Sat. May 25th, 2024

Ateneo’s Kai Ballungay towards UE defenders within the UAAP Season 86 males’s basketball match. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.internet

Ateneo and College of the Philippines (UP) confirmed poise and character befitting tags as UAAP title favorites on Wednesday as they carved out hard-fought wins over separate foes in Season 86 of the boys’s basketball match.

Slowly getting their groove after on-and-off performances, the Blue Eagles needed to dig within the trenches to topple hard-fighting College of the East (UE), 76-69, at Mall of Asia Enviornment in Pasay Metropolis to get again to a degree 2-2 slate and get their title-retention bid again on observe.

The Maroons, in the meantime, had been pushed to the proverbial restrict, and much more, by winless Far Jap College (FEU), as they wanted an additional 5 minutes to tug out an 80-76 win and hold the elimination spherical lead with a 4-0 card.

The doubtless challenger to the champions of the final two seasons, in the meantime, confirmed how good it could possibly be after it bounced again from its first loss in a vogue nobody hears typically.

Nationwide U defanged the College of Santo Tomas’ Growling Tigers with impunity later, scoring an 87-69 win utilizing a sport plan that solely the Bulldogs got here up with.

“I didn’t have something to do with the sport plan. They had been those who got here up with it,” Nationwide U coach Jeff Napa mentioned in Filipino. “I had nothing to do with it, as a result of I walked out on them (at observe).”

First interval breakaway

The sport was shut solely early within the first interval, when it was tied at 12, earlier than the Bulldogs rattled off baskets one after the opposite to take a 30-14 lead into the second quarter as Nationwide U rose to 3-1.

“Anytime you get a W (win) it feels good as a workforce. This 12 months is gonna be about development, however I really feel like we have to develop quick,” mentioned Kai Ballungay, who spearheaded an Ateneo run within the payoff interval to offer the Blue Eagles some respiration room.

Ending with 18 factors, 11 rebounds and 5 assists, Ballungay acquired assist from Jared Brown, who knocked down essential three-pointers that finally doomed UE to its second loss additionally in 4 video games.

“I assumed our first half we didn’t play good protection and it was a person letdown, the depth wasn’t there,” Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin mentioned. “Third quarter wasn’t significantly better however the fourth quarter was. We actually dug down deep and defended rather more intelligently.”

The clever protection that Baldwin was referring to performed an important function and stored the Purple Warriors scoreless within the dying minutes of the fourth quarter, with Joseph Obasa exhibiting his value by ending with 16 factors, eight rebounds and 6 blocks.

Whereas Ateneo transformed on 25-of-34 free throw makes an attempt off 30 Warriors fouls, UE sank only one charity your complete sport.

Large blunder

The Preventing Maroons survived a giant blunder by Malick Diouf on the finish of regulation, as UP gutted it out in extension to remain excellent.

Francis Lopez was denied of a buzzer-beating sport when the referees known as Diouf for an offensive basket interference, taking away the 2 factors and sending the sport to time beyond regulation.

The Tamaraws, who remained winless in 4 video games, had been the primary squad to take the Maroons to a detailed endgame, with UP having gained its earlier three in lopsided kinds.

“As coach [Goldwin Monteverde] all the time says, because the season progresses, each sport is an opportunity for us to enhance … Though we had 21 turnovers, it was simply a kind of video games the place we had been lucky that FEU was solely in a position to convert 13 (factors) off them,” mentioned UP assistant coach Christian Luanzon.

Lopez and Diouf mixed for six straight factors within the time beyond regulation, 77-73, with 1:42 left earlier than Jorick Bautista drained a trey and closed the hole as soon as once more for the Tams.

“Coach Gold all the time tells us to be prepared for no matter state of affairs, straightforward or tough, we must always surpass these challenges,” mentioned Janjan Felicilda, who completed with 17 factors.

Each groups performed with out key gamers because the Preventing Maroons had been with out Gerry Abadiano, who’s underneath the league’s concussion protocols, whereas the Tamaraws missed typical starter Cholo Añonuevo as a consequence of a fractured proper hand.

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CJ Cansino contributed 14 factors and Diouf 11 factors and 10 rebounds as UP weapons for a fifth consecutive win on Saturday towards one other winless workforce in Santo Tomas.

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