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Ateneo outclasses Adamson to open title defense on bright note

The Ateneo Blue Eagles started their championship defense by decimating Adamson University, 70-52, Wednesday evening at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

Ateneo never let their guard down as they did not relinquish the lead to record their first win of the season.

The Blue Eagles took off on the right track by immediately flying to a 15-4 spurt against the Soaring Falcons and led 16-6 as the first quarter ended.

It was more of the same for the two-time defending champions as they raced to a 32-23 halftime spread. The third quarter showcased Ateneo's ability on both ends of the floor as the team dropped a 16-3 run and lead 48-26 midway through the third.

Adamson however showed why they are no pushovers by responding with a 19-4 blitz to trim the lead to 52-45, under eight minutes to go.

Ateneo then turned on the burners as Ange Kouame came up big on both ends of the floor, swatting a fastbreak layup by Jerrick Ahanmisi and violently slamming the ball to take a 61-52 lead.

Returning guard Adrian Wong then put the icing on the cake by completing a four-point play off Val Chauca to take a 65-52 lead by the last two-minute warning.

Overall, Ateneo closed the game with a 13-0 run, sending their opponents reeling to their first loss.

Kouame topped Ateneo's scoring with 17 points, eight rebounds, and six blocks. Thirdy Ravena meanwhile had a 10-point, 13-rebound double-double.

Chauca paced Adamson's offense with 17 markers and four assists in his UAAP debut, the lone scorer in double figures for the team.

"Well, we know it was going to be tough. They're the last team we want to see in the first game, and I had my déjà vu in the second half," said Ateneo mentor Tab Baldwin. The Falcons stunned the Blue Eagles on opening weekend last season.

The Blue Eagles will next face archrivals De La Salle Green Archers on Sunday, September 8, at 4 p.m. while the Falcons meet the NU Bulldogs on Saturday, September 7 at 2 p.m., on the same venue.

BOX SCORES

ATENEO (70) -- Kouame 17, Ma. Nieto 14, Ravena 10, Navarro 9, Belangel 7, Go 4, Mi. Nieto 3, Wong 3, Mamuyac 2, Tio 1, Andrade 0, Daves 0, Credo 0.

ADAMSON (52) -- Chauca 17, Ahanmisi 7, Douanga 7, Camacho 4, Manlapaz 4, Fermin 4, Flowers 4, Lastimosa 3, Magbuhos 2, Zaldivar 0, Bernardo 0, Sabandal 0, Yerro 0, Mojica 0.

Quarter Scores: 16-6, 32-23, 48-36, 70-52.