Eagles sweep âem all
The Ateneo Blue Eagles in joyous celebration of their third straight UAAP championship at the MOA Arena.
Joey Mendoza
Eagles sweep ’em all
John Bryan Ulanday (The Philippine Star) - November 21, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — History. Perfection. Dynasty.

Ateneo had it all last night at the Mall of Asia Arena after holding on to a hard-earned 86-79 victory over gritty Santo Tomas to soar to the mountain top of league history as the first squad to score a season sweep in the UAAP Final Four era.

The mighty Blue Eagles swept their 16 games in the season to cop a third straight crown and 11th overall as the Eagles continued to build another dynasty since completing a five-peat in 2012.

It was a sweet, sweet 16-game sweep.

“I could probably talk about this team all day. We didn’t talk a lot about it (16-game sweep) but I know that my players really wanted it. It is a dream season for us to go through unblemished,” said an emotional coach Tab Baldwin who deflected all the credits to his historic squad.

“It’s more than basketball. Working with these guys everyday makes me a better person. It humbles me. It’s very humbling when these men sacrifice their egos and time. What they don’t sacrifice is their love of the game and this is the result of that.”

After erupting for 32 points in their convincing 91-77 Game 1 win, graduating captain Thirdy Ravena pumped in 17 points, seven rebounds and five assists, and later bagged a third straight UAAP Finals MVP award.

Sophomore guard SJ Belangel (15) and Matt Nieto (14) backstopped Ravena in scoring while Ange Koaume shrugged off a foul-plagued first half to still finish with a decent seven-point, eight-rebound game in just 17 minutes of action.

His roaring slam dunk in the last two minutes gave Ateneo a comfortable 83-71 cushion.

Hell bent on finishing off this pressure-packed season once and for all, Ateneo took an early flight with a 31-15 start despite Koaume being hounded by early fouls as Ravena and Nieto connived to tame the Tigers right off the bat.

Ateneo held the fort and carried a 42-32 lead into the second half.

And Santo Tomas just failed to break through.

Three rookies in Rhenz Abando (16), Mark Nonoy (14) and Soulemane Chabi Yo (11 points and 19 rebounds) paced the losing side.

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