Ateneo reclaims UAAP title, against UP in thrilling final
MANILA, Philippines—Ateneo crept up the road of redemption fraught with obstacles during a season that the Blue Eagles carefully eliminated one after another.
With a big fight on Monday night, they finally overcame one last hurdle and certainly the biggest of them all by defeating UP Fighting Maroons, 75-68, to reclaim the crown. UAAP men’s basketball Season 85 this.
The Blue Eagles relied on a massive early goal and overcame the Maroons’ late strike to end their best of three games in a Game 3 atmosphere brimming with flashy trophies. in hand.
Ange Kouame completed the three-pointer with one minute and 48 seconds left and beat Carl Tamayo’s hit in the next sequence that plagued UP’s comeback attempt.
The sealed free throws. The whistle. Moment.
WATCH: Ateneo celebrates after honking after winning #UAAPSeason85 Men’s Basketball Championship. @INQUIRERSports https://t.co/Bm7V3yolO8 pic.twitter.com/rNRdkINdBa
— Rommel Fuertes Jr. (@MeloFuertesINQ) December 19, 2022
Harold Alarcon’s unbalanced number three after he split from the charity strip gave the Maroons some solace when they cut it down to three, but BJ Andrade’s freebies in his dying moments did guaranteed victory, marking Ateneo’s appointment with destiny and the school’s 12th UAAP title overall.
While the entire Ateneo loyalists were ecstatic and stayed behind to celebrate the feat, the UP crowd slowly headed toward the exit of the Araneta Arena, bowed and bored.
Redeeming themselves after their defeat in last season’s classic Game 3 final, the Blue Eagles have now won four of the last five UAAP titles while also denying the Maroons the rare feat of winning two consecutive championships. continued in the same year.
Ateneo’s five-thirds in the opening half allowed the Blue Eagles to take the lead, 30-12, as the Maroons couldn’t work things out.
Ateneo’s punitive defense was clearly the culprit. It forced the Maroons to launch their shots uncomfortably, which resonated most of the time.
Carl Tamayo’s timely penetrations revived UP and pulled them within nine minutes, but a stunning treble from 6-foot-11 Geo Chiu and floating athlete Padrigao after swooping past JD Cagulangan with a single pass. serve pushed it back to a 15-point Ateneo advantage at half-time.
This is the first time UP has lost in a row in 36 games under coach Goldwyn Monteverde. UP grabbed the opener and appeared to be heading for a sweep, but the Blue Eagles bounced back like a storm with a methodical victory in Game 2.
Zavier Lucero’s absence was a huge disappointment for the Maroons, who clearly missed the six-foot-7 striker’s heroics in the ring.
Lucero tore the ACL in his left knee in a non-contact injury in Game 2 as the Blue Eagles leveled the best of three series, putting both in a win-lose position.
Not wanting to cheer on his team, Lucero watched helplessly from the bench, there was nothing he could do to stop the Maroons being torn to pieces.
Padrigao and Anton Quetevis created a 20-point gap before UP took the lead down to six points marked by Henry Galinato’s two-handed strike and James Spencer’s explosive triple.
A four-point swing from Vince Gomez and Kouame free throws and triggered by an unsportsmanlike foul by Cagulangan near the end of the third half sent Ateneo back into the safe zone.
ATENEO 75 — Kouame 19, Padrigao 12, Gomez 12, Andrade 10, Ballungay 4, Koon 4, Daves 4, Chiu 4, Fewvis 4, Ildefonso 2, Lazaro 0.
UP 68 — Spencer 14, Alarcon 12, Galinato 12, Tamayo 11, Cagulangan 9, Diouf 7, Gonzales 2, Lucero 1, Abadiano 0, Fortea 0, Lina 0.
Rounds: 30-14, 47-32, 60-52, 75-68.
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