Near sweep in sight for Blue Eagles after Tamaraw blowout

By Mark Angelo Mañez

PHOTO: Rappler

Manila — Ateneo continued its impeccable run with another masterclass performance as they blasted FEU Tamaraws, 70-53, in Round 2 of the UAAP Season 84 Basketball Tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena, Thursday.

Raffy Verano riled up all stops on both ends as he spearheaded the Blue Eagles with his 17 point (7/11 FG) - 13 rebound double-double. He also managed to successfully swipe the ball twice, and helped them inch further of a second elimination sweep.

"I didn't think we played well today, but I think FEU had a lot to do with that. They defended us tough, they used some schemes that gave us some problems, and we didn't really adjust throughout the game," coach Tab Baldwin stressed during their postgame conference.

Guards Tyler Tio and SJ Belangel backed up Verano with their combined 22 markers (on Tio's 3-for-4 from long distance), 8 boards, 5 dimes, and 2 steals, while extending its winning streak to 39 wins dating back to Season 81.

Gian Mamuyac also made a viable contribution inside the court despite spraining his left ankle in his 14 minutes of playing time. He finished with seven markers and three boards during that span.

"Unfortunately for them, they didn't hit open shots and some days it goes like that. And in the second half we battled a little bit better, we did a better job on the boards. It was a very physical game," the American-Kiwi tactician added.

The Tamaraws did start well in the first few minutes, even nursing a 6-1 edge before coach Tab Baldwin's boys jacked up its vaunted mayhem strike and took a 17-11 cushion after ten.

Since then, coach Olsen Racela's wards went ice cold for almost eight minutes, turning a tightly-strung clash into another walk in the park for the Eagles. Emman Ojoula also found himself behest of early foul trouble in the first half and was limited to just five points.

Tamaraws' blue-chip rookie RJ Abarrientos had a rough time against his Katipunan counterparts, as he was limited to 12 markers on 4-for-14 in the field. LJay Gonzales backed him up with 10. He also added seven rebounds and four assists to dampen the impact of the loss.

Despite seeing their three game victory ride snapped, they still hold advantage as a win over UST on Saturday will boost their chances of securing a playoff ticket. 

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ATENEO 70 -- Verano 17, Tio 14, Belangel 8, Ildefonso 8, Mamuyac 7, Kouame 4, Koon 4, Mendoza 3, Padrigao 3, Chiu 2, Lazaro 0, Daves 0, Gomez 0, Andrade 0.

FEU 53 -- Abarrientos 12, Gonzales 10, Torres 8, Alforque 5, Ojuola 5, Tempra 4, Sleat 3, Sajonia 3, Celzo 2, Coquia 1, Bienes 0, Sandagon 0, Li 0.

Quarters: 17-11, 33-23, 51-34, 70-53.



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