ANTIPOLO — Three-peat-seeking Ateneo proved too much for National University, 88-51, as it moved closer to claiming an outright Finals berth yesterday in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the Ynares Center here.
As usual, the Blue Eagles leaned on their balanced offense, with the reserves scoring half of the team’s total output.
Ateneo extending its perfect run to 13 games and will go for sweep on Wednesday but will have to deal with a dangerous University of the Philippines side in a rematch of last year’s Finals at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Eagles hope to accomplish what they failed to do in 2011. Ateneo won its first 13 matches but fell in ambush to Adamson in their last outing in the elimination. That cost an automatic championship slot, although the Katipunan-based squad still bagged its fourth consecutive crown then.
With the Fighting Maroons trying to get a higher ranking at the end of elims, Eagles coach Tab Baldwin has the sweep farthest from his mind.
“Nothing changes. Next game is the last game. I understand that that is a sweep or not a sweep but again, those are just minor issues for us. The major issue for us is how we play against UP. What are our tactics? What are our strategies? How do we execute? How do we anticipate what they might do? There’s nothing else that enters into the equation for us, all the other talk is for you and the fans,” said Baldwin.
“To be perfectly honest, we tune all that out. We do the best of our ability to tune all that out. And just stay focused on the job, it doesn’t change. We’re excited about the game, but I think we were expected about playing today, I think that was evident in the attitude of the players.”
If the first game was a fast-paced affair with only a combined 20 fouls, the University of Santo Tomas-Adamson showdown was a physical one.
After a dragging first half which featured a combined 31 fouls, the Growling Tigers picked up the pace in the second half to beat the Falcons, 80-74, to boos their playoff bid.
Mark Nonoy’s back-to-back triples highlighted UST’s 12-2 run that enabled the Tigers to break from a 53-53 standoff and post a 65-55 advantage at the end of third period.
Ateneo (88) - Kouame 17, Ravena 15, Tio 9, Wong 8, Belangel 7, Mamuyac 5, Nieto Mi. 5, Andrade 4, Daves 4, Go 4, Mallillin 4, Chiu 3, Maagdenberg 3, Nieto Ma. 0.
NU (51) - Ildefonso S. 21, Gallego 9, Tibayan 8, Minerva 4, Clemente 3, Gaye 2, Ildefonso D. 2, Rangel 2, Diputado 0, Galinato 0, Joson 0, Malonzo 0, Mangayao 0, Mosqueda 0, Oczon 0, Yu 0.
Quarterscores: 22-12, 44-27, 65-36, 88-51
UST (80) - Nonoy 17, Chabi Yo 16, Abando 13, Subido 12, Concepcion 8, Paraiso 5, Cansino 4, Ando 2, Huang 2, Bataller 1.
AdU (74) - Sabandal 18, Ahanmisi 11, Camacho 10, Douanga 7, Chauca 6, Lastimosa 6, Fermin 4, Manlapaz 3, Mojica 3, Bernardo 2, Magbuhos 2, Yerro 2, Flowers 0.
Quarterscorws: 26-22, 43-42, 65-55, 80-74