ANTIPOLO -- (UPDATE) Defending champion Ateneo de Manila University stamped its class over National University (NU), 71-50, to extend its perfect start to five games in the UAAP Season 82 men's basketball tournament on Sunday at the Ynares Center.
The Bulldogs entered the match-up without a win, but were encouraged by their close games as their defeats had come by an average margin of just four points. Their most recent game was an 80-79 loss to University of the Philippines.
But they were dealt a beating by the Blue Eagles, who built a 20-11 lead after the first quarter, then poured it on from there. With Ange Kouame dominating the paint and the Blue Eagles finding their mark from beyond the arc, Ateneo surged to a 41-24 advantage at the half.
The Bulldogs limited Ateneo to just 9 points in the third quarter, but the Blue Eagles still remained in control and cruised to a comfortable victory.
Ateneo improved to 5-0 in the tournament, while dropping NU to 0-5.
"We're happy to get that win under our belts," said Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin. "Generally, our effort was where it needed to be."
"Coach Jamike and his team presented some problems today, and credit to my guys, I think they did a good job figuring it out," he added.
Kouame finished with 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting, along with 13 rebounds, 7 blocks, 3 assists, and 2 steals. Gian Mamuyac added 13 points, making four of his six field goals, as Ateneo shot 40.85% from the field.
The Blue Eagles led by as much as 25 points, 65-40, with four minutes to go after Mamuyac scored five straight points, and SJ Belangel and Adrian Wong both converted their lay-ups. Manny Mangayao and Dave Ildefonso responded for NU, but it was too little, too late for the Bulldogs.
The coaches emptied their benches in the final two minutes, as Ateneo took the 21-point victory.
"Again, our field goal percentage doesn't flatter our players, really, at 40%. It's something that we need to continue to work on," said Baldwin.
"But also, on the other end of the floor, our defense is doing a good job. It's generating turnovers and converting those into easy points in the fastbreak, and that's always a good thing for your offense," he also said.
Ildefonso finished with 10 points, but made just 2 of his 9 attempts and committed 7 turnovers in the game. No other NU player reached double digits, with Shaun Ildefonso scoring 9 points on 4-of-11 shooting.
The Bulldogs shot a paltry 28.33% from the field, and their 20 turnovers led to 24 points for the Blue Eagles.
ATENEO 71 - Kouame 15, Mamuyac 13, Ravena 8, Wong 6, Belangel 5, Nieto Ma 5, Nieto Mi 5, Andrade 3, Tio 3, Chiu 2, Credo 2, Daves 2, Maagdenberg 2, Go 0, Mallillin 0, Navarro 0
NU 50 - Ildefonso D 10, Ildefonso S 9, Gaye 8, Clemente 5, Galinato 5, Yu 4, Minerva 3, Joson 2, Mangayao 2, Mosqueda 2, Diputado 0, Gallego 0, Malonzo 0, Oczon 0, Rangel 0, Tibayan 0
Quarter scores: 20-11, 41-24, 50-37, 71-50.
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