MANILA, Philippines – Ateneo kept its foot on the pedal from its historic thrashing of UST as it crushed National University, 89-75, to stay unbeaten in UAAP Season 84 at the Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday, April 23.
Coming off a 50-point beatdown of the Tigers, the Blue Eagles pummeled the Bulldogs from the get-go to hike their record to 11-0 this season and cruise to their 37th straight victory.
Dave Ildefonso scattered 8 of his game-high 17 points in a decisive 23-7 blast in the opening quarter as Ateneo showed it has not grown complacent despite already securing its Final Four berth two games ago.
NU trailed by just a point early, 5-6, before Ildefonso connived with Gian Mamuyac for 14 points and 4 triples in the run that gave the Blue Eagles a comfortable 29-12 cushion at the end of the maiden period.
It only got worse for the Bulldogs in the middle quarters as Ateneo saw its lead swell to as big as 33 points in the third frame off an Angelo Kouame three-pointers, 78-45.
While NU managed to narrow the gap to 14 points behind an 18-3 start in the fourth period, that proved to be a small dent to an otherwise dominant showing from the mighty Blue Eagles.
“I think our quality of play in the first half was as high a standard as maybe I’ve ever seen from an Ateneo team,” said head coach Tab Baldwin as his wards shot a sizzling 62% in the first two quarters.
“On both ends of the floor, I thought the boys did an exceptional job. They gave themselves a good cushion.”
Ildefonso also put up 9 rebounds and 3 assists against his former team Bulldogs, while Kouame delivered 16 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 assists.
Ateneo spread the wealth as four more players scored at least 8 points, with SJ Belangel unloading 9 points and 7 assists in another solid outing.
Belangel steadied the ship for the Blue Eagles amid the fourth-quarter NU storm as he delivered 7 points in the last three minutes, draining a pair of triples to give his side an 89-69 lead.
Janjan Felicilda churned out 12 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals for the Bulldogs, who crashed to their fourth straight loss and slipped further away from the top four with a 4-7 record.
Adamson improved to solo fourth with a 5-6 card after an 80-69 win over UST earlier on Saturday, while idle FEU sits at fifth place with a 4-6 slate.
Jake Figueroa netted 12 points and John Lloyd Clemente posted 10 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists in the loss.
Ateneo 89 – Ildefonso 17, Kouame 16, Belangel 9, Chiu 9, Verano 8, Mamuyac 8, Andrade 6, Tio 6, Koon 5, Lazaro 5, Padrigao 0, Gomez 0, Daves 0.
NU 75 – Felicilda 12, Figueroa 12, Clemente 10, Gaye 9, Ildefonso 7, Torres 7, Minerva 5, Malonzo 4, Mahinay 4, Galinato 3, Joson 2, Enriquez 0, Manansala 0, Yu 0.
Quarters: 29-12, 61-36, 78-49, 89-75.