ANTIPOLO -- (UPDATED) Ateneo de Manila University claimed a dominant victory over University of the East (UE), 84-50, to keep its record spotless in the UAAP Season 82 men's basketball tournament, Sunday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
The Blue Eagles trailed by four points to start the game, but ripped off a 17-2 run to take charge. They never looked back from there en route to posting their 12th consecutive triumph of the season.
At 12-0, Ateneo is already assured of the top seed in the Final 4, and is two games away from an elimination round sweep.
The result also dropped UE's record to 3-9, ousting them from the race to the semifinals. This marks the 10th season in a row that the Red Warriors have missed the Final 4.
"Very proud of the team. The first half was patchy," said Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin, noting that there were "individual disappointments" in the first half that they needed to work on. "But you know, apart from that, I think it was a very solid performance."
Isaac Go tallied a season-high 13 points, while Ange Kouame had 11 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 blocks in just under 19 minutes of time. Thirdy Ravena also had 11 points, 7 boards and 2 assists, as all but two of Ateneo's 15 players got on the board.
"It was great to get guys that work extremely hard in practice, guys like BJ (Andrade) and Troy (Mallillin) and Jason (Credo) and Geo (Chiu), I think it's great to get those guys out on the floor for some meaningful minutes, not just minute or two," Baldwin added.
The Blue Eagles' 34-point winning margin was the largest of the season so far. UE had previously lost by 28 points, 101-73, to University of Santo Tomas.
Ateneo took complete control of the game in the second period, with Kouame powering his way inside for hooks and easy lay-ups. The defending champions also found their mark from beyond the arc, with Kouame, Ravena, and Adrian Wong all hitting their three-pointers.
They continued to pour it on in the third quarter, with the Blue Eagles nailing four triples in a row to end the frame for a comfortable 65-35 advantage.
The lead ballooned to 36 points, 82-46, after Go completed a three-point play with 63 seconds left in the game.
Alex Diakhite led UE with 15 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists, while Rey Suerte had 10 markers. But UE simply didn't have the firepower to keep up with the Blue Eagles, who shot 42.03% from the field and had a 47-37 rebounding advantage.
The Red Warriors committed 23 turnovers that led to 30 points for Ateneo, while the Blue Eagles' 21 offensive rebounds led to 22 second chance points. Ateneo's reserves scored 47 points, just 3 points fewer than the entire UE team.
ATENEO 84 -- Go 13, Kouame 11, Ravena 11, Belangel 9, Wong 9, Ma. Nieto 6, Tio 6, Chiu 4, Credo 4, Mamuyac 3, Mi. Nieto 3, Maagdenberg 2, Mallillin 2, Andrade 1, Daves 0, Navarro 0.
UE 50 -- Diakhite 15, Suerte 10, Abanto 6, Apacible 6, Camacho 3, Cruz 3, Antiporda 2, Pagsanjan 2, Tolentino 2, Manalang 1, Conner 0, Lorenzana 0, Mendoza 0, Natividad 0.
Quarter scores: 17-8, 40-25, 65-35, 84-50
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