The one time a team had the audacity to make Ateneo look mortal, it ran smack into Gian Mamuyac’s career night.
Mamuyac waxed hot in the third period to engineer an Ateneo breakaway that fueled a 94-72 victory against a surprisingly game University of the East (UE) on Saturday in the UAAP Season 84 men’s basketball tournament at Mall of Asia Arena.
“We have problems and I think they manifest themselves at times in games,” said Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin.
With the Eagles down a field goal against a three-point hunting Warriors, Mamuyac buried three triples and scored 10 points in a 14-0 run that pushed Ateneo ahead, 65-53, late in the third quarter—and on its way to a sixth straight win.
But even as Ateneo took its sweet time before dismantling UE, it took another game to make it painfully clear—at least to the rest of the field—how different a level the Blue Eagles are currently in right now.
In a battle for solo second, University of the Philippines (UP) and La Salle went through an unsightly battle of attrition where in the end, one team finished with just as many turnovers as made field goals.
That was the team that won.
Zavier Lucero keyed a late endgame spurt, scoring 11 points in the last 6:18 as the Maroons emerged the better team in a 103-second string of turnovers and flubbed attempts and hung on to a 61-59 victory.
“I felt that for almost the whole game, from the first to the third quarters, we struggled offensively,” said UP coach Goldwyn Monteverde.
“La Salle forced us to a lot of turnovers and I’m glad we were able to respond well [late in the game],” added Monteverde, whose wards committed 23 turnovers, one for every field goal they dropped on the Archers.
That ratio could have been worse except that Lucero punched in a 9-of-15 clip and threw the ball away just twice on his way to a 21-point, 14-rebound card. The last of his field goals came with 1:43 remaining and pegged the final count.
Mamuyac was equally a picture of efficiency.
He had a career-high 21 points on 6-of-10 shooting and added nine rebounds to lead Ateneo along with Ange Kouame, who also had 21 points and threw in 13 rebounds and four blocks.
Tied at half
Mamuyac also buried a triple as time expired to shepherd Ateneo into the break on a deadlock at 39—averting something the Eagles hadn’t faced this season: a halftime deficit.
Kyle Paranada and Kris Pagsanjan finished with 15 points each for UE, which went 13-of-26 from beyond the arc.
UE matched Ateneo point-for-point in the first two quarters—the first period was tied at 15 as the Eagles were cuffed by seven turnovers and made a measly three field goals—and was up two points midway through the third before Mamuyac shushed the Warriors for good.
Lucero, meanwhile, nailed his first fourth-quarter basket at the 6:18 mark as UP chewed two points off La Salle’s seven-point cushion. He had a triple and a highlight dunk in the final stretch and drew support from Joel Cagulangan, who scored all his five points in that endgame run.
After Lucero’s last field goal, both teams combined for two turnovers and six mixed shots, the last of which came when high-motor La Salle big Mike Phillips bricked a potential score-knotting attempt.
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