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Mendoza heats up late in Ateneo’s QF clinching win over Mapua


Former UAAP Juniors Finals Most Valuable Player Jolo Mendoza finally showed that he can compete with the big boys of the seniors division.

Mendoza scored 11 points and dished out a crucial assist in the last four minutes of the ball game that turned a close game into a blowout as the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles pushed back the Mapua Institute of Technology Cardinals, 90-77, Thursday evening at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.

Aaron Black led the Blue Eagles with 18 points on 7-for-10 shooting, seven rebounds, and three assists. Thirdy Ravena added 11 markers. However, it was Jolo Mendoza who made the big baskets in the game in scoring all of his 11 points, two from downtown, in the game.

“We think highly of Jolo,” Ateneo head coach Sandy Arespacochaga said about the team’s rookie. “We don’t know if he’ll have a great year for us or he’ll take some time like some of other players but there’s no question with the talent and the ability of Jolo.”

“He also has the desire to continue to improve.”

With Mapua holding a 63-62 lead entering the final frame, the Blue Eagles unleashed a 9-0 blast to start the quarter sparked by a G-Boy Babilonia basket and capped by an Aaron Black bucket for an eight-point cushion with 6:43 remaining in the game. Andrew Estrella then led the Cardinals rally in a 9-2 run of their own cut the lead to just a solitary point, 75-74, with 4:33 left in the ball game.

Needing to stop the bleeding, Mendoza led the Eagles offense. An excellent outlet by the rookie to Adrian Wong was answered by Serrano’s charities. The sharpshooter tried to answer right back with a triple but badly missed. Fortunately for him, he was able to secure the long rebound and was able to knockdown a triple for an 82-76 lead.

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A split by the returning Allwell Oraeme resulted to a dish out by Thirdy Ravena to a wide-open Mendoza. With 47 ticks remaining, a costly foul by Menina on a three-point attempt by Mendoza sealed the game for the Blue Eagles.

“Offensively we wanted to see more passes, more recognition, for example we got good looks for Jolo,” the Blue Eagle mentor added. “That’s recognition from his teammates, and they recognize the talent that Jolo has.”

In his return, Allwell Oraeme notched a double-double with 13 points and 17 rebounds. Carlos Isit and Justin Serrano added 13 points for the already eliminated Cardinals.

Ateneo (A, 4-2) look to build on this win as they face old rivals San Beda (A, 5-1) on Sunday, June 5 at 11:15 am. Mapua will finish their Premier Cup stint with a 1-6 slate.

The Scores:

ADMU (90) – Black 18, Ravena 11, Mendoza 11, Nieto Mi. 10, Tolentino 7, Porter 6, Wong 5, Nieto Ma. 5, Ikeh 4, Babilonia 4, io 4, Go 2, Banzon 2, Allmond 1.

MIT (77) – Oraeme 13, Isit 13, Serrano 13, Estrella 12, Biteng 10, Orquina 8, Menina 2, Bunag 2, Aguirre 2, Dela Cruz 2, Victoria 0, Dela Rosa 0.

Quarterscores: 21-16, 38-40, 62-63, 90-77.

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