Exhibiting deadly form, a veteran Ateneo de Manila squad took out erstwhile co-leader University of Santo Tomas (UST) in a game which made a statement to the rest of the league: Ateneo is poised to defend its men’s basketball crown.
While the Growling Tigers led very early in the first quarter, they would not hold on to that lead, as the Blue Eagles, with an organized attack, grabbed the lead late in the quarter, and did not relinquish the lead for the rest of the game.
While UST stalwarts Dylan Ababou and Khasim Mirza, along with Tiger top-scorer Allen Malixi, valiantly attempted to rally the Tigers, the Eagles’ attack, buoyed by a strong performance from the bench, notably guard Emman Monfort, who led the Eagles coming off the bench with 20 points, was just too much for UST.
With the win, Ateneo is off and running with a 3-0 card, and, with only NU, UP, and Adamson in the way to their showdown with archrival La Salle, the Blue Eagles just have to avoid getting overconfident in order to end the first round of eliminations with a perfect record. If they can manage to defend their crown, it'll be a nice gift for the school's 150th founding anniversary celebration.