Dave Ildefonso tallied 20 points and four rebounds which proved to be pivotal in the Blue Eagles’ 17-0 run in the third quarter that left the Red Warriors unable to convert baskets for six minutes. After the smoke settled, the margin was already pegged at 63-46 which was too much to overcome for UE.
With a safe distance from the Red Warriors, the Blue Eagles pulled their second stringers out for some extended minutes on the floor to improve their record to 5-2 heading into the second round.
“We’re comfortable with where we’re at,” said Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin. “Of course, we’d like to have a higher placing but the two games we lost were competitive games.
“Obviously, UP is the standard-setter in the league right now and La Salle – you know that’s a rivalry game. When you look at La Salle’s record now, you might think that’s a disappointing loss for us. While it is disappointing, when you put it in context, anything can happen in a La Salle-Ateneo game,” the three-time UAAP champion coach continued.
Ballungay added 15 markers for Ateneo while Forthsky Padrigao and Bj Andrade registered 11 points apiece.
The Blue Eagles’ persistence paid off with 18 second-chance points as well as 50 points in the paint. In contrast, the Red Warriors were only able to muster two and 26 in both statistics.
For UE’s side, Kyle Paranada and Harvey Pagsanjan had 17 points each while Luis Villegas posted a double-double performance of 10 points on top of 13 rebounds as they were handed a 3-4 win-loss card.
ATENEO 91 — Ildefonso 20, Ballungay 14, Padrigao 11, Andrade 11, Kouame 8, Lazaro 6, Garcia 6, Fornilos 4, Gomez 3, Koon 2, Chiu 2, Quitevis 2, Daves 2, Fetalvero 0, Lao 0, Ong 0.
UE 76 — Pagsanjan 17, K. Paranada 17, Villegas 10, Stevens 8, Remogat 6, Payawal 5, Alcantara 4, Sawat 2, Beltran 0, Antiporda 0, Guevarra 0.
Quarters: 21-21, 46-44, 65-50, 91-76.
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