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UAAP 84: Kouame, Ateneo show heart of a champion, force winner-take-all vs UP


With its back against the wall, Ateneo de Manila University rose against adversity.

The Blue Eagles kept their four-peat hopes alive after escaping another furious University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons comeback, taking a 69-66 victory to force a Game Three in the UAAP Season 84 Men’s Basketball Tournament, Wednesday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

Angelo Kouame, who was hailed as the tournament Most Valuable Player early in the day, produced 14 points, 14 rebounds, and eight blocks — helping Ateneo overcome the stinging 81-74 overtime loss it received in Game One last Sunday.

“This finals series feels like that La Salle series. I think UP brings really, really high-quality basketball in this series,” said Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin. “The loss in game one, in a way it’s a blessing. We fail in life and I think our team, we looked at that as an opportunity to grow.”

Up by 15 early in the contest, Ateneo saw its lead dwindle down, largely part to UP’s young bull Carl Tamayo.UAAP-84-MBB-ADMU-vs.-UP-Finals-G2-Carl-Tamayo-3174 UAAP 84: Kouame, Ateneo show heart of a champion, force winner-take-all vs UP ADMU Basketball News UAAP UP  - philippine sports news

Down 51-53 midway through the contest, the 21-year-old Cebuano, who was crowned as the league’s top rookie, buried a corner triple to give the Fighting Maroons their first taste of the lead.

However, it was the only time they were in front. Still, there were a lot of tense moments in the endgame.

Tied at 61-all after a Kouame split from the stripe, the 6-foot-11 naturalized Filipino cleaned up his own mess before throwing a jam.

Inexperience under the bright lights then got the better of the Fighting Maroons.

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A UP turnover off a timeout led to an SJ Belangel breakaway. Later on, James Spencer did a lackadaisical pass that led to a Gian Mamuyac layup with 48.9 ticks remaining to put Ateneo up by six, 69-63.

Ricci Rivero tried to will UP back. However, after an Ateneo miss, the former Mythical Team burned too much clock and was forced to split his free throws with 6.7 seconds remaining.UAAP-84-MBB-ADMU-vs.-UP-Finals-G2-Ricci-Rivero-3140 UAAP 84: Kouame, Ateneo show heart of a champion, force winner-take-all vs UP ADMU Basketball News UAAP UP  - philippine sports news

It was over by there as Ateneo and UP head to a Game Three.

“I think game three is potentially an epic game,” hyped Baldwin about the first winner-take-all finals in the league since Season 80 will be played on Friday, May 13 at 6:00PM.

Tyler Tio and Dave Ildefonso bounced back in the game as well.UAAP-84-Mens-Basketball-UP-vs-Ateneo-Dave-Ildefonso-3-scaled UAAP 84: Kouame, Ateneo show heart of a champion, force winner-take-all vs UP ADMU Basketball News UAAP UP  - philippine sports news

Tio, who was scoreless in Game One, finished with 14 points while Ildefonso, who only had six last Sunday, got 10 points and eight rebounds.

Mamuyac also flashed his brilliance with a line of seven points, two steals, two rebounds, two steals, and an assist while Joshua Lazaro and Raffy Verano gobbled down six rebounds apiece.

Meanwhile, Tamayo led UP with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Rivero also got 18 points but went just 7-of-19 from the field with five turnovers.

Malick Diouf supported Tamayo with 13 rebounds, eight points, and two blocks.

Zavier Lucero was held down to just eight points on eight attempts with three errors.

The Scores:

Ateneo 69 — Kouame 14, Tio 14, Ildefonso 10, Mamuyac 7, Belangel 6, Koon 6, Verano 4, Lazaro 3, Andrade 3, Chiu 2, Daves 0.

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UP 66 — Tamayo 18, Rivero 16, Cagulangan 8, Lucero 8, Diouf 8, Alarcon 5, Spencer 3, Fortea 0, Abadiano 0, Lina 0.

Quarterscores: 17-16, 37-28, 49-45, 69-66.

All UAAP games stream live on GigaPlay presented by Yamaha. Download it now on Android or IOS.SMART-x-Yamaha UAAP 84: Kouame, Ateneo show heart of a champion, force winner-take-all vs UP ADMU Basketball News UAAP UP  - philippine sports news

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