MANILA — Coming right off an emotional win against their archrivals, Ateneo de Manila University had to dig deeper to put themselves in a better position in the 2017 Filoil Flying V Preseason Tournament.
Leaning on their depth, the Blue Eagles did just that and hacked off a hard-fought 59-51 triumph over Jose Rizal University (JRU) on Monday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
“We fought through so I’m happy we got a win,” head coach Tab Baldwin said after his boys went 2-0 in their two games in two days.
Just a day ago, Ateneo came out on top in a rivalry game that went down the wire.
It was no different this time around as the Heavy Bombers controlled the most of the first three quarters.
The Blue Eagles kept coming, however, and captured a 57-48 advantage inside the last three minutes on the back of Anton Asistio and Chibueze Ikeh.
“Back-to-back games aren’t an issue because our depth helps us with those,” Baldwin expressed.
Teytey Teodoro’s triple pulled JRU to within six with 2:27 remaining, but neither he nor his teammates would be able to add any more points to their output until the final buzzer.
Much of that had to do with the post presence of Ikeh who wound up with four points and 13 rebounds.
“He had a terrible first half so we challenged him at halftime. He responded really well,” Baldwin said.
Asistio topped the scoring column for Ateneo with 17 points.
No other teammate was in double-digits, but the Blue Eagles’ defense limited their opponents to only 33 percent shooting.
More than that, JRU top gun Teytey Teodoro was locked down to just 10 points, missing 10 of his 14 shots.
The work is far from over for 4-2 Ateneo who still need to take care of business against University of Perpetual Help on Wednesday and San Beda College on Friday to assure themselves of a place in the playoffs.
The same goes for the Heavy Bombers who, at 5-2, want nothing more than to pull off an upset of the Red Lions on Wednesday to formally clinch a quarterfinals berth.
Darius Estrella paced the boys from Shaw Boulevard with 14 points and six rebounds.
ATENEO 59 – Asistio 17, Verano 8, Go 7, Nieto Mi 5, Ravena 5, Tolentino 4, Ikeh 4, Nieto Ma 2, Mendoza 2, Tio 2, Mallillin 2, White 1, Black 0, Andrade 0, Porter 0
JRU 51 – Estrella 14, Grospe 11, Teodoro 10, Lasquety 4, Poutuouchi 4, Abdul Wahab 2, Mendoza 2, Bordon 2, Mate 2, Dela Virgen 0, Sawat 0
Quarter scores: 11-15, 26-30, 43-42, 59-51
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