UAAP Saturday: Ateneo remains undefeated; UE surges
Thirdy Ravena has been a steady presence for Ateneo. Cagadas
UAAP Saturday: Ateneo remains undefeated; UE surges
Rick Olivares ( - October 7, 2019 - 1:08pm

MANILA, Philippines – The Ateneo Blue Eagles took the shine off the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers, 66-52, to remain undefeated at 8-0 while dropping the latter to 4-4.

The Growling Tigers looked imperious early in the first round owing to their win over UP and close shave against the Blue Eagles. Since then, there was that befuddling loss to UE, and the beatdown from La Salle (Aldin Ayo is 0-3 against his former team) and a huge loss to Ateneo.

The Blue Eagles cast a huge defensive net on UST’s key gunners in Soulemane Chabi Yo, Rhenz Abando, Brent Paraiso, Sherwin Concepcion and Renzo Subido leaving only Mark Nonoy as their sole source of points.

Ateneo answered critics that it is center Angelo Kouame carrying them when the big fellow mostly sat out due to foul trouble. Instead, it was the local crew that stopped UST. There was instance when it seemed like Subido was in for a sure two points off a fastbreak layup when Ateneo’s William Navarro — who was several steps behind) swooped in for the block. And there was Matthew Daves blocking Chabi Yo inside and ripping the ball away from him.

UST also played good defense, but the Blue Eagles hit timely shots with SJ Belangel, Adrian Wong, and Tyler Tio knocking down momentum killers.

At 4-4, the Growling Tigers have dropped to fourth spot. They are tied with La Salle and FEU, but the Green Archers are at fourth because of their earlier win over UST to end the first round of play. Ayo’s troops face unpredictable University of the East on Wednesday; a huge game for either team that has final four aspirations. If they want to return to winning form, they need to get their gunners hitting their targets because FEU has a chance to sneak into their spot.

Speaking of the Red Warriors, they dispatched a reeling Adamson University side, 80-74. What has carried UE is they have that sure-fire 1-2 punch in Rey Suerte and Alex Diakhite while the Soaring Falcons cannot consistently count on any one of their players. UE’s duo account for 45 points.

Yes, Adamson’s Lenda Douanga tallied 16 points and 17 boards, but he was outplayed by Diakhite. That too is one huge reason why UE is at 3-5 and now tied with Adamson.

The Falcons were a pitiful sight on the free throw line where they were 7-17. A few more shots here and there, it could have been a different story. Could have, all right. Doesn’t mean they would win it because they looked terrible. UE’s turnovers — forced and unforced — hurt them.

What prevented this from being a blowout was Adamson’s ability to find their scoring through UE’s turnovers. The Falcons had a 20-5 advantage in turnover points. 

Adamson’s veterans in Jerrick Ahanmisi, Simon Camacho, and Jerom Lastimosa chipped in but they scattered their points as opposed to UE’s duo that was there right up to the finish.

And the game seemed like a layup line with players from either side repeatedly attacking the interior. It was old school helter skelter basketball. 

The next three days are crucial for the other teams in the middle of the pack. That means La Salle, UST, FEU, Adamson, and UE because this is where the separation occurs. Even UP isn’t assured of anything. 

Expect the games to be more hard fought.

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