His game long brilliance gave the Eagles the win
A lot of Blue Eagle fans were saying that if Kirk Long did not foul out of the first round game against the De La Salle Green Archers, the Blue Eagles would have escaped defeat. That loss to their arch-rivals was so painful that Blue Eagles had a hard time accepting it since it was the first loss in 6 games which is barely two years. Long this time around played the whole game without a foul and became the fireman as scored 22 points on 4 of 5 shooting from beyond the arc to lead the Ateneo Blue Eagles to a resounding 74 - 57 victory over the De La Salle Green Archers. Long scored 15 first half points with 11 coming in the first quarter when the Blue Eagles unleashed a 15 -0 run that opened the game apart with which the Green Archers never recovered.
The Blue Eagle defense
The Eagles were on the verge of being blanked for the first time by their Taft counterparts, the last time the Blue Eagles were winless against DLSU in one season was in 2005, Coach Norman's first year, since then they have been 10 - 4, including this win. The Blue Eagles did their homework, they beat the DLSU press and kept their shooters from hitting those 3 pointer. Samuel Marata, the hero from the first round encounter scored only 4 points, their go to guy Joshua Webb scored only 2 points and their vaunted second unit were all lured to the defensive trap that the Eagles unleashed in this game.
Emman attracts the DLSU defense
Ably backing up Long was rookie Art de la Cruz Jr. who is slowly becoming another weapon for the Blue Eagles, de la Cruz scored 10 points and also pulled down 10 rebounds. Ryan Buenafe on the other hand was his usual self, scoring nine points, issuing 6 assists, getting 5 rebounds and even defending well as he blocked a shot by Jarelan Tampus. Unfortunately he was called for a technical foul for taunting Tampus. Blue Eagle forward Nico Salva had a hard time getting his game going as he was whistled for two early fouls that sent him to the bench. Nevertheless he still scored 7 points and was a bull on defense.
Coach Norman Black emphasized the clamp down on the Archers shooters as the team in Green shot only 2 of 18 from beyond the arc. The three point shot is a big weapon in the Green Archers offensive arsenal. Much worse was their 15 of 29 shooting from the free throw line. The Green Archer's cool power forward Maui Villanueva typified the Archer's struggles from the line as he went 1 of 8 from the stripe. By the time the last five minutes of the game was on hand, the game was beyond recall. Even the efforts of third year forward Jovet Mendoza who exploded for 20 points in the second half was not enough to bail the unsynced Green Archers. This win put the Blue Eagles in solo second place.