By Ryann Yap

After a huge margin victory over Indonesia, the Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU) Blue Eagles maintained a clean 2-0 slate as they edged Taiwan’s National Chengchi University (NCCU) Griffins, 88-78, and booked a championship match ticket at the World University Basketball Series (WUBS), last Wednesday, at Yoyogi National Stadium in Tokyo, Japan.

PHOTO: GMA Network

Ateneo opened the final frame with a 15-5 run to regain the lead, 69-68, due to their explosive offense led by Kai Ballungay, followed by BJ Andrade’s splash from the rainbow country to earn a four-point cushion and momentum.

Ballungay listed 21 points from four treys, including seven rebounds, alongside Joseph Obasa’s post-up dominance with his 17 points and 15 rebounds double-double performance, enough to seal the deal.

ADMU was on the trailing side in most parts of the game, even getting down by 11 points at the two-minute mark of the third frame, but was able to trim it down to single digits at the end of the quarter, 57-64.

Sharpshooter Paul Garcia unleashed two consecutive makes from downtown to open up the final quarter and bring the Blue Eagles down to just one point, 63-64.

However, Mouhamed Mbaye answered the call with his back-to-back high-percentage baskets, including a fast-break alley-oop dunk, as NCCU held on to a 68-65 advantage.

Mbaye flexed 20 points and nine rebounds, while his mate Lee Yun-Chieh fabricated 14 points, but fell short to counter Ateneo’s fourth quarter comeback.

With the game going down to the wire, Dave Ildefonso made a right-wing three plus an assist to Ballungay on the next play to grip on the four-point lead Ateneo obtained, 77-73.

Ildefonso got the assignment done with his own double-double output with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

The Blue Eagles will face Japan’s Tokai University who also got a clean 2-0 record, for the championship onThursday.