Isaac Go reminded everyone just how good he really is. The sweet-shooting center dominated with 28 points to power the Ateneo Blue Eagles to a 74-62 win over the San Beda Red Lions in Game 2 Thursday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig
The win extends the best-of-three series to Saturday.
Go played almost 32 minutes as Ateneo's lone center and added 10 rebounds and two blocks to his tally. Tyler Tio was Go's main back-up as the guard finished with 18 points and five assists. Thirdy Ravena and Adrian Wong also scored in double digits with a combined 21 points.
"This is actually the first time I'm seeing the team," said coach Tab Baldwin. "And I thought they played very well amidst the circumstances and having no preparation."
The game started with the Blue Eagles not having a single player on their bench. Starters Go, Tio, Wong, Jason Credo, and RV Berjay played all 10 minutes of the first quarter.
The five-strong crew of Ateneo trailed 18-16 after the first 10 minutes.
"The five guys in the first quarter did a heck of a job as they kept the pace where it needed to be. They did not let the game get too interesting and that set the tone for the other guys when they came in because they had something to live up to," Baldwin added.
Ravena, SJ Belangel, Jolo Mendoza, and BJ Andrade all arrived prior to the start of the second period, which sparked a run for the Blue Eagles as they went on a 9-0 spurt capped by a basket from Andrade that gave them a 25-18 advantage.
Ravena heated up late in the first half as he scored eight points in rapid succession to help Ateneo take a 38-28 advantage heading into the third.
The Blue Eagles looked like they were in complete control of the match midway through the third as Ravena scored on a basket to extend their lead to 12, 48-36. However, San Beda went on an 8-0 run powered by seven straight points from Clint Doliguez to trim their deficit down to four, 48-44.
Ateneo got a big break to end the period as Credo got an offensive rebound in the shaded area and turned it into a three-point play for a 51-44 lead.
The Blue Eagles scorched hot in the opening minutes of the final canto with Go, Tio, and Wong hitting four three-point shots on four straight plays to rebuild a double-digit lead, 63-50 with less than six minutes remaining in the contest.
With the Red Lions threatening a comeback, Go hit two more 3-point shots, his third and fourth in the final period, which extended the Ateneo lead 72-56 and effectively put the game away for the Blue Eagles.
James Kweku-Teye led San Beda with 24 points. He was perfect from the 3-point range with five makes in the first half but he was not able to add to his tally in the third and fourth.
"Neither team had much preparation and to be honest, we could have stunk up the gym. The conditions were not ideal but we still wanted to play well, we still wanted to execute and be efficient," Baldwin said. "It's just says something about the team wanting to play the game the right way."
Ateneo (74): Go 28, Tio 18, Ravena 11, Wong 10, Andrade 3, Credo 3, Belangel 1, Mendoza 0, Berjay 0.
San Beda (62): Kweku-Teye 24,Doliguez 14, Oftana 13, Tankoua 8, Etrata 2, Nelle 1, Abuda 0, Obenza 0, Soberano 0, Alfaro 0, Visser 0, Cuntapay 0, Carino 0.
Quarters: 16-18, 38-28, 51-44, 74-62
As a team, Ateneo hit 13 of 37 shots from the 3-point range compared to San Beda's 8 of 28. Their offense also looked much better compared to their 43-point output in Game 1. The Blue Eagles made a move on the Red Lions in the second quarter and they were able to hang on to the lead because of key baskets, mostly from the outside.
The heroes of San Beda in Game 1 did not play nearly as good in the loss as Donald Tankoua was limited to eight points on 3-of-11 shooting from the field while Evan Nelle only had a single point, missing all five attempts from the field. The guard, however, helped out elsewhere with four rebounds, five assists, and five steals.
Ateneo vs. San Beda on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Ynares Sports Arena