Ateneo de Manila University staved off arch-rival De La Salle University in come-from-behind fashion, 77-72, to register its first win in the UAAP Season 86 Men’s Basketball Tournament at the SM Mall of Asia Arena, Wednesday.
Kevin Quiambao got one triple back for the Green Archers but Kai Ballungay and Jared Brown made a slam dunk and a deuce, respectively, for a seven-point advantage with 1:06 to go, 74-67.
“It was a great rivalry game between two proud universities and obviously we’re delighted we won that. Most importantly, I think we found some fight that was lacking last game,” said Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin.
Mark Nonoy pulled La Salle back within four after his three-pointer with 25.5 seconds remaining before sending Jason Credo to the line.
Credo missed both of his freebies but Josh Lazaro came up with the huge offensive board before making both his free throws, 76-70, with 10.2 ticks left.
Chris Koon top-scored for Ateneo with 19 points and seven rebounds, while Ballungay came up huge with 18 points and 16 rebounds after going field goal-less in their previous game.
Amos scored eight of his 12 points in the fourth frame, while Nigerian big man Joseph Obasa also contributed 11 points, 16 rebounds, and three blocks for the victors.
“We just found the fight in the game. Fighting until the end that’s what we showed today,” said 6-foot-7 rookie Amos, whose team will look for back-to-back wins on Saturday’s quadruple-header at the SMART Araneta Coliseum against Adamson University.
The Blue Eagles evened their record to 1-1, forging an early four-way logjam with the Green Archers, University of the East, and Adamson.
Ateneo will look to build a winning streak on Saturday’s quadruple-header at the SMART Araneta Coliseum when it faces the Soaring Falcons.
Quiambao had 17 points, 14 rebounds, seven assists, and two blocks for the Green Archers.
Evan Nelle added 15 points but had a rough shooting night from the field, going just 4-of-16. Earl Abadam also got 11 points.
La Salle will shoot for its second win when it meets struggling University of Santo Tomas.
Ateneo 77 – Koon 19, Ballungay 18, Amos 12, Obasa 11, Brown 8, Espinosa 5, Lazaro 2, Quitevis 1, Chiu 1, Credo 0, Bongo 0, Nieto 0, Gomez 0.
DLSU 72 – Quiambao 17, Nelle 15, Abadam 11, Nonoy 9, Austria 5, Cortez 4, Manuel 3, Nwankwo 3, B. Phillips 3, M. Phillips 2, David 0, Escandor 0, Gollena 0.
Quarterscores: 25-23, 37-39, 47-54, 77-72.