The Eagle Soars!

Yesterday’s game was awesome… exhiliratig yet at the same time something new – you see I’ve always been used to games where La Salle would take the lead during the first half, heck, even the first three quarters, and Ateneo would just catch, either to close the lead or to do a “come from behind” win. But yesterday’s game was a total turnaround. Not only did Ateneo grab the lead during the first quarter, but the Blue Eagles managed to maintain that lead – the scores not coming closer then 3 points – until the buzzer end the last quarter.

Go Ateneo! One Big Fight!

Some photos courtesy of Ubelt.com:

More pictures can be found here: http://ubelt.com/photos/viewgallery.aspx?id=786

And from the official Ubelt blogs: http://ubelt.com/blogs/jeffersonreyes/viewpost.aspx?id=949

Ateneo thwarts La Salle’s bid for twice-to-beat

The Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) Blue Eagles routed once again archrivals De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Archers, 65-57, stamping their impressive UAAP performance with a 13-1 win-loss card that solidified their top position and foiling DLSU’s bid for a twice-to-beat ticket in the Final Four as the 71st UAAP men’s basketball competition closed its eliminations on September 6 at the Big Dome.

Amidst a crowd of 22, 136, Ateneo forced a playoff match between Far Eastern University (FEU) and La Salle, who both finished the eliminations with a 10-4 slate to determine who is securing the semi-final incentive.

In the second half, Rabah Al-Hussaini and Nonoy Baclao powered the Eagles’ sweep of their nemesis in a game that saw no deadlocks and lead changes.

Al-Hussaini collected 18 points, 11 rebounds, one assist and a block while Baclao finished with a total of 11 points, six boards, one assist and four rejections.

Reyes added 10 markers, two rebounds and three assists.

With the Katipunan-based squad only up by three in the third frame, 36-33 after Simon Atkins’ trey for DLSU, Baclao made a put-back with 8:40 left that extended the lead anew to five, 38-33.

Bader Malabes breezed through a fast break for La Salle with 7:50 left that cut the deficit back to three, 38-35.

Baclao once again blasted a follow-up shot followed by a confident triple that padded Ateneo’s cushion to eight with 6:47 left, 43-35.

Al-Hussani and Jai Reyes combined for seven straight points that included a Reyes’ trey and an Al-Hussaini shot coming from a long pass by Reyes to complete a 12-0 run that expanded Ateneo’s advantage to 15, 50-35, which also was the biggest lead in the match.

In the final canto, Al-Hussaini continued his aggressive play nailing his signature hook shots with 7:05 and 5:44 left to hold Ateneo’s lead, 58-50.

Baclao fired a winding shot from under the hoop with 2:26 left securing the win for the Blue Eagles as Reyes made one of his charities with 30.9 ticks left for the end-score.

Ateneo started hot early in the first quarter unleashing a 12-2 run under the wings of Chris Tiu, Ryan Buenafe, Al-Hussaini and Reyes to tally the score at 16-4.

Meanwhile, Eric Salamat completed a steal and a fast break with 2:26 remaining to make it 18-6 for the Blue and White.

Despite being outscored by the Archers in the second quarter, 15-16, the Blue Eagles still maintained their lead at the close of the frame, 36-28, following a strong trey by Reyes with 2:50 left as a response to the former triple of Bader Malabas of DLSU putting the game at 34-25.

Meanwhile, for the Archers, Rico Maierhofer took charge in the final canto blasting seven of his total of 16 markers on top of his 10 rebounds, an assist, two steals and a block. This included a trey with 3:34 left to trim AdMU’s margin to five, 62-54.

Simon Atkins, who steered the gear for DLSU in the third frame, contributed a total of nine points, five of which he made in succession at the opening minutes of the said quarter to cut Ateneo’s deficit.

It was surprising that La Salle team captain and playmaker JV Casio was limited to a game-low of five points, all of which he made in the final quarter

Overall, Ateneo’s defense made the cut taking advantage of the Taft based-cagers’ low shooting percentage at only 33.8% compared to 48.1% of the Blue and White.

Eagles’ head coach Norman Black even remarked, “Our defense won this one.”

The scheduled rubber match between the Archers and the Tamaraws will be on September 11, Thursday.

On the other hand, Ateneo, donning the twice-to-beat advantage prepares to meet its Final Four contender, fourth seed, University of the East (UE).

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