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UAAP: Ateneo rolls past slumping La Salle

UAAP: Ateneo rolls past slumping La Salle

Dave Ildefonso Ateneo Blue Eagles UAAP

Dave Ildefonso from Ateneo. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/

MANILA, Philippines — Ateneo reduced their seething rivalry with La Salle to a one-sided encounter with a blistering 68-54 win on Saturday night in the UAAP Season 85 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Ange Kouame came back with a vengeance, making his way to 11 points, 14 rebounds, five blocks and three steals while Chris Koon scored all of his 11 points in the second half as the Blue Eagles clawed back lost ground to the Green Archers in their first-round encounter.

Capitalizing on the understaffed Archers, the Blue Eagles also rebounded from a crushing loss to the National University Bulldogs where Kouame, the league’s reigning MVP, produced just two runs.

As the Blue Eagles slipped to third in solo at 6-3, the Archers’ fourth straight loss, their sixth loss overall in nine games, gave the UP Fighting Maroons an automatic race to the Final Four.

This will be the defending champions Maroons’ fourth straight appearance in the semi-finals.

The Archers appeared to have dealt with their manpower shortage after missing MVP leader Schonny Winston for the second straight outing with a strained calf and Raven Cortez, who continues to battle a sprained ankle.

But after staying in the thick of the fight in the first half, the Archers simply couldn’t find a response to the Blue Eagles’ attacking prowess in the second half.

Koon started shooting from long range and finished with three triples, Dave Ildefonso and Vince Gomez punched holes in La Salle’s defense and by the end of the third quarter Ateneo were already 17 points ahead of the triple by Rence Padrigão.

From there, it was all downhill for the Green Archers, whose only bright spot was Evan Nelle’s 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists after a one-game suspension.

The sheet music:

ATENEO 68 — Ildefonso 12, Kouame 11, Ballungay 11, Koon 11, Padrigao 11, Andrade 8, Gomez 2, Chiu 2, Lazaro 0.

ROOM 54 — Nelle 15, Nwankwo 7, Quiambao 6, Nonoy 6, Austria 5, Estacio 5, Manuel 4, M. Phillips 3, Abadam 2, Macalalag 1.

Quarters: 10-16, 29-29, 56-39, 68-54.

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