ANTIPOLO — Ange Kouame steered the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles to their fifth straight victory, taking the 71-50 win over the National University Bulldogs in the UAAP Season 82 Men’s Basketball Tournament Sunday at Ynares Center here.
Last season’s Rookie of the Year was in a league of his own, doing it all for the Blue Eagles with his 15 points, 13 rebounds, seven blocks, three assists, and two steals.
Kouame’s unmatched dominance in the paint allowed Ateneo to seize control of the game with a 41-24 halftime lead.
The Bulldogs still tried to mount a rally, with Shaun Ildefonso chopping the lead down to 12, 49-37, late in the third frame. But the Blue Eagles once again took control with a 21-point fourth quarter finisher to seal the 21-point win.
Ateneo then held a lead as high as 25, 65-40, off of an Adrian Wong banker with four minutes remaining.
Gian Mamuyac chipped in 13 points and three boards, while Thirdy Ravena had eight points and seven rebounds in the victory.
Despite the win, Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin still zoomed in on his side’s shooting. He showed little approval of his side going 40-percent from the floor.
“Our field goal percentage doesn’t flatter our play really, at 40 percent. It’s something we need to continue to work on,” he said.
The defense, however, is something else. Baldwin was happy to see the Blue Eagles’ grit continue on that end.
“Our defense is doing a good job. It’s generating turnovers and converting those into easy points on the fastbreak,” he said.
Dave Ildefonso top-scored for the suffering Bulldogs with 10 points on a 2-of-9 clip from the field. They also remain at the bottom of the barrel at 0-5.
NU will try to break out of their funk when they face the FEU Tamaraws on Wednesday, September 25, at 10:30am. Meanwhile, Ateneo look to keep their streak going against the UE Red Warriors later that day. Both games will be at the MOA Arena.
ADMU 71 — Kouame 15, Mamuyac 13, Ravena 8, Wong 6, Belangel 5, Ma. Nieto 5, Mi. Nieto 5, Andrade 3, Tio 3, Chiu 2, Credo 2, Daves 2, Maagdenberg 2, Go 0, Mallillin 0, Navarro 0.
NU 50 — D. Ildefonso 10, S. Ildefonso 9, Gaye 8, Clemente 5, Galinato 5, Yu 4, Minerva 3, Joson 2, Mangayao 2, Mosqueda 2, Diputado 0, Gallego 0, Malonzo 0, Oczon 0, Rangel 0, Tibayan 0.
Quarterscores: 20-11, 41-24, 50-37, 71-50.