have anybody to depend on so let’s simply struggle it out,” Manaytay mentioned in Filipino.
“I’m tremendous blissful and a bit overwhelmed as a result of it will give us confidence going to the subsequent spherical. Let’s say we’ll be blissful in the present day and we’re gonna work once more tomorrow,” mentioned Nic Cabanero, who lifted the Growling Tigers with 23 factors, together with 11 within the third interval. INQ