Ateneo fends off Tokai to rule World University Basketball Series

Ateneo wins inaugural WUBS in Japan. –

Ateneo wins inaugural WUBS in Japan. –SMART SPORTS PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–Ateneo was crowned the first champion of the World University Basketball Series (WUBS) after triumphing over Tokai University of Japan, 68-59, at Yoyogi National Stadium Second Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan on Thursday.

After holding on to a 43-41 lead at the end of third, the Blue Eagles did enough to overcome their Japanese foes and sweep the four-team pocket tournament which serves as part of their preparation for the upcoming UAAP season.

Tokai was more efficient from the line, shooting 73% (16-for-22) compared to Ateneo’s 48% (11-for-23) but the Blue Eagles shot better from the field with 35.5% over the Seagulls’ 26%.

The Blue Eagles also outrebounded the Seagulls, 40-31 and passed the ball more effectively with 16 assists.

Dave Ildefonso led the team’s crowning win with 14 points and six rebounds. Josh Lazaro, Forth Padrigao, BJ Andrade and Paul Garcia also combined for 32 markers with eight for each.

The Blue Eagles were without star center Ange Kouame, who’s still nursing a partial ACL tear and meniscal sprain.

They crushed  Universitas Pelita Harapan of Indonesia by 86 points to open the competition followed up by a come-from-behind win over National Chengchi University of Chinese Taipei.