The Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles found themselves in a surprisingly uncompetitive match against the De La Salle University Green Archers on Saturday.
Center Angelo Kouame, who played in his first Ateneo-La Salle game, led the Blue Eagles in scoring with a total of 20 points in 27.5 minutes on the floor.
The six foot 10 import also posted 13 rebounds for a double-double.
The Green Archers, on the other hand, recorded a mere total of three assists the entire game and turned the ball over 28 times.
DLSU head coach Louie Gonzalez attributed his team’s overwhelming turnover count to its overpassing, which has naturally come with the team’s pass-first mentality.
The Green Archer’s system of involving every single man on the floor was put on pause to give way to point guard Aljun Melecio who had the hot hand on Saturday.
Kib Montalbo, who is playing his last year with the Green Archers, played despite having an injured thumb.
This was not a game he wanted to miss. He was quoted as saying “I just want to play. Kahit injured ako, da-dive ako.”
Despite the individual efforts of key players such as Melecio and Montalbo, DLSU came up short of putting up a fight against Ateneo, ending the game behind by 16 points.
Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin congratulated the opposing team for fighting all throughout regulation, saying “They have very courageous players. They fought ‘til the end and I think that’s credit to (head coach) Louie (Gonzalez) and the coaching staff,” in a post-game interview.
The Blue Eagles now comfortably share the top spot with the Adamson Soaring Falcons, each with a record of 5-1, while the Green Archers are tied at third place with the UP Fighting Maroons at 3-3.