Blue Eagles, Maroons in big starts

September 04, 2019

IVORIAN Ange Kouame showed the way as Ateneo opened its three-peat bid with a 70-52 romp of Adamson in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament last night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Blue Eagles weathered a stirring Falcons fightback in the second behind newcomer Val Chuaca to claim their first victory.

Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin had flashbacks from last year’s shock season-opening loss to Adamson, but the Kiwi-American was satisfied with the way his troops hung on up to the very end.

“Well we knew it’s gonna be tough. The last thing I really wanted to see is the first game. It has my deja vu moment in the second half,” said Baldwin.

“I’m happy that one is over. It is pleasing to get the win.”

“We earned that win, it’s really hardwork.” 

Unleashing his improved game, Kouame was relentless in the middle with 17 points, 11 rebounds, six blocks and three steals to lead the Eagles.

Up next for Ateneo is an early rivalry game with La Salle, which will make its season debut this weekend at the Big Dome.

“Sunday, hopefully, will be a lot of fun. I expect a big full stadium,” said Baldwin, as the Green Archers are on a mission to make it to the playoffs after missing the bus last year.

University of the Philippines and University of Santo Tomas, looking fun to watch this early, also had winning starts.

Reigning MVP Bright Akhuetie scored the game’s biggest basket in the final 1:35 as the Fighting Maroons squandered a 14-point lead before tripping Far Eastern University, 61-55, while the Growling Tigers’ newcomer shone in a 95-82 win over University of the East.

The senior Eagles also delivered, as Matt Nieto had 14 points, four assists and two steals while Thirdy Ravena added 10 points, 13 boards and four assists.

Chuaca, making the most on his only season with Adamson, was the lone bright spot with 17 points.

In the women’s division, reigning MVP Jack Danielle Animam had 17 points and 12 rebounds while Congo’s Rhena Itesi chipped in 16 points and six boards as defending champion National University drubbed FEU, 82-60, in a rematch of last year’s Finals to extend its unbeaten run to 81 games.

Over at the UST Quadricentennial Pavilion, rookie Kent Pastrana came through with 24 points, 14 rebounds, and six steals as La Salle opened its campaign with an emphatic 78-47 over UP, while Joanne Nimes had 19 points, four assists and three steals, while Jhazmin Joson and Alyssa Villamor had 15 and 14 points, respectively, as Ateneo downed UE, 74-65, for a winning start.

The scores:

First Game

UST (95) — Abando 22, Chabi Yo 19, Paraiso 10, Concepcion 10, Cansino 9, Subido 5, Cuajao 5, Cosejo 5, Ando 4, Nonoy 3, Huang 3, Pangilinan 0, Bataller 0.

UE (82) — Suerte 23, Diakhite 20, Pagsanjan 15, Mendoza 10, Tolentino 6, Abanto 5, Manalang 3, Apacible 0, Antiporda 0, Sawat 0, Conner 0.

Quarterscores: 27-19, 51-39, 69-52, 95-82

Second Game

UP (61) — Ja. Gomez de Liaño 22, Manzo 9, Akhuetie 7, Rivero 7, Murrell 6, Ju. Gomez de Liaño 6, Webb 3, Prado 1, Mantilla 0, Tungcab 0, Spencer 0.

FEU (55) — Bienes 9, Gonzales 8, Tchuente 8, Comboy 8, Tuffin 6, Torres 6, Cani 5, Eboña 3, Celzo 2, Alforque 0.

Quarterscores: 20-17, 38-27, 47-44, 61-55

Third Game

Ateneo (70) — Kouame 17, Ma. Nieto 14, Ravena 10, Navarro 9, Belangel 7, Go 4, Mi. Nieto 3, Wong 3, Mamuyac 2, Tio 1, Andrade 0, Daves 0, Credo 0.

AdU (52) — Chauca 17, Ahanmisi 7, Douanga 7, Camacho 4, Manlapaz 4, Fermin 4, Flowers 4, Lastimosa 3, Magbuhos 2, Zaldivar 0, Bernardo 0, Sabandal 0, Yerro 0, Mojica 0.

Quarterscores: 16-6, 32-23, 48-36, 70-52