UAAP Basketball

Young Ateneo proves worth, downs loaded La Salle in late shootout

JR Isaga

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Young Ateneo proves worth, downs loaded La Salle in late shootout

DEADEYE. Ateneo center Mason Amos attempts a jump shot over the La Salle defense in the UAAP Season 86 men's basketball tournament

UAAP Season 86 Media Team

Gilas Pilipinas prospect Mason Amos and star forward Kai Ballungay deliver huge bounce-back performances as retooled UAAP champion Ateneo escapes rival La Salle in a lights-out thriller

MANILA, Philippines – The young Ateneo Blue Eagles showed poise beyond their years in the biggest moment, as they downed longtime rivals La Salle Green Archers in a captivating fourth-quarter shootout, 77-72, at the Mall of Asia Arena on Wednesday, October 4.

This marks the ninth time in the last 10 Ateneo-La Salle rivalry bouts that the Blue Eagles prevailed over the Green Archers.

In a massive bounce-back effort from a scoreless UAAP Season 86 debut, Ateneo star forward Kai Ballungay erupted for an 18-point, 16-rebound double-double with 12 offensive boards in just 22 minutes.

Rookie Mason Amos likewise erased a bad first impression with 12 points on multiple clutch threes in just 11 minutes off the bench as his fellow front court newbie Joseph Obasa chipped in 11 points, 15 boards, and 3 blocks.

“It’s a great rivalry game between two proud universities, and obviously, we’re delighted we won that. Most importantly, I think we found some fight,” said Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin after the defending champions rebounded from a stunning blowout loss to the NU Bulldogs, 77-64, on opening day.

“It was lacking last game and to find it is very rewarding. However, the quality of performance needs to be better, but I think it will get better.”

Kevin Quiambao, who did his best attempt to match the Eagles’ torrid shooting late in regulation, saw his 17-point, 14-rebound, 7-assist line go down the drain in the heartbreaking loss. Veteran guard Evan Nelle chipped in 15 points on just 4-of-15 shooting to go with 3 boards and 3 dimes.

The Scores

Ateneo 77 – Koon 19, Ballungay 18, Amos 12, Obasa 11, Brown 8, Espinosa 5, Lazaro 2, Chiu 1, Quitevis 1, Credo 0, Bongo 0, Nieto 0, Gomez 0.

La Salle 72 – Quiambao 17, Nelle 15, Abadam 11, Nonoy 9, Austria 5, Cortez 4, Manuel 3, B. Phillips 3, M. Phillips 2, David 0, Escandor 0, Gollena 0.

Quarters: 25-23, 37-39, 47-54, 77-72.


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