UAAP: Ateneo dominates rival La Salle to go 4-0
MANILA, Philippines — Ange Kouame propelled Ateneo’s second half surge to turn back rival La Salle, 74-57, and remain the lone unbeaten team in the UAAP Season 84 men’s basketball tournament on Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena.
Kouame was nearly unstoppable with a double-double 16 points and 19 rebounds including two blocks to keep the Blue Eagles unbeaten in four games in their first rivalry game with the Green Archers in this pandemic-era.
The Gilas Pilipinas naturalized center capped Ateneo’s 16-4 run in the third quarter, turning a one point lead into a 58-45 spread heading to the final frame, where Kouame sustained his dominant inside presence to push their lead to as much as 69-52 with 2:37 left.
This was Ateneo’s s 30th straight victory dating back to October 2018.
Transferee Dave Ildefonso was also instrumental with 12 points, five rebounds, and two assists, while Gian Mamuyac was a revelation in the clash of the country’s fiercest rivals, scoring 11 points and displayed a tremendous defense with six steals and six rebounds.
“Tough game. It was a game where it was never comfortable until the very end. We just kept squeezing and we rebounded the ball so much better in the fourth. Defense was solid for the whole game but we’re not rebounding the ball. It didn’t look so good,” said Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin.
“In the fourth quarter, we got much better and both teams played themselves to a stand still. Tickled to death we came out on top.”
La Salle absorbed its first defeat of the season, falling to 3-1 good for the second place.
Michael Phillips led the Green Archers scoring nine of his 13 points in the second quarter and grabbed 10 rebounds in his first Ateneo-La Salle game.
Mark Nonoy finished with 12 points but he was limited to 3-of-10 shooting to go with three rebounds and two assists. Evan Nelle added 10 points, while Justine Baltazar, who was coming off a 20-point and 11-rebound performance, was held to just five points on 2-of-10 shooting but had 12 rebounds.
ATENEO 74 — Kouame 16, Ildefonso 12, Mamuyac 11, Belangel 8, Tio 6, Koon 6, Chiu 6, Andrade 3, Verano 2, Padrigao 2, Lazaro 2.
LA SALLE 57 — M. Phillips 13, Nonoy 12, Nelle 10, Lojera 9, Winston 6, Baltazar 5, Nwankwo 2, Manuel 0, Austria 0, B. Phillips 0.
Quarters: 16-11, 35-32, 58-45, 74-57.