UAAP: Ateneo nears Final Four, eliminates UE
MANILA, Philippines — Jared Brown fired six three-pointers to finish with 21 points and help Ateneo secure at least a playoff for the last Final Four with an 80-74 victory, eliminating University of the East in the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball tournament on Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena.
Brown shot a perfect 4-of-4 from beyond the arc at the half to set the tone in the Blue Eagles’ important win, while Kai Ballungay delivered 15 points, five assists, and four rebounds to tighten their grip on the fourth seed with a 7-6 record.
“Going into this game I just knew it was it was a do or die or just if we win it really puts us in a good position for the Final Four and for me, the past two games I shot it pretty poorly and you know Coach Tab, always he gives me the most confidence he always trust me to take those shots and so I just had had to do my job and knock them down and luckily they went in today,” said Brown.
An Adamson (5-7) loss to National University later at 6 p.m. completes the Final Four cast.
Joseph Obasa sustained his fine play with 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting and tallied 11 rebounds, two blocks, and one steal, pouncing on the Warriors, who missed top rookie candidate Precious Momowei serving a one-game suspension after committing his second unsportsmanlike foul of the season last Sunday against La Salle.
However, Brown said they “weren’t as locked in” in the fourth quarter after blowing a 65-48 lead early in the period as Allen Maglupay and Wello Lingolingo hit back-to-back treys to put UE within four, 72-68, with 2:15 left. The Blue Eagles were able to restore the order as Mason Amos scored a clutch basket from the post. 75-68, and made their crucial free throws to keep the Red Warriors at bay.
“It was disappointing to turn the ball over as much as we did and not be more dominant in the rebounding. They’re missing Precious and we had a significant size advantage. I thought we fell in love with the three a little too much, but again, I think UE wanted us to shoot the three. So we shot it pretty well, which is good, but I think we should’ve had a more determined mindset to dominate the paint,” said Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin.
“But really, turning the ball over as much as we did, giving them the fast break points and the points off turnovers that we gave them, it really is a sign that we weren’t locked in like we should be. This is a team that unfortunately still demonstrates that at times and maybe we were looking ahead to La Salle, which was really foolish, but we got the win and we move on. I’m happy we got the win, but our performance certainly wasn’t our best.”
The Red Warriors bombed out of Final Four contention after sliding to a 4-9 record.
Noy Remogat carried the cudgels of UE with 22 points, seven assists, five rebounds, and three steals. Lingolingo had 14 points. Abdul Sawat and Ethan Galang added 12 points each as they wore white tapes with a ‘Free. P’ and ‘Pres. Battad’ on their jerseys while Remogat wrote ‘ROTY# 21’ the jersey number of his teammate Momowei, who is no longer eligible to receive an award after his suspension.
UE also announced that Dr. Zosimo M. Battad has informed the Board of Trustees of the UAAP that he is resigning as the league’s Season 86 Chairman of the Board.
Ateneo (80) – Brown 21, Ballungay 15, Obasa 13, Espinosa 5, Koon 5, Chiu 5, Amos 4, Nieto 3, Quitevis 3, Gamber 3, Credo 2, Celis 1, Lazaro 0, Bongo 0, Tuano 0.
UE (74) – Remogat 22, Lingolingo 14, Galang 12, Sawat 12, Alcantara 6, Maglupay 5, Langit 2, Tulabut 1, Cruz-Dumont 0, Spandonis 0, Cabero 0, Gilbuena 0, Manalang 0.
Quarterscores: 18-21, 42-34, 62-48, 80-74