Mendoza shoots Eaglets into playoff duel against Jr. Archers

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Feb 10, 2016 04:01 PM
Mendoza shoots Eaglets into playoff duel against Jr. Archers
FULL FORCE. Ateneo is in peak form just in time for the playoffs with Jolo Mendoza back at full health.

Hobbled by an ankle injury for half of the elimination round in the UAAP 78 Juniors Basketball Tournament, Jolo Mendoza finished seventh in the race for MVP – far from what was expected of him and what he is capable of doing.

On Wednesday at the San Juan Arena, Mendoza showed he was back – and back with a vengeance – as he led Ateneo de Manila High School to a 84-68 triumph over Far Eastern University-Diliman.

Last season’s Finals MVP collected 14 points, including a perfect 2/2 from deep, along with three assists and two steals to let Ateneo keep their crown a little bit longer as they head into another must-win affair against twice-to-beat De La Salle Zobel.

Talking about where they find themselves as compared to their cruise control towards a championship last season, coach Joe Silva said, “Mas masarap, mas mahirap. The boys are up to the challenge.”

The Eaglets were in command right from tip-off, but only had a four-point advantage early in the second until Mendoza poured in all but two points in a 7-0 charge that pushed them ahead, 33-22.

The Baby Tamaraws would be unable to recover from the double-digit deficit.

Running mate Gian Mamuyac contributed 13 points while SJ Belangel also shined with 15 points and eight assists. Ateneo gets five days to prepare for the Junior Archers who swept them in the eliminations.

Kenji Roman had a 21-point, 13-rebound double-double  to lead the effort for FEU who nonetheless were able to return to the playoffs after a one-year absence.

BOX SCORES

ATENEO 84 – Belangel 15, Mendoza 14, Mamuyac 13, Berjay 9, Eustaquio 9, Andrade 8, Credo 6, Ildefonso S 5, Gatmaytan 2, Bernardo 2, Rosales 1, Ildefonso D 0, David 0, Soriano 0

FEU-DILIMAN 68 – Roman 21, Gloria 13, Sapinit 11, Jabel 9, Gonzales 8, Bieren 2, Boc 2, Torres 2, Gabane 0, Celzo 0, Belgica 0, Mariano 0, Garcia 0, Ramos 0

QUARTER SCORES: 20-14, 35-28, 63-47, 84-68

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