Ateneo stays spotless ahead of rivalry game with DLSU

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 30, 2017 06:48 PM
Ateneo stays spotless ahead of rivalry game with DLSU
DEEP. It was Vince Tolentino's turn to step up and play big for still undefeated and still league-leading Ateneo.

With its depth being displayed each and every game, it was no longer a surprise that it was Vince Tolentino’s time to shine and Chibueze Ikeh’s chance to re-assert himself for Ateneo de Manila University on Saturday at the Araneta Colisuem.

Getting together to outplay their counterparts in Matt Salem and Issa Gaye, Tolentino and Ikeh propelled the Blue Eagles past dogged National University, 96-83, for their sixth win in a row to start the UAAP 80 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

On the back of their two big men, coach Sandy Arespacochaga saw his wards keep hold of the top spot in the leaderboard. “These two have been doing the dirty work for us. They have been very valuable for us especially I controlling rebounds and playing defense,” he said.

It was also Tolentino and Ikeh who combined for 20 points and five rebounds in the first two quarters alone as Ateneo took command of a 47-43 edge at the half.

J-Jay Alejandro wasn’t letting his Bulldogs go away that easily, however, and sparked their fightback to as close as 55-59 in the middle of the third period.

It was at that point that Ikeh had five points, including a pleasant surprise of a triple, in the 7-2 counter that re-established a 66-57 advantage in favor of the Blue Eagles.

The lead would only grow to as big as 13, 83-70, in the final frame. “NU’s a tough team and we played their pace, an up and down game. Good thing that in the fourth, we played with better defense,” Arespacochaga said.

The Cameroonian big man wound up with a career high-tying 18 points on top of 11 rebounds and two blocks while Tolentino contributed his own 15 markers, three rebounds and two assists.

Nieto twins Matt and Mike chipped in 12 points apiece as Ateneo didn’t even feel the first time Thirdy Ravena wasn’t in double-digits with eight points, nine rebounds, and four assists.

Now at 6-0, the Katipunan-based squad is one win away from sweeping the first round.

They try to accomplish that feat up against archrival De La Salle University on September 8.

On the other hand, NU goes back to the drawing board with their third consecutive defeat following a 2-1 start to the season.

Yet again, Alejandro gave it his all with 24 points, three rebounds, three assists, and one steal. Rookie Enzo Joson also added 14 points and seven rebounds.

With Salem and Gaye continuing to struggle, however, they now find themselves sixth of eight teams.

BOX SCORES

ATENEO 96 – Ikeh 18, Tolentino 15, Nieto Ma. 12, Nieto Mi. 12, Verano 9, Ravena 8, Asistio 7, Go 4, Black 4, Mendoza 3, White 2, Mamuyac 1, Mallillin 1, Andrade 0, Tio 0.

NU 83 – Alejandro 24, Joson 14, Gaye 14, Rangel 7, Mosqueda 6, Bartlett 4, Morido 4, Yu 4, Salem 3, Tibayan 3, Aquino 0, Diputado 0, Abatayo 0, Cauilan 0.

QUARTER SCORES: 21-25, 47-43, 71-65, 96-83

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