Ateneo Blue Eagles def. UE Red Warriors 89-62

NOTABLE PLAYERS

Angelo Kouame, Ateneo (8 points, 15 rebounds)

What a tower of power this guy is. Props to UE for crowding on Kouame when he started to pour on points from the inside, but his defense continues to be his primary strength. As long as he plays good enough defense, Ateneo will be fine.

Raffy Verano, Ateneo (12 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists)

Verano was a pleasant surprise because somehow, he managed to chip in a quiet 12 points to lead the Blue Eagles. I say quiet, because they were points off three-pointers or even drives to the rim. They were easy baskets created off the movement of Ateneo, and there’s beauty in finishing those plays. Here’s to Raffy’s ankle healing well enough for him to play come Saturday.

Jolo Mendoza, Ateneo (9 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists)

There was a different kind of gigil to Jolo’s game yesterday, and I’m all in for it. He hasn’t translated into the Phenom we expected him to be coming out of High School, but you can’t deny his scoring prowess. If he keeps up the same kind of gigil in the long run, he could be in for heavy minutes as a shooting guard.

Alvin Pasaol, UE (17 points, 8 rebounds)

His performance may seem like he had his usual game, but that was certainly not the case. The Blue Eagles did a good job of defending him, especially Thirdy Ravena who limited his touches whenever he’d be placed on Pasaol. But great scorers find ways to score, and Pasaol took advantage of every opportunity when Thirdy wasn’t on the floor.

QUICK ANALYSIS

  • Uh-oh. Here come the Blue Eagles. But let me play devil’s advocate and say, this wasn’t as good a game as the box score would suggest from the Blue Eagles. The primary reason for that: turnovers. For a team that’s supposed to be a well-oiled machine, committing 17 turnovers is A LOT. It’s also been their problem for the entire season, as they rank third in turnovers just behind the UST Growling Tigers and the Red Warriors. It’s because of these turnovers that the UE was able to get easy points off fast breaks. Not a good look for the offense of Ateneo.
  • Without nitpicking, however, man, HERE COME THE BLUE EAGLES. They’re starting to round out into form, and at the core of that has been their defense. Angelo Kouame continues to be their MVP as his rim protection and mobility have done wonders for the defense of the Blue Eagles. With Kouame as an anchor, the perimeter defense has been given the freedom to play with more aggressiveness. A terrifying combo for the Blue Eagles.
  • Settle down, UE fans. The kids will be alright. This was the worst blowout they’ve gotten this season, but there were some bright spots in this game. One such player: Lucas Cullar, who ignited a run for the Red Warriors during the third quarter thanks to his pressure defense. With Cullar fighting, the rest of the Red Warriors followed suit. There’s the #PUSO Pasaol was looking for two games ago.
  • To add: as Pasaol-centric as UE has looked because of his monster scoring averages, they actually haven’t been force-feeding Air Sambokojin the ball. They’ve been running their system, looking for the best possible shot instead of their best player. An absolute recipe for success in the long run.