UAAP: Ateneo dominates La Salle for fifth straight win
Ateneo took care of business and overpowered De La Salle, 71-55, in the rivals first matchup of the UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball tournament Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena.
The Blue Eagles improved to a 5-1 record, half-a-game behind leader Adamson University which holds a 5-0 card, while the Green Archers dropped to a 3-3 slate and managed to hold on to the fourth spot.
Ateneo meant business early on and outscored the Green Archers 16-8 in the second quarter to take a 28-21 lead heading into the break.
That seven-point lead eventually ballooned to 17 in the third quarter when Tyler Tio scored on three-pointer with seven seconds left in the period for the 50-33 buffer off a 7-0 Ateneo run.
“We just focused on what we had to do and we did it well,” said Ateneo assistant coach Sandy Arespacochaga who was aware of the effect the returning Kib Montalbo had on La Salle’s overall performance.
Montalbo injured his right thumb late September and was expected to miss almost a month of action but he forced his way and suited up for the Green Archers in their game against the Blue Eagles.
“We had a strategy on playing defense and that was the big emphasis coming into this game.”
Ateneo limited La Salle to just 18 field goals in 62 attempts and that stifling defense also translated to 28 turnovers on the part of the Green Archers.
The Blue Eagles’ non-stop pressure also forced the Green Archers to a lot of one-on-one situations with La Salle tallying just three assists while Ateneo had 14.
Angelo Kouame put up 20 points, 13 rebounds, and five blocks for Ateneo while Anton Asistio added 12 points.
Thirdy Ravena became Ateneo’s de facto playmaker with nine points and six assists.
Aljun Melecio carried La Salle’s offense with 21 points on 5-of-18 shooting with seven rebounds.
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