MANILA, Philippines – The Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Blue Eagles began their “Drive for Five” on a high note with a 73-57 drubbing of the Adamson University (AdU) Soaring Falcons on July 15, 2012 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
Without the services of long-time point guard Eman Monfort, the Eagles relied on the ball-handling skills of Juami Tiongson and De La Salle Zobel alumnus Nico Elorde to control the tempo of the game.
The Ateneo guards constantly fed the ball to 7-foot center Greg Slaughter and the lead ballooned to 10-2 halfway through the first.
Like most leads in the UAAP, the advantage was short-lived. Adamson’s Alex Nuyles and Eric Camson brought the Falcons storming back to take the lead, 16-15, after 10 minutes.
The second period featured an Ateneo offensive fuelled by steals and broken plays. With reigning Rookie of the Year Kiefer Ravena at the helm, the Eagles once again pulled away, this time going up 30-24 towards the halftime break.
Still, coach Norman Black’s men had much to work on turnover-wise. The Ateneo mentor would close his eyes and shake his head every time his players failed to box out or catch a pass properly.
The Eagles took a 32-28 lead into the locker room. Soon after, however, the second game of the afternoon briefly became the Alex Nuyles show. The Adamson swingman was relentless—slashing through the Ateneo defense, pulling up for dead-eye jumpers and getting to the charity stripe at will.
ADMU forward Oping Sumalinog stopped the bleeding for the Eagles with an elbow three and, in no time, the Katipunan-based squad were up double digits. As much as Adamson coach Leo Austria’s double team impeded Slaughter’s production, the quarter ended with the Eagles in possession of a comfortable 55-45 lead.
Save for a short stretch of three consecutive missed lay-ins, the Ateneo lead was never in question. With 5th-year players Ryan Buenafe and Justin Chua getting into a groove, the gap widened to as much as 21 at 73-52.
The final minutes of the UAAP’s opening weekend was a showcase of Black’s human victory cigars, as Isaac Lim and Kris Porter finished the match for the Blue Eagles.
Playing in his final season, Slaughter was a steady presence in the paint with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 4 blocks. John Brondial and Nuyles led four Adamson players in double figures with 13 and 12 markers respectively.
ADMU, 73: Slaughter – 17, Salva – 14, Ravena – 9, Sumalinog – 6, Buenafe – 6, Tiongson – 5, Erram – 5, Chua – 4, Gonzaga – 3, Golla – 2, Elorde – 2, Porter – 0, Pessumal – 0, Lim – 0, Capacio – 0
AdU, 57: Brondial – 13, Nuyles – 12, Camson – 10, Cabrera – 10, Cruz – 4, Monteclaro – 3, Trollano – 2, Etrone – 2, Cabigas – 1, Julkipli – 0, Agustin – 0, Abrigo – 0
Quarter scores: 15-16, 32-28, 55-45, 73-57