MANILA, Philippines – The Ateneo Blue Eagles dug deep to break away late against Taiwan’s National Chengchi University (NCCU) Griffins, 88-78, in their second game at the World University Basketball Series (WUBS) in Japan on Wednesday, August 10.
With the win, Ateneo’s next match on Thursday, August 11, 2 pm (Manila time) against hometown team Tokai University Seagulls will now be the championship match of the pocket tournament.
Kai Ballungay flexed his shooting touch with 21 points in as many minutes on a near-perfect 8-of-9 shooting and 4-of-5 from three, plus 7 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals.
Nigerian reinforcement Joseph Obasa also tallied a huge 17-point, 15-rebound double-double for Ateneo, while Dave Ildefonso – in his first game back from injury – had a double-double of 14 points and 11 boards.
In contrast to their 86-point cruise against Indonesia’s Universitas Pelita Harapan a day earlier, the Blue Eagles needed to claw their way back from an 11-point deficit in the third quarter, and still trailed, 55-64, early in the fourth.
Ateneo then finally found its shooting stroke after a lackluster first three quarters and fired off a 13-3 run to go up by one, 68-67, off a Ballungay alley-oop finish midway through the fourth.
Although NCCU held on to stay within two, 78-80, in the last two minutes, the Griffins shooting turned ice-cold at the worst time as the Blue Eagles controlled the endgame with timely free throws until time expired.
Ateneo newcomer Paul Garcia followed up a 17-point outing with 12 points and 6 rebounds, while Forthsky Padrigao scored 8 with 6 assists and 3 boards. – Rappler.com