Sunday, August 31, 2008

Ateneo gets win No. 12 and UAAP top spot

This year, there won’t be any more upsets that will rock the standings as the Ateneo Blue Eagles made sure of that as they crushed the upset conscious National University Bulldogs 83-54. Rabah Al-Husaini erupted for 20 points 6 rebounds and 3 assists as he was again the Blue Eagle’s tower of power with his impressive jump hooks and fastbreak lay ups. This is the fifth game that Al-Husaini has scored 20 points as he led the Eagles from stgrt AND finish as he scored 10 first quarter points and 1- fourth quarter points.

The Blue Eagles started the quarter smoking as Rabah started the game with a three point play. Rabah scored 1-0 first quarter points while Ryan Buenafe sank five free throws while the rest of the crew chipped in to give Ateneo a 23-7 lead. The NU Bulldogs then woke up as Edwin Asoro, Chuck Berry and Michael Luy presided on a 9 to 3 run to close the quarter only down by ten 26-16.

During the second quarter, the NU Bulldogs sharpened their fangs and came back as Aaron Galapon scattered 7 points and played good defense to frustrate the Blue Eagles which was forced to three turnovers and six missed field goals. Jonathan Jhanke, who was last year’s hero in their win against the Eagles scored on a fastbreak as he put the Bulldogs on top 32-31. The Blue Eagles then countered with a Jobe Nkemakolam basket and that was enough to wake up the Captain, Chris Tiu, who missed his first five field goals and two free throws prior to sinking his first three pointer which circled the rim for seconds before finally going in. That was enough to heat up Captain Chris as he sank another three pointer that fired up the Blue Eagles and paved the way for two more triples for the team courtesy of Jai Reyes and Eric Salamat that gave more breathing room for the Eagles at the half with a 49-37 lead. The Eagles only had three turnovers at the half but was outrebounded by the Bulldogs 29-18.

In the third quarter, the Blue Eagles missed 16 field goals, had three turnovers which the Bulldogs did not capitalize on. Instead, the Bulldogs missed 8 field goals, 5 free throws and had 4 turnovers as their runs were unsustainable and fizzled as the Blue Eagles defense choked the Bulldogs.Both teams played superb defense in the third which resulted in missed shots and turnovers for both teams.

The fourth quarter was just formality for the entry of the Eagles as the best team in the elimination round as Rabah Al-Husaini underscored his might by scoring ten straight points to put the game beyond recall and more importantly the no.1 spot in the final four which makes the game against DLSU a no bearing game.

This is the first time since 1988 that the Blue Eagles have won 12 games in the elimination and this bunch of Eagles are poised to match the 13-1 record of the 1987 champion team.

The scores:

Ateneo 83 – Al-Hussaini 20, Tiu 16, Salamat 12, Reyes 11, Buenafe 9, Baclao 4, Nkemakolam 4, Long 3, Burke 2, Salva 2, Baldos 0, Chua 0, Escueta 0, Gonzaga 0.

NU 58 – Asoro 19, Galapon 7, Luy 7, Jahnke 6, Aguilar 4, Tungcul 4, Berry 3, Batac 2, Catamora 2, Garcia 2, Magat 2, dela Cruz 0, Ponferrada 0.

Quarter scores: 26-16; 49-37; 61-48; 83-58

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