Ateneo holds off La Salle for 2-0 start
MANILA, Philippines—Ateneo withstood a late run by fierce rival La Salle, 81-69, to stay unbeaten in the UAAP Season 82 men’s basketball tournament Sunday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Blue Eagles took a big lead after finishing the second quarter with a 21-1 run but needed the strong play of Gian Mamuyac to hold off the Green Archers late.
Mamuyac scored eight of his 14 points in the final frame to help Ateneo improve to 2-0. La Salle opened its campaign with a loss.
Ateneo weathered a strong start from La Salle, that included a Jamie Malonzo poster dunk on Thirdy Ravena, eventually going on the offensive in the second quarter with a 21-1 run to take a 51-29 lead heading into the break.
Twins Mike and Matt Nieto already combined for 23 points in the first two quarters, just six points fewer than the what the whole Green Archers had.
La Salle tried to fight back in the fourth getting to as close as eight, 75-67, but Mamuyac came to Ateneo’s rescue scoring four straight points to close the game out for the Blue Eagles.
“That break we had in the second quarter was a surprise to us and to them and that was the cushion we needed,” said Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin. “Our offensive cohesion isn’t anywhere it needs to be and that’s a reflection on me as much as anything else.”
Mike finished with 18 points with five rebounds, and four assists to lead Ateneo’s offense while brother Matt added 15 points.
Malonzo had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Green Archers.