Atenio, stay tuned to La Salle — but end up in an unbeaten run showdown

Atenio's Dave Ildefenso.

Atenio’s Dave Ildefenso. UAAP pictures

After two years of hibernation, the most fierce existing competition in basketball is finally back on the big-yet-empty-stage.

And it may seem that both defending Atenio and La Salle have gone the same way, scoring unbeaten runs in their first epidemic-era clash at the UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena on Saturday.

But not all undefeated cards are created equal.

Atenio was untouchable this season এবং and in its last 29 UAAP games, indeed এবং and its 78-47 win over Adamson at MOA Arena on Thursday counted only the notion that it was heading for a virtually worry-free fourth championship celebration.

The Blue Eagles lead with at least 20 points in their first three outings and their average winning margin (16.3) is actually weighed down by their strong fight-backs from their first two enemies. They seem to have cleared their finishing kick against the Falcons, and the only problem for Atenio seems to be how to convince people that this season will actually be a problem.

“We move forward in the same way in every game, we respect our opponents and we will play properly as a team,” Atenio Center and Gilas Pilipinas national team standout Angie Coume said on Thursday. “Coming to the next game, it will be the same mentality and we will try to cover up the mistakes as much as possible and learn from it and move on.”

La Salle, on the other hand, had a shaky start to the season but was hit with the same card as his opponent in a 3-0 win-loss after settling a tough challenge in the Far Eastern U, 75-65 in another match on Thursday.

Fans back

Justin Baltazar had 20 points and 11 rebounds when he joined Kurt Lozer in a knee-capping 13-2 run that turned a hairline lead into a 75-63 cushion when he entered the final minute.

And Baltzer, a Gilas Pilipinus standout when Atenio coach Tab Baldwin conducted the program, was keen to do a show on Saturday, the last UAAP play that would be played without fans. The league will admit a limited number of fans to the venue of the game starting April 5.

“I will apply what I have learned [Baldwin and Gilas] In our game, ”said the 6-foot-7 center, which Baldwin has transformed into an extended big / wing in the national team.

“We have to do our best. This is a different story. They are no longer my Glass teammates. This is a school pride fight here at UAAP,” Baltazar added. I will improve. “

Last rate in 2018

How the best of La Salle will stand against an Atenio program that has not been lost since October 2018 will be at the center of Saturday’s rivalry.

But the green archers know that the Eagles can go into higher gear so easily. The Champs did so on Thursday, putting the Falcons down 18-0 in the third period. The team joined hands with Dave Ildefenso and Josh Lazaro in engineering which exploded as Etinho widened the eight-point edge to 54-28 in the third quarter.

Kouame led the Blue Eagles with 13 points in a 6-of-8 shoot and added 10 rebounds, a block, a steal and an assist to keep his team unbeaten in three games.

In a subsequent game on Thursday, the University of the Philippines won their second in three outings after holding 80-70.

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