UAAP: Ateneo starts redemption bid by beating FEU

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 02 2022 06:44 PM | Updated as of Oct 02 2022 07:19 PM

Ateneo point guard Forthsky Padrigao (15) in action against the FEU Tamaraws. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News.
Ateneo point guard Forthsky Padrigao (15) in action against the FEU Tamaraws. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News.

MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) The Ateneo Blue Eagles survived a horrid second quarter and held on in the closing stretch to defeat Far Eastern University, 79-70, in their first game of UAAP Season 85 on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Blue Eagles, a team known for their patience and execution on offense, scored just six points in the second quarter and trailed 36-30 at the half. But they turned things around in the third period, with Dave Ildefonso sparking their comeback.

Team captain BJ Andrade then waxed hot in the fourth quarter to help Ateneo build a big lead, before Forthsky Padrigao finished off the job with a big three-pointer in the final 38 seconds of the ball game.

"We got the typical FEU fight, they beat us to the ball, a lot of loose balls, a lot of rebounds, they out-hustled us," Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin said after the game. "In the fourth quarter we found some energy reserves and we started getting those balls and started getting the rebounds."

"We had big players make big shots, which is not really the formula that is sort of the one that I like. Nonetheless, it's excellent to have players who have the toughness to take those shots," he added.

Padrigao, making his first start for Ateneo in the seniors division, had 19 points, seven assists, six rebounds, and two steals in 27 minutes. Andrade had 15 points, while Ildefonso finished with a 14-point, 12-rebound double-double.

Reigning Most Valuable Player Ange Kouame, still recovering from a knee injury, had 12 points, 14 rebounds, and three blocks. 

The Blue Eagles regained control of the game in the third quarter where they out-scored FEU, 25-14, after their poor second period. A three-pointer by Ildefonso with four minutes left gave Ateneo the lead for good, 45-44.

The Ateneo lead ballooned to 14 points, 69-55, after Andrade nailed three free throws off a foul by Brian Sajonia with six minutes to go. But FEU swingman Patrick Sleat sparked the Tams' comeback in the final three minutes, sparking a 7-2 run that made it a five-point game, 75-70, with still 68 seconds to play. 

The Blue Eagles had a response, however, with Padrigao freeing himself up thanks to a massive screen by Kouame and rising for the dagger three-pointer for a 78-70 lead with 38.5 ticks left.

A miss by Xyrus Torres in FEU's next possession ended the Tamaraws' hopes of a comeback, and Josh Lazaro pegged the final score with a split at the line.

LJ Gonzales led the Tams with 19 points, while Sleat finished with 17 -- nine of which came in the fourth quarter. Sophomore forward Cholo Anonuevo had nine points and four rebounds in his first UAAP game back since suffering a foot injury that limited him to just one game in Season 84.

The Scores:

ATENEO 79 -- Padrigao 19, Andrade 15, Ildefonso 14, Kouame 12, Koon 11, Ballungay 3, Daves 2, Chiu 2, Lazaro 1, Gomez 0, Garcia 0, Quitevis 0.

FEU 70 -- Gonzales 19, Sleat 17, Sajonia 10, Anonuevo 9, Torres 5, Tchuente 3, Alforque 3, Tempra 2, Sandagon 2, Gravera 0, Celzo 0, Guibao 0, Bagunu 0.

Quarters: 24-16, 30-36, 55-50, 79-70.