MANILA, Philippines – In the first clash of the country’s fiercest collegiate rivals in this pandemic-era, Gian Mamuak rose to the occasion to keep Atenio unbeaten in four games.
Atenio’s 74-57 win at the UAAP Season 84 Men’s Basketball Tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday evening was a nightmare for Mamuak La Salle on the defensive end as he scored 11 points, six steels and six rebounds.
The graduating guard said that their rivalry with the Green Archers brought the best of both teams even after playing on the empty field.
“I just want to mention that the competition between Atenio and La Salle brings out the best in both teams,” said Mamuak. “I just want to give credit to the coaching staff for their scouting reports, their sets and for preparing us so well.”
Although Atenio stormed into the second half to keep the singles league lead at 4-0, Mamuak admitted that it was difficult to defend La Salle although his air defenses worked wonders for his team and resulted in an aggressive fight between rival Gard Evan Nele and Mark Noir. Combined for 7 of 23.
“It was still difficult to defend them, but the coaches made it easy because they gave us everything, all the information and the whole team committed themselves to the defense, so it helped, too,” he said.
As team captain, Mamuak acknowledges that leading an Athenian team that has not lost in 30 games since October 2018 is a big responsibility. But he is glad that their strong bond makes his leadership work easier.
“It simply came to our notice then. But fortunately, it is easy for the players to lead the team, and the veterans help me to do that, “said Mamuak.
After getting the best of their opponents behind closed doors, the Blue Eagles will feel somewhat normal from Tuesday as they play in front of their fans against the National University Bulldogs (2-2).
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