Friday, August 15, 2008

ATENEO beats UST 85-76

Whoever said the Ateneo Blue Eagles lacked outside shooting? In their first few games, the Eagles became too predictable by going inside to big men Rabah Al-Husaini, Nonoy Baclao and Jobe Nkemakolam. In three games they only sank 3 three pointers and Chris Tiu was quite not himself. Today Chris Tiu made three three-pointers while the rest of the crew, Eric Salamat, Jai Reyes, and Bacon Austria made one apiece to make UST extend their defense outside which made Rabah Al-Husaini lord it over inside. This was the key in the 85-76 win of the Ateneo Blue Eagles over the UST Growling Tigers to solidify its slot on top with a league leading 8-1 win loss card. Chris Tiu waxed hot from start to finish as he scored a career high 29 points while RabahAl-Husaini added 24 monster points.

In the first quarter, the Blue Eagles displayed their shooting prowess by sinking four three pointers. Chris Tiu sank two triples while Eric Salamat and Bacon Austria joined the fray by sinking one apiece as the Ateneans kept the Thomasians from scoring outside to end the quarter with a 20-11 lead. Just this quarter alone, the Tigers had 7 turnovers and the Eagles capitalized on this by scoring 8 points off them. Nonoy Baclao had 3 blocked shots in the first quarter alone. Clark Bautista, who was suppose to suit up for the Blue and White but opted to go to Espana scored the lone three -pointer for the Tigers in this quarter

The second quarter started with the Eagles trying to create a little distance between them and the Tigers as they posted a 24-11 lead after Ateneo scored four straight points. The Tigers then battled back as they summoned the inside game of reigning MVP Jervy Cruz and the clutch shooting of Dylan Ababou. Both conspired to cut the Ateneo lead to a two point deficit 28-30 going to the last 2:37 after Ababou scored on a drive. Ateneo sued for time and put in six free throws and kept the Tigers from exploding from the outside by leading the first half with a 38-35 halftime lead. The Tigers had 23 rebounds and had 12 turnovers while the Eagles had only 6 during halftime.

The third quarter was another display of firepower as Chris Tiu, Rbah Al-Husaini and Eric Salamat combined to score 21 points (1 more than the UST output) as Al- Husaini controlled the middle, Tiu owned the perimeter and Eric slashed with the greatest of ease. Both Chris and Rabah carried most of the fight for the Blue Eagles as they attacked relentlessly. Chris scored 7 third quarter points while Rabah clogged the lanes for ten markers. Chris and Rabah were the inside and outside Blue Eagle threat.

When the time the fourth quarter came Ateneo was ready to break away as they opened a commanding ten point lead to open the quarter 72-62. Eric Salamat scored on a step back three reminiscent of LA Tenorio with 4:08 left that shattered the backs of the Growling Tiger because they never recovered from that blow . From thereon the Tigers pushed the panic button, felt distracted and self distructed as Dylan Ababou missed two free throws which is very uncharecteristic of him, lost the ball and missed a jumper in their next three possessions.

The Tigers awesome twosome in reigning MVP JErvy Cruz and Dylan Ababou lost steam as jervy corralled just one rebound in the fourth while Dylan missed horribly from the outside. The Blue Eagles with their vaunted fourth quarter defense closed the game with 8 free throws and swept them for the first time since 2004.

The scores:

Ateneo 85 – Tiu 29, Al-Hussaini 24, Salamat 14, Austria 7, Reyes 4, Buenafe 2, Nkemakolam 2, Salva 2, Baclao 1, Baldos 0, Long 0.

UST 76 – Cruz 23, Ababou 17, Bautista 12, Allera 7, Fortuna 6, Canlas 3, Cuan 2, Gile 2, Mirza 2, Taylor 2, Camus 0, Fenequito 0.

Quarter scores: 20-11; 38-35; 63-55; 85-76

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