By Val Marvin G. Macanas
The Round 1 of the Battle of Katipunan went into the claws of the Ateneo Blue Eagles as they beat the UP Fighting Maroons, 76-70, in their match yesterday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Montecastro who had 6 points mostly from fastbreak plays, Asilum- the rookie from Sacred Heart Academy of Cebu who had 2 three pointers, and Chris Ball who scored a career high 11 points led the UP Fighting Maroons in the First Half. Ball started out strong in this game as he led the Fighting Maroons to a rare 4-0 start in the first few minutes of the First Quarter. He also did great on the defensive end as he was able to limit the scoring output of Slaughter. He even had an emphatic block on Greg Slaughter during the first half.
That strong start of UP enabled them to establish an 8 point lead to end the First Half, 32-40. They took advantage of Ateneo's cold shooting in the First 2 Quarters. UP also did a great job in switching their defense against the offensive plays of Ateneo. In fact, Ateneo had 10 turnovers while UP only had 3 at the end of the First Half.
The 3rd Quarter started with Ateneo having a 9-3 run anchored on Nico Salva's fine scoring performance. Due to that run, the game became closer. There were Several deadlocks in this game. The 8th deadlock happened with 4 minutes left on the 3rd Quarter Clock, 52 all. UP's veteran point-guard, Mike Gamboa found the cracks on the defense of Ateneo as he had plenty of points in the 3rd quarter including 2 three pointers. He was the one who carried UP in the 3rd quarter especially when Ateneo was making a run.
After a heated exchange of made baskets, it was still a tied ballgame at 57 all, our 9th deadlock of the game, with 2:21 left on the 3rd quarter clock.
Nico salva made a 15 foot jumper to give the lead to Ateneo, 59-57 with a little over one minute remaining in the 3rd. Slaughter made a tip-in to end the 3rd quarter. Ateneo now has a 4 point lead 61-47. The Blue Eagles outscored UP in the 3rd Quarter, 29-17.
The 4th Quarter started with ateneo having a solid defense againt UP. Kiefer also had a three point play to make the score 64-57 in favor of Ateneo. Ateneo had a 6-1 run in the start of the 4th and now they have their biggest lead of the game at 9 points 67-58 with 6 minutes left on the 4th. UP answered with a 6-2 run with 4 minutes left but Oping Sumalinog of Ateneo had 5 straight points with 2 minutes left making it 74-66 for Ateneo. UP had a chance to trim their deficit down with less than 30 seconds left on the game clock but they committed a shot clock violation handing the game to Ateneo. The final score was 76-70.
The notable scorer for Ateneo was Nico Salva. He had 21 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists. 11 of his 21 points came in the 3rd quarter.
Poor Performance of the game: Mike Silungan with only 2 points for UP.