Frequent double-teams helped make Greg Slaughter's life a living hell in his first round meeting with the UST Growling Tigers, but the golden shirts were not able to stop Ateneo's other options, allowing Kiefer Ravena to go for 18, and Nico Salva 14 points. They probably did not expect the bench coming to life either, as Bacon Austria and Tonino Gonzaga combined for 15 markers. With their frontcourt tied up with stopping the 7-footer, it was up to the guards to do scoring, with Jeric Teng pitching in 12, while point guard Jeric Fortuna totaled 18, matching Ravena's output. But with the Tigers bench contributing just eight points, UST folded, giving Ateneo the 66-53 win (Recap here)
What's at Stake:
- The ADMU Blue Eagles hope to stay undefeated at 8-0, after dispatching FEU in stunning comeback fashion. A win puts them one step closer to achieving a sweep, launching the step ladder format which gives the Eagles the advantage in the Finals, something all the other seven teams are looking to prevent.
- The 4-4 UST Growling Tigers find themselves tied with the DLSU Green Archers for the fourth spot, after 5-4 FEU left them a step behind. With DLSU playing before this match, and likely winning against UE, the Tigers need this game to keep in step, otherwise they'll be on outside looking in come the Final Four (no matter whether if it's step-ladder or not) .
ADMU Player to Watch : Ateneo's most consistent bench contributor in the past few games has been Tonino Gonzaga, norming six points in the last four games in limited stints, while also guarding the opposing team's best scorer when Long needs to get a rest. The Eagles will need him for the latter mostly in this game, with Gonzaga tasked to hound either Fortuna or Teng, depending on the situation. Some triples if possible on offense, would be nice though.
UST Player to Watch : Karim Abdul bricked a ton of shots in their first round meeting, going just 2 of 10 from the field for 4 points, but he's been UST's difference maker as of late, averaging 21 points, 11 rebounds and three assists. We'll see if he can dominate the paint though when the guy in front of him is a good six inches taller.
Prediction: ADMU Blue Eagles