MANILA, Philippines – The Ateneo Blue Eagles flexed their dominance anew in UAAP Season 82 with an 89-63 blasting of finals foes UP Fighting Maroons in men’s basketball at the jam-packed Araneta Coliseum on Sunday, September 29.
With the win, the two-time defending champions finished the 1st round with a clean 7-0 sweep while UP maintained a hold of 2nd place at 5-2.
Ange Kouame again delivered on both ends, posting a double-double of 19 points and 15 rebounds and a whopping 7 blocks for the Bluea Eagles.
Matt Nieto also collected 18 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists as 5 Ateneo players finished in double figures.
“I thought our guys played fairly and methodically,” said Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin. “We didn’t get carried away with the crowd and the emotions. After all, it’s just a regular season game.”
Off just a four-point lead at the half, Ateneo shot out of intermission with a 10-1 run, 45-32, punctuated by a wide-open Nieto triple at the 7:29 mark.
The Maroons then made matters worse for themselves as head coach Bo Perasol completely lost his cool and charged at the referee after an alleged non-call at the 6:23 mark. The fourth-year tactician had to be restrained by players and fellow staff as he was expectedly thrown out of the game.
Meanwhile, the composed champs kept chugging along as they ran out to an 18-point lead, 59-41, after an SJ Belangel three with 1:36 left in the 3rd.
Keeping the pressure up until the 4th, Belangel danced around with a nifty crossover before dishing a wrap-around pass for an easy Kouame dunk, 69-53, at the 6:15 mark.
Ateneo then made it a 20-point advantage shortly after, 73-53, off another highlight Matt Nieto pass for the easy Kouame layup.
The Blue Eagles then just ran the score up to a 27-point lead, 89-62, after an open Kouame dunk and a Tyler Tio three in the final minute.
Kobe Paras dropped 15 points and Javi Gomez de Liaño had 14 on a 5-of-6 shooting clip, but the Maroons missed the usual numbers of reigning MVP Bright Akhuetie, who got into early foul trouble and wound up with 6 points on a 1-of-3 clip from the field.
Ateneo 89 – Kouame 19, Nieto Ma. 18, Navarro 14, Ravena 13, Belangel 11, Tio 5, Wong 4, Go 3, Mamuyac 2, Andrade 0, Chiu 0, Credo 0, Daves 0, Maagdenberg 0, Nieto Mi. 0.
UP 63 – Paras 15, Gomez de Liaño Ja. 14, Manzo 12, Gomez de Liaño Ju. 8, Akhuetie 6, Rivero 6, Webb 2, Gob 0, Jaboneta 0, Mantilla 0, Murrell 0, Prado 0, Spencer 0, Tungcab 0.
Quarters: 15-21, 35-31, 61-46, 89-63.