by Anton E. Mercado • Published April 12, 2022 at 10:17 PM
Photo by Nate Bosano
THE RIVALS did not disappoint as the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 84 Men’s Basketball Tournament’s largest crowd so far cheered on the battle between the Ateneo Blue Eagles and the De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Archers earlier today at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena.
It was a back and forth game through the first half, but the Blue Eagles erased all doubt as they took command of the third and fourth quarters to seal a victorious first game win for the second round, 75-68. The win improves Ateneo’s record to 8-0 in UAAP Season 84.
It was a tit-for-tat affair to start the rivalry matchup between the Blue Eagles and the Green Archers, with both teams countering each other’s baskets to keep this game close. SJ Belangel led the way for the boys in blue with six points to start the game. A flurry of threes to start the game looked like a potential high-scoring battle, but both teams settled down on defense to keep the score at 21-18 in favor of the reigning champions by the end of the first quarter.
Mark Nonoy and Evan Nelle made big time plays to give La Salle the lead midway through the second frame. Ateneo, however, had an answer through energizing plays from Chris Koon and Dave Ildefonso, regaining some momentum heading into the break. The Blue Eagles led 35-32 at halftime.
It was more of the same to begin the third quarter, with DLSU retaining the lead thanks to Nelle’s ability of getting baskets inside. The Katipunan-based squad once again answered, keeping the boys from Taft on their heels, as DLSU was unable to increase their lead by more than one.
Coach Tab Baldwin’s team capitalized on their strong defense by going on a 12-0 run thanks to BJ Andrade’s hot shooting from deep, hitting two threes. Belangel joined the party as well, extending his team’s lead to double-digits. Ateneo maintained their lead throughout the third, with a 60-47 advantage entering the fourth after leading by as much as 18.
Derrick Pumaren’s team failed to muster up consecutive stops on the defensive end of cutting the Blue Eagles’ lead down. The double-digit Ateneo advantage was still intact midway through the final frame thanks to Gian Mamuyac’s two-way play that kept the Green Archers at bay. It was too little too late in the end for DLSU, as their last minute burst was not enough to upset Ateneo.
Mamuyac’s heroics and Belangel’s best game of the season ultimately spelled trouble for the Green Archers, as the two Blue Eagles led the team in scoring for Ateneo. Ildefonso contributed in other ways with nine assists to go along with his nine points.
In a gallant effort, Lojera and Nelle led the Archers with 21 and 20 points, respectively.
After this convincing victory to begin the second round, the Ateneo Blue Eagles hope to continue the trend when they take on the University of the East Red Warriors next Tuesday, April 19, 4:30 PM at the MOA Arena.
Belangel – 15, Mamuyac – 15, Ildefonso – 9, Andrade – 9, Kouame – 7, Tio – 6, Verano – 4, Koon – 4, Daves – 4, Chiu – 2, Lazaro – 0, Mendoza – 0
Lojera – 21, Nelle – 20, Winston – 10, Baltazar – 10, Philips, M. – 3, Nonoy – 3, Manuel – 1, Philips, B. – 0, Cuajao – 0, Nwankwo – 0
ADMU-DLSU: 21-18, 35-32, 60-47, 75-68