UAAP 77 Jrs. Basketball: Eaglets Emerge with a Statement Game!

January 16, 2015
Enzo Flojo; Photos by Gil V. Salandanan

After a slew of near-misses, the Ateneo Blue Eaglets finally unloaded a game worthy of their depth. Behind the combined 7 triples of Jolo Mendoza and the Nieto twins, the Eaglets demolished fellow title contender FEU-FERN, 78-52. 
Graduating senior Matt Nieto rifled in three treys on his way to a game-high 20 points for Ateneo.Graduating senior Matt Nieto rifled in three treys on his way to a game-high 20 points for Ateneo, whose starting unit outscored its FEU counterparts, 65-29.
Coach Joe Silva’s wards started the game on fire, outscoring the Baby Tams, 26-11, in the first period as starters Mendoza, Matt, Shaun Ildefonso, and Gian Mamuyac all combined for 22 markers. The Eaglets connected 4 times from rainbow country in the first ten minutes of the game while also outworking FEU on the glass, 14-7.
The Diliman-based Baby Tamaraws stayed within striking distance for most of the game till the fourth quarter, where the Eaglets caught fire again, dropping 22 points on FEU while limiting the Green & Gold to just 8. The Nietos, both of whom have committed to play for the Blue Eagles, paired up to drop 16 points in the payoff period. Big Mike toyed with the FEU D, even draining a couple of trifectas for good measure. 
Supporting cast members Mamuyac and Ildefonso finished the game with a combined 20 points to underscore Ateneo’s dominance. Defense was key here as well, as the Eaglets held the Tams to just 33% FG shooting and forced their foes to commit 19 turnovers.
This is the kind of breakout performance Ateneo hoop nuts have been waiting for, especially since they’ll go up against some lower-tier teams in succession before finishing the elims against defending champion NU.
Speaking of NU, the Bullpups halted their losing skid by defeating the cold-shooting De La Salle-Zobel Junior Archers, 50-37. Mark Dyke had a subpar offensive outing, scoring just a solitary point in 36 minutes but he did collar 17 rebounds. The Pups relied on Jordan Clemente and Philip Manalang, who combined for 20 points, to tow them to the W here. 6’5 Junstine Baltazar also impressed with 8 markers on top of 11 boards. Zobel, meanwhile, was paced by Quinito Banzon’s 12 points. Erstwhile star guard Aljun Melecio shot just 3/14 from the floor in this one to register 9 markers.
In the other games, UST continued to roll, beating UPIS, 61-55. This was a bizarre game as nobody from UST scored in double-digits. Miguel Jison, Roald Mayor, and Enzo Montes each tallied 9 points for the Tiger Cubs, who are now in a four-way tie for third place at 6 wins and 5 losses. Other teams in the mix are the Junior Archers, Baby Tams, and the Baby Falcons, who just blew out the UE Junior Warriors, 78-42. 
In that match, Adamson led wire-to-wire and dominated practically every stat category. Gerald Fernandez paced the Baby Falcons with 14 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 steals, while Jhon Egan and Fred Tungcab each recorded a dozen markers. 
Here are the games on Wednesday, January 21, 2014:
9am: UE x DLSZ
11am: FEU x ADU
1pm: NU x UPIS
3pm: UST x ADMU
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