UAAP Basketball

NU snaps 10-game, 6-year skid over Ateneo, takes solo second place

JR Isaga
NU snaps 10-game, 6-year skid over Ateneo, takes solo second place

BIG SHOT. NU forward Jolo Manansala shoots over Ateneo star Ange Kouame.

UAAP Season 85 Media Team

Jolo Manansala and Michael Malonzo conspire in the clutch to help lift NU over Ateneo for the first time in UAAP men's basketball since September 11, 2016

MANILA, Philippines – For the first time in 10 games over a six-year span, the NU Bulldogs took down the Ateneo Blue Eagles in a thrilling 78-74 finish in the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena on Wednesday, November 2.

Jolo Manansala had a breakout game for the ages with 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting, plus 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks, while Kean Baclaan scattered 10 points, 4 dimes, and 3 boards to help NU climb to solo second place in the tournament with a 6-3 record.

It was NU’s first win over Ateneo since September 11, 2016.

A game of runs early on was eventually nullified as both sides countered the other with their own offensive spurts, leading to Ateneo taking a small 57-56 lead in the final frame.

Dave Ildefonso drilled a three midway through the fourth to give the Eagles a 65-64 lead, but that would turn out to be the last time they hold an advantage as NU moved ahead on a pivotal 6-0 swing, ending with a Germy Mahinay layup off a Baclaan feed for the 70-65 separation.

Although Kai Ballungay made his presence felt on both ends with two clutch free throws followed up with a steal on Baclaan that led to a tying BJ Andrade layup, 72-all, with 46.7 ticks left, Manansala quickly countered with a great backdoor cut and easy reverse layup off a Patrick Yu feed for a 74-72 lead.

Ildefonso had one last shot to tie the game, but Michael Malonzo closed out for a clutch block that led to a split trip from the line that sealed the deal with 15.5 seconds left, 76-72.

Andrade led all scorers in the heartbreaking loss with 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting and 3-of-4 from three, while Ballungay scored 15 plus 9 boards, 4 steals, and 2 assists, which were ultimately not enough to keep Ateneo from sliding down to third place with a 5-3 slate.

NU now turns its attention to Saturday, November 5, for a revenge date with first-round conqueror FEU at 3 pm, while Ateneo likewise seeks a bounce-back win over rival La Salle at the blockbuster 6:30 pm main event.

The Scores

NU 78 – Manansala 17, Baclaan 10, Clemente 9, John 8, Yu 6, Minerva 6, Malonzo 5, Enriquez 5, Palacielo 4, Figueroa 3, Galinato 3, Mahinay 2, Tibayan 0, Tulabut 0.

Ateneo 74 – Andrade 21, Ballungay 15, Ildefonso 14, Garcia 6, Koon 4, Lazaro 4, Chiu 3, Gomez 3, Kouame 2, Padrigao 2, Quitevis 0.

Quarters: 14-20, 41-29, 56-57, 78-74.

– Rappler.com

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