SAN JUAN CITY – University of the East leaned on the clutch plays of Edson Batiller and Renz Palma in overtime to put away Ateneo de Manila University, 93-91, on opening day Saturday (April 30) of the 2016 FilOil Flying V Premier Cup at the San Juan Arena. It was a double whammy for Ateneo as the San Beda Red Cubs hacked the Blue Eaglets in the opening of Junior Division hostilities, 86-81.
Batiller hit a triple with five seconds left to send the game into extra time, 79-79. That was the Red Warriors’ cue as Batiller continued to wax hot with a pair of field goals and Palma shot steadily from the free throw stripe to preserve the win.
Palma had an impressive all-around game with 22 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals in 26 minutes of action. Alvin Pasaol backed him up with 15 points and six rebounds while Batiller came off the bench to add 14 markers.
It was not the best of debuts for national coach Tab Baldwin in the local collegiate circuit. Through the first three periods, it seemed the Blue Eagles were coasting to the win until UE’s incredible rally in the fourth canto.
Chibueze Ikeh topped the Blue Eagles with 20 points and 16 rebounds. Rookie Tyler Tio also impressed with three triples en route to 19 points.
Coach Frederick Pumaren was not satisfied with how his Warriors played particularly in the first three periods but still praised them for not quitting and waking up when the game was on the line. He also credited a new strength and conditioning regimen that has done wonders for the team in the offseason.
San Beda, the reigning seven-time NCAA Juniors champions, had a relatively easy time against the Blue Eaglets, leading comfortably entering the final period, 71-52. Despite attempts to mount a comeback, Ateneo’s efforts fell short as time was not on their side.
Robi Nayve paced the winning Red Cubs of Coach JB Sison with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Prince Etrata was next with 13 points.
Dave Ildefonso, son of basketball legend Danny, led the Blue Eaglets with 14 points, seven rebounds and two blocks. SJ Belangel was next with 13 points, six rebounds and three assists.
All eyes though were on Kai Sotto, the latest Blue Eaglet recruit. The 6’9” 13-year old prodigy from Las Pinas City was finally fielded in by Coach Joe Silva in the third period, playing for six minutes and making both his attempts for four points on top of an assist.
How They Scored:
SAN BEDA-RIZAL (86) – Nayve 17, Etrata 13, Sese 10, Abuhijleh 9, Mahinay 8, Velasquez 8, de la Rosa 7, Barbero 5, Lagumen 5, Nelle 3, Alfaro 1, Samaniego 0, Bonalos 0, Oliva 0.
ATENEO DE MANILA (81) – Ildefonso 14, Belangel 13, Credo 12, Angeles 9, Espino 6, Manuel 6, Salazar 4, Sotto 4, J. Laud 3, Deonio 2, Flores 2, Santos 2, R. Berjay 2, Escalona 2, Dadivas 0, J. Berjay 0, G. Laud 0.
Period Scores: 30-18, 43-34, 71-52, 86-81.
EAST (93) – Palma 22, Pasaol 15, Batiller 14, de Leon 11, Derige 10, Charcos 8, Acuno 3, Larupay 2, Manalang 2, Abanto 2, Armenion 2, Gagate 1, Penuela 1, P. Varilla 0, Poblete 0, Bartolome 0.
ATENEO DE MANILA (91) – Ikeh 20, Tio 19, A. Wong 13, Apacible 7, Ma. Nieto 7, Porter 7, Black 7, V. Tolentino 5, Ravena 3, Mi. Nieto 2, D. Wong 1, Go 0.
Period Scores: 16-16, 27-34, 52-58, 79-79 (reg.), 93-91 (OT).