The Ateneo de Manila University rode their superb second quarter to trip fierce rivals De La Salle University Green Archers, 81-69, and stay unscathed in the UAAP Season 82 Men’s Basketball Tournament Sunday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Seniors Mike and Matt Nieto were instrumental in the Blue Eagles breaking the dam. They powered a 28-point second quarter that gave the boys from Katipunan a 51-29 halftime lead from tight two-point advantage, 30-28.
Mike led Ateneo with 18 points, five rebounds, four assists, and two steals. Meanwhile, twin brother Matt added 15 points and three boards for the 2-0 Ateneo.
Gian Mamuyac also made his presence felt late, fending off La Salle after they got within eight in the payoff period. He buried timely buckets in the last three minutes, before finishing with a career-best 14 points. He also had four rebounds, two assists, and two steals.
“I think that break we had at the end of the second quarter was a surprise to us, and it was a surprise for them. And in the end, it was the cushion I think that we depended on in the second half,” said coach Tab Baldwin.
Ivorian center Ange Kouame was also happy to do the dirty work on the defensive end. He finished with 19 rebounds and five blocks that overshadowed his measly six points.
“This is a typical Ateneo-La Salle game. It was tough every step of the way,” sighed Baldwin, whose wards join UST atop the standings at 2-0 before their face-off on Wednesday.
Jamie Orme-Malonzo led the Green Archers with 18 points, 10 rebounds, and two assists, highlighted by his slam dunk over Thirdy Ravena in the first quarter.
Andrei Caracut contributed 14 points on 3-of-6 shooting from threes. Justine Baltazar tallied a double-double with his 10 points, 12 rebounds, and two blocks.
Ateneo look to keep their momentum against the red-hot University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers on Wednesday, September 11, at 10:30am. Meanwhile, La Salle play the game immediately after, against the National University Bulldogs. Both games are still at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
ADMU 81 — Mi. Nieto 18, Ma. Nieto 15, Mamuyac 14, Navarro 8, Andrade 6, Kouame 6, Ravena 6, Tio 4, Belangel 2, Go 2, Daves 0, Maagdenberg 0.
DLSU 69 — Malonzo 18, Caracut 14, Baltazar 10, Serrano 8, Melecio 7, Lojera 6, Manuel 6, Bartlett 0, Bates 0, Cagulangan 0, Cu 0, Hill 0, Meeker 0, Pado 0.
Quarterscores: 23-21, 51-29, 66-50, 81-69.