Blue Eagles bleed Lancers dry in fourth, book first final slot
Ateneo put the clamps on University of the Visayas, holding the Green Lancers to just six points in the payoff period to seal a 95-63 decision and tab the first Philippine Collegiate Champions League final berth on Saturday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
SJ Belangel was again the spearhead of the Blue Eagles’ attack, pacing the tournament favorites with 20 points.
But it was the defense of the Eagles that came to fore after adjusting to the physicality of the Cebuanos.
“They were physical so we got bothered in during the first half,” said assistant coach Gabby Severino, who spoke in behalf of Eagles mentor Tab Baldwin.
Tyler Tio chipped in 16 points, while Will Navarro 14 and Dwight Ramos 11 in the stand that put Ateneo at the threshold of repeating as tournament champions.
“We just went back to the basic things,” Severino added.
UV, which was coming off an upset of Cebu champion Southwestern U, drew 21 points from Lassina Coulibaly.
Melvin Botuhan, Jancork Cabahug, and Michael Maestre all finished with double-digit scores for the Green Lancers, who kept it close in the middle quarters.
Baldwin, who politely declined interviews following his hospitalization last weekend, said he didn’t want the spotlight on him. He did, however, note that he was “doing OK.”
Ateneo awaits the winner of the San Beda-University of the Philippines clash that was being played at press time.