Kai Sotto in action for Ateneo.
Ateneo, SHAN arrange BBI U-19 title clash
Rick Olivares (philstar.com) - June 18, 2018 - 11:42am

MANILA, Philippines – The Ateneo Blue Eaglets and the Sacred Heart Academy of Novaliches arranged a curious title showdown in the Breakdown Basketball Invitationals Under-19 Invitationals at the Moro Lorenzo Sports Center last Sunday.

In a match marked by multiple lead changes and deadlocks, the SHAN Bruins went for broke against Emilio Aguinaldo College-Immaculate Concepcion Academy with their 3-point shooting.

JE Dayrit hit a match tying triple at 63-all with time down to 4:17 to play. He would hit two more, including an audacious shot with 17 seconds left in their shot clock — when conventional wisdom means holding on to the ball to waste away the remaining 21 seconds in the game clock — to give SHAN its final margin of victory.

After Dayrit’s late game-tying three, EAC hit 5-10 shots. Not bad except that the Bruins scored on every possession in that span of time.

Dayrit topscored for the match with 31 points, including his five triples. Bam Lopez added 18 points and 12 rebounds.

For the hard-luck EAC-ICA Brigadiers, Jr. Ilustrisimo led with 16 points and nine boards. Jolo Sumagaysay backstopped him with 13 points.

“Basta meron kaming nakakalaban na mga NCAA o UAAP teams, tumataas ang laro ng mga bata,” said SHAN head coach Mark Ballesteros.

It was a warning to the Ateneo Blue Eaglets that the five-peat Quezon City Athletic Association champions are not done with their giant-killing ways.

The Blue Eaglets, with only five players left from last season’s UAAP Juniors champions, ran roughshod over FEU for much of the game. They posted a 30-point advantage over the Baby Tamaraws, 59-29, after the three quarters of play. Come the fourth period, first year Ateneo head coach Reggie Varilla inserted his fourth stringers and the Baby Tamaraws tried to mount a comeback that ultimately fell short.

Varilla started the game by placing his three Batang Gilas players — Kai Sotto, Gio Chiu and Forthsky Padrigao — on the bench. In their place, three of the remnants from the title-winning squad started — Daniel David, Joaquin Jaymalin and Jed Diaz — along with newcomers Jynno Ladimo and Ian Espinosa.

With the young lineup struggling on both ends of the court and FEU leading 7-6, Padrigao and Chiu entered the fray with Sotto following two minutes later. The transformation was instantaneous as the Blue Eaglets began to dictate the pace of the game. After Sotto scored on second servings to give Ateneo a 13-12 lead, the Blue Eaglets never let the lead slip away.

By the end of the second period, Ateneo led, 43-20, with the game well in hand.

Padrigao led Ateneo in scoring with 12 points and three assists while Sotto tallied 11 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks. Daniel David, the son of former FEU player Long David, added 10 points.

FEU’s Bryan Sajonia was the only Tamaraw in double digits with 14. The Baby Tamaraws’ two other Batang Gilas players, Jorick Bautista and King Balaga, scored seven and five points, respectively.

The Blue Eaglets though will be losing their Batang Gilas players when they leave for the FIBA Under-18 World Cup in Argentina this coming June 21.

“It’s going to be a challenge and learning experience for the rest of the team,” said Varilla of the BBI U-19 Finals this coming Sunday at the Moro Lorenzo Sports Center.

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