MANILA, Philippines — UAAP champion Ateneo flexed its muscles against NCAA titlist San Beda for a 66-49 clobbering Sunday to barge into the finals of the Philippine Collegiate Champions League (PCCL).
The Blue Eagles shrugged off a slow start then zoomed away to as big as 20 points twice in the game, setting up another clash with University of Santo Tomas in the finale.
It was Ateneo’s suffocating defense that rendered the Red Lions– who missed the services of center Ola Adeogun — motionless especially in the third quarter.
While the Blue Eagles connected from almost angles, the Red Lions struggled mightily from the field and especially inside the paint.
“I didn’t expect to win this match by this big, our defense helped us,” said Nico Salva, who led his squad with 16 markers and six rebounds.
In the third quarter, Ateneo held San Beda to just five points while pouring 20 to post a 58-38 spread on a steal plus the lay-in by Kiefer Ravena.
Greg Slaughter had 11 points and 12 rebounds, making it another 20-point edge in the fourth quarter with 3:49 left after San Beda made a mini-run.
Baser Amer and Jake Pascual were the only two Red Lions who finished in double-figures with 15 and 10 points, respectively.
The back-to-back NCAA titlist just didn’t have the size to match up with the Blue Eagles Sunday, and really had a hard time executing on defense.
San Beda faces Southwestern University in the battle for third while Ateneo starts its best-of-three series with UST on Tuesday.
“It’s the rematch of the UAAP finals, it’s gonna be a great match up,” said Salva.
For the sixth time, Ateneo has made it to the finals of the national tournament while the trophy returns to the UAAP after San Sebastian won it last year.