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Ateneo beats UP in Finals Game 2; do-or-die championship set for May 13

By John Bryan Ulanday Published May 11, 2022 9:54 pm Updated May 11, 2022 10:06 pm

Three-time reigning champion Ateneo survived by a hairline with a 69-66 victory against the University of the Philippines (UP) during game 2 of the UAAP Season 84 men’s basketball finals at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

With 13,521 fans in attendance, the Blue Eagles initially squandered a huge 15-point lead in the third quarter before banking on their championship pedigree in the clutch to tie the series and force a winner-take-all Game 3 on Friday, May 13.

In the fourth quarter, MVP Ange Kouame came to the rescue and hacked out a near triple-double of 14 points, 14 rebounds and eight blocks as the Blue Eagles got back on track for a fourth straight UAAP title bid.

"This series feels like a La Salle series. It doesn’t feel like college basketball. It feels like there’s something else at stake," said Blue Eagles coach Tab Baldwin.

"Tonight, we responded and we did the job in key statistical categories. Everything else in the stat sheet looks good for us," he added.

Having enough at the losing end of Katipunan thrillers against UP all-season long, Ateneo appeared headed to a blowout win after a strong 37-28 halftime start that even extended to a 45-30 cushion midway through the third period.

But the Blue Eagles, like another déjà vu in Game 1, allowed another uprising by the Fighting Maroons.

Led by Rookie of the Year Carl Tamayo, UP rose from the ashes once again with a blistering 27-11 barrage for a sudden 57-56 lead with 5:03 to go.

Both squads traded blows from there on with UP still clinging to a 61-60 lead before Kouame inside with Mamuyac and Belangel on the perimeter unleashed their own fangs to give the Fighting Maroons’ a dose of their own defensive medicine for a 65-61 separation.

Ateneo had a total of 16 steals and 10 blocks marked by PBA Rookie Draft hopeful Mamuyac’s crucial strip in the last 48 seconds for a 69-63 lead that pretty much delivered the final blow on UP.

Also a Mythical Five member, Tamayo put up a fight with 18 points, 12 rebounds, AND two steals while Rivero had 16 in the big loss of UP that could have ended their long championship drought and the Ateneo dynasty.


ATENEO 69 – Kouame 14, Tio 14, Ildefonso 10, Mamuyac 7, Belangel 6, Koon 6, Verano 4, Lazaro 3, Andrade 3, Chiu 2, Daves 0.

UP 66 – Tamayo 18, Rivero 16, Cagulangan 8, Lucero 8, Diouf 8, Alarcon 5, Spencer 3, Fortea 0, Abadiano 0, Lina 0.

Quarterscores: 17-16, 37-28, 49-45, 69-66.