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MANILA, Philippines – The Ateneo Blue Eaglets continued their dominant streak in the UAAP Season 81 juniors basketball tournament with a 84-62 blowout over the winless UE Junior Warriors at the Ateneo Blue Eagle Gym on Wednesday, December 12.
Seven-foot-one sensation Kai Sotto dropped an easy 25 points and 7 rebounds on an 11-of-18 (61%) shooting with 2 blocks.
JC Fetalvero added 11 markers off the bench on a perfect 3-of-3 clip from downtown while key forward David Diaz churned out a 10-point, 15-board double-double with 4 assists.
The winless Warriors gave the defending champs a good fight in the 1st half, tying them up 34-all by intermission after a few short-lived leads. However, the proverbial sleeping giant woke up as Ateneo dashed UE's upset hopes with an 18-3 run in the 3rd, 52-37, highlighted by back-to-back Sotto post buckets.
The Eaglets closed the door on their challengers with a 9-1 run off a trifecta of threes in the 4th, 77-55, with 3:20 left in regulation.
Mike Flores dragged UE to the end with 17 points off the bench on a 5-of-7 (71%) clip from downtown. Team star Shane Dichoso got held to 11 markers on a 4-of-13 (31%) shooting with 5 assists and 3 boards.
Ateneo head coach Reggie Varilla commended UE's heart despite the blowout and wished for his boys to do the same on Saturday, December 15 as they face their heated rival NU Bullpups.
"First and foremost, I want to commend UE. When they fight, they wanted to really win," he said after the game. "For our boys, I'm happy that we're improving. After a slow start, we adjusted, but our concern right now is we can't do that against NU. We want to start strong on Saturday and hopefully sustain it until the end."
Adamson (4-2) vs NU (5-1)
Earlier, the Adamson Baby Falcons stunned last season's finalists NU Bullpups, 62-59, breaking their undefeated five-game run.
Team star Joem Sabandal made up for two straight crucial misses at the free throw line in the last 9 seconds of the contest by corralling the offensive board and fishing one more foul in the penalty.
This time, he split his shots at the line for a three-point lead, 62-59. NU had 4 seconds to save its undefeated streak but was unable to convert a game-tying three in time.
Sabandal led the balanced attack with 13 points and 10 rebounds for the double-double finish. Adrian Manlapaz also tallied an 11-point, 14-board dub-dub with 4 blocks while Adam Doria chipped in 12 markers and 6 boards.
Batang Gilas stalwart Gerry Abadiano paced NU with a game-high 17 points but needed 7-of-21 (33%) shots to get there. Terrence Fortea forced up 11 markers on an even worse 4-of-23 (17%) clip.
FEU (4-2) vs UPIS (0-6)
In the opening match of the day, the FEU Baby Tamaraws made quick work of the winless UPIS Junior Maroons, 102-72.
Batang Gilas prospect Xyrus Torres erupted for 27 points off the bench on a 10-of-14 (71%) clip from the field with 6-of-10 (60%) shots from downtown. RJ Abarrientos and Bryan Sajonia followed up with 14 markers apiece in the easy win.
UPIS was still in striking distance after a 35-43 1st half, but the battle-tested FEU cranked up the intensity at the turn of the 3rd quarter. By the 4th frame, the outmatched Junior Maroons had run out of gas, getting outscored by the Baby Tams 28-15, for the eventual 30-point drubbing.
Allen Torres led UPIS with 23 points and 9 rebounds while lead guard Ralph Labao added 17 markers and 7 boards.
UST (3-3) vs DLSZ (3-3)
Things were much more exciting in the second bout as the UST Tiger Cubs kept the DLSZ Junior Archers at bay with a 63-55 win.
Star rookie Mark Nonoy dropped a 19-point, 12-rebound, 6-assist line in 36 minutes of action while Batang Gilas big man Bismarck Lina tallied 10 points and 12 boards for the double-double effort.
Archer swingman Jac Macasaet got the game within 3 points, 55-58, with just 1:48 to go in regulation after a huge three. However, Nonoy took over with 5 straight points down the stretch, with a clutch long bomb and two free throws to put the game away at 63-55 with 27 seconds remaining.
Lance Jomalesa paced the Archers with a 13-point, 12-rebound double-double while guard Henrie Subido managed 10 markers and 5 boards.
FEU 102 – Torres 27, Abarrientos 14, Sajonia 14, Alforque 8, Bautista J 8, Tolentino 6, Sicat 6, Anonuevo 4, Ona 3, Bautista S 3, Balaga 3, Bagunu 2, Armendez 2, Bradley 2, Libago 0, Barasi 0.
UPIS 72 – Torres 23, Labao 17, Gomez de Liano 12, Tuazon 11, Vergeire 3, Galotera 3, Estrera 3, Lopez 0, Villaverde 0.
Quarters: 22-11, 43-35, 74-57, 102-72.
UST 63 – Nonoy 19, Casingcasing 16, Lina 10, Marzan 6, Dolendo 4, Manabat 3, Oliva 3, Sumabat 2, Estrella 0, Benzonan 0, Dumlao 0, Amador 0.
DLSZ 55 – Jomalesa 13, Subjdo 10, Cudiamat 8, Milan 8, Villarin 7, Macasaet 4, Unisa 4, Sevilla 1, Pingol 0, Buncayo 0.
Quarters: 14-6, 28-23, 50-41, 63-55.
Adamson 62 – Sabandal 13, Doria Ad 13, Manlapaz 11, Doria An 7, Hanapi 7, Capulong 6, Barcelona 4, Prodigo 2, Engbino 0, Padilla 0, Santos 0.
NU 59 – Abadiano 17, Fortea 11, Torres 10, Quiambao 6, Gonzales 5, Felicilda 2, Alarcon 2, Dayrit 2, Javillonar 2, Enriquez 2, Mailim 0, Abiera 0.
Quarters: 16-12, 27-27, 46-45, 62-59.
Ateneo 84 – Sotto 25, Fetalvero 11, Diaz 10, Coo 10, Espinosa 7, Salandanan 6, Chiu 4, Ladimo 4, Pangilinan 3, David 2, Jaymalin 2, De Ayre 0, Lechoncito 0, Corral 0, Narciso 0.
UE 62 – Flores 17, Manaug 14, Dichoso 11, Agbas 8, Alinsoring 7, Dy Tioco 2, Almacen 2, Sullano 1, Villarta 0, Tajonera 0, Gatdula 0, Escamilla 0, Lima 0.
Quarters: 19-15, 34-34, 60-46, 84-62.
– With a report from Jason Santos/Rappler.com