Ateneo bounces back ferociously, mauls rival La Salle

Ateneo bounces back ferociously, mauls rival La Salle

NIKOLE JAVIER

Ateneo bounced back in a convincing fashion, clobbering bitter rival La Salle, 68-54, in the second round of the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tournament Saturday, Nov. 5, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. 

The Blue Eagles found themselves tied with the Green Archers at the half, 29-all, before exploding in the second half and taking their biggest lead of the match of 22 points early in the fourth quarter, 61-39. 

Reigning Most Valuable Player Ange Kouame posted a double-double outing of 11 points and 14 rebounds apart from posting three steals and five blocks to lift Ateneo to a 6-3 record. 

Dave Ildefonso added 12 points on top of seven rebounds while Forthsky Padrigao and Kai Ballungay contributed 11 apiece. 

With 7:40 to go in the fourth frame, La Salle tried to crawl back with a 10-0 run to avert a four-game slide capped by Joaqui Manuel’s layup to cut its deficit by 12. 

However, Chris Koon knocked back-to-back three-pointers for the Blue Eagles in the final minutes which was too much for the Archers to recover from. 

“Third quarter was very telling. We defended great which led to easy points which allowed us to get some separation on the scoreboard. And it’s critical when you don’t know what’s gonna happen in the game,” said Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin. 

La Salle, for its part, had Evan Nelle who tallied 15 points to go along with seven rebounds and five assists as it fell into a deeper 3-6 hole. 

The scores:

ATENEO 68 ‒ Ildefonso 12, Kouame 11, Ballungay 11, Koon 11, Padrigao 11, Andrade 8, Gomez 2, Chiu 2, Lazaro 0.

LA SALLE 54 ‒ Nelle 15, Nwankwo 7, Quiambao 6, Nonoy 6, Austria 5, Estacio 5, Manuel 4, M. Phillips 3, Abadam 2, Macalalag 1.

Quarters: 10-16, 29-29, 56-39, 68-54.