Ateneo de Manila University is into the UAAP Season 82 Men’s Basketball Finals, romping University of the Philippines, 86-64, Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena to complete the 14-0 eliminations sweep.
SJ Belangel charged the Blue Eagles’ superb 19-2 rally in the second quarter, turning a 25-24 deficit to a 43-27 lead with 1:18 left.
It was all Ateneo from there, going on a 53-percent field goal shooting. The Blue Eagles even held leads as high as 24 points in the second half.
Belangel, the superb sophomore, uncorked 14 points, three rebounds, and two assists to pull the Blue Eagles closer to their three-peat dream after securing this fourth straight Finals appearance.
“We understand that this is a significant accomplishment for a basketball team in a season. As you all know, the job isn’t done. This is the season before the season,” said coach Tab Baldwin.
Ange Kouame topped Ateneo with 20 points, 12 rebounds, five rejections, two assists, and one steal. Will Navarro poured 13 points, two boards, two dimes, and two steals. Meanwhile, Thirdy Ravena gathered 11 points, five assists, four boards, and three steals.
Ateneo pick up its 24th straight win dating back to last season.
The Blue Eagles became only the third team to achieve the eliminations sweep in the Final Four era, and the first since UE completed the romp back in 2007.
On the other hand, Kobe Paras led UP with 13 points, seven rebounds, two assists, and two blocks in the loss. Bright Akhuetie and Javi Gomez de Liano both scored 11.
The Fighting Maroons still own a twice-to-beat advantage in the stepladder semis as the no. 2 seed with its 9-5 card.
ADMU 86 –– Kouame 20, Belangel 14, Navarro 13, Ravena 11, Go 7, Ma. Nieto 7, Mamuyac 5, Tio 4, Maagdenberg 3, Mi. Nieto 2, Andrade 0, Chiu 0, Daves 0, Mallillin 0, Wong 0.
UP 64 — Paras 13, Akhuetie 11, Ja. Gomez de Liano 11, Ju. Gomez de Liano 9, Tungcab 5, Jaboneta 4, Rivero 4, Manzo 2, Murrell 2, Webb 2, Mantilla 1, Prado 0, Spencer 0.
Quarterscores: 20-21, 45-32, 65-44, 86-64.