MANILA, Philippines--Ateneo made sure there will be no upset this time as the Blue Eagles crushed the University of the Philippines Maroons, 78-53, Thursday to gain a share of second place in the 73rd UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Blue Eagles pulled away early, erecting a 38-25 halftime lead with a closing 20-6 outburst, before building a 24-point bubble in the third quarter, 52-28.
“Defensively, we’re starting to get our game back,” said coach Norman Black after his defending champion Eagles held the Maroons to just five points in the third quarter.
“We’ve been trying to reach our goal defensively, which is to try to hold teams to 15 points per quarter. We’re able to do that in the first three quarters and that has been one of the keys for us in the past.”
Adamson also controlled the game early in turning back struggling University of the East, 69-56, to make it a three-way tie for second place with Ateneo and idle La Salle, at 4-2.
Led by Alex Nuyles, Eric Camson and Janus Lozada, the Falcons got off to a 27-16 start and kept their double-digit lead the rest of the way.
“The players were very intense offensively and defensively because I emphasized the importance of this game,” said Adamson coach Leo Austria.
“We’re eyeing the No. 2 spot, since we have a very strong chance of making it to the Final Four.”
The Falcons are also on target to posting their best first-round record since a 3-3 start in 2006.
Nuyles led the Falcons for the second straight game with 19 points and nine boards.
Camson had 15 points and Lozada added 10 as the Falcons zoomed ahead by as many as 23, 47-24, in the third quarter.
UE’s star guard Paul Lee registered his lowest output of five points on a poor 2-of-16 shooting clip after averaging a league-best 20 points in his first five games.
It was also Lee’s lowest career production since scoring just a point in the Warriors’ 58-45 win versus the Falcons in 2008.
In juniors action, the Blue Eaglets completed a seven-game sweep of the first round following a 71-57 rout of rival De La Salle Zobel Junior Archers.
Kiefer Ravena collected 18 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and two steals to pace the back-to-back champion Eaglets in the rematch of last year’s finals.
The Baby Falcons trounced the Junior Warriors, 75-54, for a 4-3 record, behind the similar 5-2 cards of the National U Bullpups and the Santo Tomas Tiger Cubs.
The Junior Archers slipped to a share of fifth with the Far Eastern U Baby Tams at 3-4, while the Junior Warriors fell to 1-6.
ADAMSON 69—Nuyles 19, Camson 15, Lozada 10, Stinett 9, Colina 6, Alvarez 6, Manyara 4, Brondial 0, Galinato 0, Cañada 0.
UE 56—Martinez 18, Acibar 12, Rosopa 6, Enguio 6, Zamar 6, Lee 5, Reyes 3, Santos 0, Razon 0, Casajeros 0, Tagarda 0, Duran 0.
Quarters: 17-8, 31-20, 50-31, 69-56
ATENEO 78—Salva 18, Tiongson 13, Salamat 12, Golla 8, Chua 8, Escueta 6, Long 3, Estrada 2, Dela Cruz 2, Monfort 2, Buenafe 2, Austria 2, Erram 0, Balmaceda 0, Gonzaga 0.
UP 53—Sison 13, Padilla 12, Lopez 6, Silungan 5, Co 5, Gomez 4, Reyes Ma. 3, Reyes Mi. 2, Manuel 1, Saret 0, Maniego 0, Hipolito 0, Gingerich 0.
Quarters: 12-13, 38-25, 54-30, 78-53