Ateneo rallies past Chinese Taipei’s NCCU to go 2-0 in Japan tournament

Ateneo Blue Eagles in the  World University Basketball Series.

Ateneo Blue Eagles in the World University Basketball Series. -RAKUTEN SPORTS STREAM

MANILA, Philippines–Ateneo registered a come-from-behind win over National Chengchi University of Chinese Taipei, 88-78, to stay unbeaten in the World University Basketball Series (WUBS) on Wednesday in Tokyo, Japan.

Unlike their 86-point decimation of Universitas Pelita Harapan of Indonesia on Tuesday, the Blue Eagles found themselves in a tougher challenge against the Griffins, the champions of Chinese Taipei’s own university basketball league.

After trailing by 11 midway through the third quarter, Ateneo slowly chipped away at NCCU’s lead with newcomer Paul Garcia knocking down two triples to cut it down to one, 64-63.

Rookie Joseph Obasa converted inside to finally put Ateneo up front, 69-68, with 4:20 to play.

The Griffin managed to stay close, 77-76, but Kai Ballungay splashed a triple to keep them at bay, 80-76, before the Blue Eagles closed out their foes with an 8-2 run.

Ballungay led Ateneo in scoring with 20 points.

NCCU’s Senegalese student Mohamed Mbaye also finished with 20 markers in the loss.

The Blue Eagles will square up against Tokai University of Japan at 2pm on Thursday in a virtual battle for the WUBS crown with both teams holding a 2-0 record, at 2:00 P.M., Philippine time.