Ateneo Blue Eagles def. DLSU Green Archers 71-55
Angelo Kouame, Ateneo (20 points, 13 rebounds, 5 blocks)
Like his thunderous end game dunk, Ange Kouame emphatically slammed his place as the top MVP contender for the season thus far. The Blue Eagles foreign student athlete was once again dominant particularly on the defensive end as his length and mobility made it hard for De La Salle to find baskets. He also continued to show flashes of an improved offensive repertoire. Three pointers, anyone? How about a coast to coast and-1 layup? If he continuously plays like this, the whole UAAP is in for a scary ride for the next several years.
Thirdy Ravena, Ateneo (9 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists)
Yes, Thirdy Ravena’s numbers in this game may not be as flashy as his previous outings but the proven do it all second generation star was a force of stability for the Blue Eagles against their arch-rivals. Whenever Ravena was on the floor, the offense of Ateneo was in fluid motion, often finding wide open shots for his teammates as evidenced in his six dimes while also looking for his own shots within the flow of Tab Baldwin’s system. It’s just a tad different luxury when Ravena is on your team.
Isaac Go (6 points and 6 rebounds) and Tyler Tio (5 points and 2 assists)
During Ateneo’s blitzing third quarter run which saw them opened up the biggest lead of the game at 17, it was Go and Tio’s timely contributions that capped off the hammering point for the Blue Eagles en route to their win. Highly known for hitting the clutch three-pointer which sealed Ateneo’s championship last year against the same team, Go’s work in the offensive rebounds in the second half and in defense, forcing multiple stops and offensive fouls, proved helpful while Tio’s five straight points, including the buzzer-beating three to end the third cant, was just the pedal to the metal for the Eagles’ scorching run.
Aljun Melecio, La Salle (21 points and 7 rebounds)
When the Blue Eagles put their stamp on the game never looked back, Aljun Melecio was left as the sole warrior for the helpless Green Archers. The 5’9” scoring guard was relentless in attacking Ateneo’s defense and finding his own shots just to keep De La Salle’s hopes alive. Don’t let his stature fool you as Melecio will always have that Mamba Mentality instilled in his veins and we are all in for it.
- Turning the defensive slugfest of a game to their advantage, as always, the Blue Eagles meticulously tore apart the Green Archers by utilizing again Tab Baldwin’s pressing defense. They were able to make use of their overall mobility and cohesiveness defensively, led by none other than the shot blocking beast in Kouame, to limit the Green Archers in just 31% FG shooting.
- The game was definitely a sore to the eyes of those hoping for a modern shootout type of contest, but it was a grind out affair. De La Salle was quick to set their defensive game plan in the first half, often blitzing Ateneo’s pick and roll actions, which led to the Blue Eagles forcing contested low percentage shots. Ateneo, however, embraced the challenge as they continuously forced the Archers to multiple turnovers. La Salle racked up a ridiculous 28 turnovers, 15 in the first half alone, which the Blue Eagles then feasted 30 points off of. Let that sink in.
- Coming into the game, Ateneo was regarded as the favorites because of their team play and rightfully so as it showed thru their balanced attack both offensively and defensively. Kouame, Ravena and Anton Asistio led the Blue Eagles in scoring but it was the other players off the bench such as Go, Tio and Raffy Verano that made lofty contributions. Meanwhile, De La Salle was digging for points throughout the game as Melecio was the only player in double digits while the savvy frontline of Justin Baltazar and Santi Santillan was held to an awry 11 points combined on a 4-of-11 shooting. The Green Archers also just piled up THREE ASSISTS compared to Ateneo’s 14. No wonder La Salle Head Coach Louie Gonzales admitted post game that they were forced to play a “selfish” kind of basketball throughout the contest.
- The Green Archers led the league in the rebounding department and it showed again in this game as they outrebounded Ateneo, 54-43. There was also an instance in the game where they grabbed four straight offensive rebounds in one possession. If the Archers continue to dominate the boards moving forward especially with their talented frontcourt, then they should be fine.