Ateneo survives late Adamson rally to kickstart 3-peat campaign
MANILA, Philippines – Ateneo's title three-peat campaign got off to a good start as the Blue Eagles clipped the Adamson Soaring Falcons, 70-52, in the UAAP Season 82 at the Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday, September 4.
Ange Kouame, last season’s Rookie of the Year, picked up right where he left off and delivered a dominant performance of 17 points,11 rebounds, 6 blocks, and 3 steals. His strong first-half outing helped the defending champs get up to a 32-23 lead at intermission, which ballooned to as high as 22 midway through the 3rd.
However, one-and-done transferee Val Chauca almost single-handedly brought Adamson back in the game, starting with a booming triple in the 4th to get within 9, 39-48.
They got as close as 5 points, 45-50, as debuting big man Lenda Douanga capped off a 19-2 charge with a putback midway through the period.
But Ateneo’s championship poise shone through in the endgame with a 13-0 finishing kick, highlighted by a four-point play by veteran Adrian Wong in the last 2:02 of regulation.
"We knew it was going to be tough," said Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin. "It's the last team I really wanted to see in the first game."
Matt Nieto also delivered 14 points and dished out 4 assists, while Thirdy Ravena chipped in a double-double of 10 points and 13 rebounds for the Blue Eagles.
Ateneo 70 – Kouame 17, Ma. Nieto 14, Ravena 10, Navarro 9, Belangel 7, Go 4, Mi. Nieto 3, Wong 3, Mamuyac 2, Tio 1, Andrade 0, Daves 0, Credo 0.
Adamson 52 – Chauca 17, Ahanmisi 7, Douanga 7, Camacho 4, Manlapaz 4, Fermin 4, Flowers 4, Lastimosa 3, Magbuhos 2, Zaldivar 0, Bernardo 0, Sabandal 0, Yerro 0, Mojica 0.
Quarters: 16-6, 32-23, 48-36, 70-52.