Kouame stars as Ateneo outlasts rival La Salle in Filoil
Angelo Kouame delivered the crucial baskets to lift Ateneo over De La Salle, 81-75, in overtime in the Filoil Preseason Cup Tuesday night at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Kouame scored the last three field goals, including an strong inside bucket that sealed the game, 79-75, with 39.1 seconds left.
The Blue Eagles finished the elimination round with a 9-0 record in Group A while the Green Archers dropped to 7-2.
It was a preseason game with a UAAP-like atmosphere with both teams trading big shots and making crucial plays, but Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin saw it differently.
“We expect a lot more from our teams going forward I though it was a fairly sloppy game. Perhaps, when green goes against blue, it’s gonna be tough to find a well played game of basketball,” Baldwin told reporters. “But I thought particularly Santi Santillan was outstanding.”
“I don’t really have a lot to say about the game, I thought it wasn’t a great game of basketball. It might have been entertaining. I thought La Salle probably played with a bit more grit, a bit more toughness than we did. I would prefer to probably compliment them (La Salle) for the effort that they put in today than to make any positive comments about my team,” he added.
Ateneo looked on its way to a victory after Thirdy Ravena made a step back triple with the shot clock winding down that put the Eagles on top, 70-66, with 23.5 seconds left.
Ravena’s clutch play, however, only paved way for a comeback by the Green Archers, who pulled within one after a 3-pointer by Aljun Melecio.
Ateneo big man Isaac Go made only one of two from the free throw line to make it a two-point game before La Salle guard Jolo Go got free for the layup off an inbound play with 0.3 tenths of a second left to force OT.
Kouame posted 16 points, 18 rebounds and six blocks while Ravena finished with 17 points.
Santi Santillan led the Archers, who shot just 34 percent from the field, with 19 points and nine rebounds.