Rookie Batiller shines as Warriors slay Falcons

Bonbon Batiller | Efigenio Toledo IV/

MANILA, Philippines - Rookie Bonbon Batiller delivered a solid all-around performance as University of the East stormed to an 89-78 disposal of Adamson and grabbed a share of second in the UAAP Season 78 men's basketball tourney on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Batiller, a prized transferee from Holy Trinity of General Santos City, fired 23 points, issued eight assists and made six steals to help the Warriors post a followup to their 76-71 upset of defending champion National U and improve to 2-1.

Veteran Paul Varilla shot 14 to go with six boards and three feeds while Clark Derige came through with a double-double effort of 12 markers and 10 caroms to complement the play of Batiller.

"We had to dig deep for this win; we knew it's not gonna be easy playing Adamson. We had to keep working hard," said UE coach Derrick Pumaren.

The Warriors grabbed a 12-point lead in the second quarter but eased up on defense, allowing the Falcons to claw back.

The game was still tied at 57-all before freshman Fran Yu, Derige, and Batiller joined forces in a 22-5 assault bridging the third and the fourth to lead UE to a 79-62 spread.

"Actually I got mad at them. We were up by nine then gave up easy baskets before the second quarter ended. The game plan was to make sure Adamson worked for every point, that we didn't give them easy baskets. And so we worked on that in the second half. Things weren't working offensively at one stretch but we made one, two, three steals and (scored from there)," said Pumaren.

Batiller led UE's scoring parade for the third straight game. He fired 17 in their 55-62 setback to University of the Philippines on opening day and dropped 23 on the Bulldogs in his second outing.

"Tsamba lang." the 21-year-old Batiller said with humility. "Araw-araw sa practice binibigay ko best ko kaya siguro pagdating sa laro, parang sobrang madali na lang."

"I was expecting that (from Batiller) because I saw what he can do," said Pumaren. "He was my first recruit sa Filoil (tournament) last year and we ran after him, nakuha lang sa siopao at mami bumigay na sa akin. He came in cheap," he added in jest.

The Warriors also had 28 assists and 19 steals.

Freshman JD Tungcab paced the Falcons (0-3) with 16 while Nico Capote chipped in 15, all from three-point territory.

The Scores

UE 89 - Batiller 23, Varilla 14, Derige 12, Charcos 9, Yu 8, De Leon 6, Javier 6, Palma 6, Abanto 2, Gonzales 2, Manalang 1, Sta Ana 0.

AdU 78 - Tungcab 16, Capote 15, Nalos 14, Ng 11, Villanueva 8, Sarr 6, Ochea 4, Garcia 2, Polican 2, Bernardo 0, Escalambre 0.

Quarterscores: 20-26, 44-41, 63-57, 89-78. 89-78

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