Even as Ateneo glided past another unfortunate victim with a stellar string-to-string performance, Adamson exposed the vulnerability of one of the Blue Eagles’ alleged threats.
The defending champion showed consistency for 40 minutes when he beat the University of Santo Tomas (UST), 101-51, in the UAAP Season 84 men’s basketball tournament on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“Apart from being a bit loose with the ball [and committing] 19 turns, I think it’s a pretty all-round performance on both ends of the ring and it feels good to everyone when I think you walk out of the ring feeling like you’ve played. 40 minutes of basketball as a team,” said Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin.
Ateneo had six players in double figures, shot 57.6% from the field, assisted 27 of the 38 goals taken and scored more points in the first quarter than UST in the first half. The Blue Eagles lead with 53 points, recording their 36th win in a row and with their 10th in a row this season, being within four wins after claiming an outright championship spot.
As if that weren’t enough to send a message to the rest of the pitch that everyone is mostly playing in second place, the University of the Philippines (UP), perhaps the only team that can match the talent. Ateneo’s ability to find out how difficult it is. is accompanying the Eagles.
Jerom Lastimosa hit the clutch basket in the final 23 seconds as the Falcons won eight of the Maroons’ games by a nasty 66-58.
Lastimosa, grandson of PBA legend Jojo Lastimosa, said: “We’ve prepared well for UP.” “We remember when they beat us in the first round (73-71), how we cried. Now is the time for us to celebrate.”
Adamson lifted his record to 4-6, forced to log into 4th place after Far Eastern U (FEU) stunned National University, 59-57, tripled by Xyrus Torres ahead of his eyes. hawk with two seconds left in the game.
UP lost 8-2, still in second place but currently two games behind Ateneo.
And having been unchallenged by the opposition so far this season, the Eagles are now looking to destroy the enemies within.
“I think we just have to prepare ourselves for every game,” said striker Raffy Verano, who led Ateneo with 18 points and seven rebounds. “Coach Tab, the coaches were very worried about it, we had a lot of mental decline, especially in the second half. We’re talking about the players, mentally we need to go to the game with killer instincts. I think we really showed a little of that today. I think if it moves forward, it will keep going up and up. ”
And as much as the Eagles produced their biggest winning streak since UAAP computerized the storage of stats, Baldwin wasn’t sure if this was Ateneo’s declared match of the season.
“I think it’s a big thought and I want it to come true,” Baldwin said after their big win. “But I think we’ll only know if that’s true if we follow it up with other games where players actually keep their roles to the whetstone and keep working hard throughout. games and stick and work together. ”
And as catching up with Ateneo has become an impossible task, at least for the qualifying round, schools will have to celebrate whatever win they can manage.
“Our mentality is just to go day by day, game by game and see where it takes us,” said coach Adamson Nash Racela, acknowledging that his team He is not looking into the long term at the moment. “I’m delighted that in a month of playing, the players have responded and proven that they can do it.”
His brother, FEU coach Olsen Racela, also expressed optimism that his team is on the right track.
“Xyrus’ hit gave us the win. But [our] The character of not giving up and trusting each other is very important to us,” Olsen said, adding that Torres’ shot was the result of Tamaraws learning to “trust each other”.
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