Eighty-one days after Ateneo and University of Santo Tomas last faced off, there is still no love lost between the two squads.
In a highly-physical game during the second game day of the 2019 PCCL: UAAP-NCAA Challenge, defending UAAP champions Blue Eagles needed a late surge to fend off the Growling Tigers, 82-71, Sunday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
Once again, SJ Belangel led Ateneo’s offense, finishing with 26 points built on six triples.
“This is a guy out there who’s doing his job. It’s not a question of him playing to replace anybody. SJ had a hard time with Mark in front of him but he is a very good shooter. He has to work on things defensively, just like our whole team,” said Blue Eagles head coach Tab Baldwin.
Though it was a wire-to-wire win for Ateneo, the Blue Eagles had to scratch and claw their way to go to 2-0 in the tournament and advance to the Final Four.
Up by just a solitary point entering the final frame, Ange Kouame, Troy Mallillin, Geo Chiu, Gian Mamuyac, and Belangel did it on both ends, limiting the Growling Tigers to just six points to break away.
“Tough game. Rough game. I think it’s two pretty good teams out there who are not in mid-season form. When we have these competitions, it’s important that people that create this tournament controls the game,” lamented Baldwin.
Kouame had 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting and 13 boards, while Mallillin added seven points and six boards. Chiu was also solid in 11 minutes of play, finishing with seven rebounds and five points.
On the other hand, Rhenz Abando paced UST with 14 points on 3-of-12 shooting. Deo Cuajao had 14 markers as well, spiked by four triples.
Soulemane Chabi Yo and CJ Cansino struggled in the contest, with the former being limited to just five points and six boards. Meanwhile, the latter only had 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting.
UST went down to 1-1 to tie San Beda.
ADMU 82 — Belangel 26, Kouame 15, D. Ramos 8, Daves 7, Mallillin 6, Chiu 5, Tio 4, Navarro 4, E. Ramos 4, Mamuyac 1, P. Maagdenberg 1, E. Maagdenberg 1, Credo 0.
UST 71 — Cuajao 14, Abando 14, Cansino 10, Nonoy 9, Concepcion 8, Chabi Yo 5, Manalang 3, Ando 2, Manaytay 2, Paraiso 2, Bataller 2, Garing 0.
Quarterscores: 29-15, 48-38, 66-65, 82-71.