Ateneo cruises past NU, moves on cusp of outright finals spot




MANILA, Philippines – The undefeated Ateneo Blue Eagles hardly broke a sweat in their 88-51 manhandling of the cellar-dwelling NU Bulldogs in the UAAP Season 82 men’s basketball tournament at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City on Saturday, October 26. 

With their 13th straight win this season, the Eagles moved one win away from clinching their first elimination sweep in the Final Four era. 

No team had completed a 14-0 sweep since the Paul Lee-led UE Red Warriors way back in Season 70. 

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs dropped to 2-11, officially matching their worst record in 10 years. 

Ange Kouame finished with 17 points, 13 in the first half, plus 13 rebounds and 3 blocks, while Thirdy Ravena chipped in 15 markers on a 6-of-13 shooting to power the Blue Eagles.

“It’s satisfying. Two weeks in a row, two games in a row, we’ve come out with a great attitude,” said Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin.

The Eagles did whatever they wanted against the hapless Bulldogs from the get-go, turning an 11-2 start to a 14-point lead at halftime, 44-27. At that point, Kouame alone had outscored the entire NU starting lineup, 13-10. 

Things only got worse for the Bulldogs in the second half as they went down by 29 multiple times against the Eagles, the last on a split SJ Belangel trip at the line with 39 ticks left for a 65-36 Ateneo lead heading into the 4th. 

Belangel then crossed the 30-point mark with a triple to start the final frame, 68-36. From there, Ateneo got as far ahead as 37 points, 88-51, off a crafty Troy Mallillin layup in the final 40 ticks of regulation.

Shaun Ildefonso paced NU in another embarrassing loss with 21 points on an 8-of-16 clip while his brother Dave got held to just 2 markers in 26 minutes on the floor.

The Scores

Ateneo 88 – Kouame 17, Ravena 15, Tio 9, Wong 8, Belangel 7, Mamuyac 5, Nieto Mi 5, Andrade 4, Daves 4, Go 4, Mallillin 4, Chiu 3, Maagdenberg 3, Nieto Ma 0.

NU 51 – Ildefonso S 21, Gallego 9, Tibayan 8, Minerva 4, Clemente 3, Gaye 2, Ildefonso D 2, Rangel 2, Diputado 0, Galinato 0, Joson 0, Malonzo 0, Mangayao 0, Mosqueda 0, Oczon 0, Yu 0.

Quarters: 22-12, 44-27, 65-36, 88-51.