The Ateneo de Manila University solved the puzzle of the University of the East in the third quarter, taking the 85-68 victory Wednesday in the UAAP Season 82 Men’s Basketball Tournament at Mall of Asia Arena.
Ange Kouame uncorked 16 points, 12 rebounds, three blocks, and two assists as he led the Blue Eagles’ huge third quarter attack that turned a 35-34 deficit to a commanding 69-50 lead heading into the payoff period.
Ateneo were actually trailing, 35-32 late in the second frame. They then made a 23-5 run, capped off by an Adrian Wong trey that gave them a 57-40 edge midway through the third quarter.
“I was pretty happy with the third quarter. Ultimately, we got the win,” said coach Tab Baldwin before giving props to UE. “They took notes watching us play. They used some counters on some of our defensive plays, particularly in the first half and I was a little bit annoyed with the team. We shouldn’t need timeouts and we shouldn’t need halftime to fix those things.
“We should anticipate them, we should expect that. For whatever reason, our first half was something we need to learn on.”
Wong delivered 11 points on 3-of-8 shooting from threes. Meanwhile, Thirdy Ravena added 15 points, five rebounds, four assists, two blocks, and a steal to hike Ateneo’s record to 6-0 and near a first round sweep.
Rey Suerte poured 15 points, six rebounds, six assists, and three rejections to carry the load for UE (1-5).
Up next for Ateneo are the UP Fighting Maroons, in the rematch of last year’s Finals set on Sunday at Smart Araneta Coliseum. Meanwhile, UE will try to overcome the NU Bulldogs earlier on the same day at 2:00pm.
ADMU 85 — Kouame 16, Ravena 15, Wong 11, Navarro 9, Belangel 6, Go 6, Mamuyac 6, Tio 5, Maagdenberg 4, Chiu 3, Ma. Nieto 2, Mi. Nieto 2, Andrade 0, Credo 0, Daves 0, Mallillin 0.
UE 68 — Suerte 15, Conner 9, Tolentino 9, Diakhite 8, Abanto 6, Cruz 6, Camacho 5, Mendoza 5, Pagsanjan 5, Antiporda 0, Beltran 0.
Quarterscores: 11-15, 34-35, 69-50, 85-68.