ANTIPOLO - The Ateneo Blue Eagles cruised to their fifth straight win in UAAP Season 82 with a 71-50 drubbing of the NU Bulldogs Sunday at the Ynares Center.
Angelo Kouame led the way with a staggering line of 15 points, 13 rebounds, three assists, two steals, and seven blocks. Defensive specialist Gian Mamuyac continues to showcase his offensive skills as he put up 13 points, including two triples.
The defending champions were on point all game long, putting on a display of precise offense and stifling defense. They shot 40 percent from the field and shared the ball, registering 17 assists. On the other end, they limited the Bulldogs to just 28 percent shooting.
"We're happy to get that win under our belts," said Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin. "Our coaching staff, I should say, my assistant coaches, know coach Jamike (Jarin) so well and you know, they kept warning me, 'He's gonna come out with something different, something unusual.' and he did. First half they played, I guess a spoiling type defense - a mutation of zone and man, we call it 'junk defense' in coaching parlance. It was somewhat effective.
"Our field goal percentage doesn't flatter our play really at 40 percent. It's something we need to continue to work on but also at the other end of the floor our defense is doing a good job. It's generating turnovers and converting those into easy points on the fastbreak. That's always a good thing for your offense."
Dave Ildefonso, NU's go-to-guy on offense, had trouble finding his mark. He was the lone player in double-digits with 10 points on a woeful 2-for-9 shooting and he also turned the ball seven times. His brother, Shaun, mustered nine points but needed 11 shots.
Though hungry for their first taste of victory, the Bulldogs were simply outmatched. And unlike their previous outings, they could not close the gap and suffered their worst defeat in the season so far.
After a basket from Adrian Wong, the lead ballooned to 25 points, 65-40, with a little over four minutes remaining.
"Generally I thought our effort was where it needed to be. [The] game slowed down a little bit in the third quarter for us and that's not something we want," said Baldwin. "We want that tempo but we want to generate it through pressure. We don't like it when the game slows down too much. But I think even in a slow game, it helps our offense a little bit. So we want to be able to handle every situation. We train to do that."
The defending champions remain unscathed at 5-0 to continue to pace the league standings. On the other hand, the Bulldogs are still in search of their first win after five outings.
ATENEO 71 - Kouame 15, Mamuyac 13, Ravena 8, Wong 6, Belangel 5, Nieto Ma 5, Nieto Mi 5, Andrade 3, Tio 3, Chiu 2, Credo 2, Daves 2, Maagdenberg 2, Go 0, Mallillin 0, Navarro 0
NU 50 - Ildefonso D 10, Ildefonso S 9, Gaye 8, Clemente 5, Galinato 5, Yu 4, Minerva 3, Joson 2, Mangayao 2, Mosqueda 2, Diputado 0, Gallego 0, Malonzo 0, Oczon 0, Rangel 0, Tibayan 0
QUARTERS: 20-11, 41-24, 50-37, 71-50
NU's point 21-point beatdown at the hands of Ateneo was its worst so far in the season after losing by an average of 4.0 points in its first four games.
Kouame already has a total of 24 blocks for the season. Six other schools have yet to reach 20 according to league statistician Pong Ducanes.
Ateneo - vs UE on September 25 at MOA Arena
NU - vs FEU on September 25 at MOA Arena