FORMER UE star Alvin Pasaol made sure he wasn’t going to let his teammates down in his UAAP return as the Chooks-to-Go Collegiate Press Corps rallied past Ateneo, 102-94, to progress to the 2019 UAAP Goodwill Games Finals on Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The super scorer paired up with ex-Adamson stalwart Ryan Monteclaro as the mediamen fought from a 12-point second quarter deficit, 50-38, and staged a killer third-quarter storm to wrest control of the tiff.
Game changing was the impact of Inquirer.net's Bong Lozada, whose inspired play keyed the Media's 7-0 run late in the said frame to turn a two-point deficit to a 71-66 lead.
NBTC’s Anton Altamirano and NCAA Season 95 leading scorer Allyn Bulanadi then hustled up with short stabs to open the fourth period and extend the lead to 11, 86-75 with seven minutes left.
Although Chibueze Ikeh flexed great offensive dominance inside and out in the clutch for Ateneo, the Media's defense was just on-point down the stretch to book its return trip to the championship.
Monteclaro led the Press with 28 points built on eight triples. Pasaol added 26 markers and 12 rebounds, while fellow Davaoeño Bulanadi chipped in 20 points, nine boards, five assists and two steals.
Roy Cayanan of Tiebreaker Times stood out with 11 points, while Altamirano had 10 markers and seven boards, all from the offensive end.
The media also got significant contributions from the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Cedelf Tupas, Spin.ph’s Karlo Sacamos, Abante’s Cyreel Zarate, ESPN5's AJ Bolando, PM's Paul Carpio and Courtside.ph’s Niel Masoy in the game, with Randolph B. Leongson of Spin.ph, Yo Sarmenta of ESPN5, and Matthew Li of Tiebreaker Times calling the shots from the sidelines.
Bacon Austria flirted with a triple-double to carry the load for Ateneo with 29 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists, while Ikeh churned out a monster double-double of 25 markers and 21 boards.
This season's hosts also fielded UAAP treasurer Erika Caitlyn Dy, Blue Eagles assistant coach Yuri Escueta, and ex-Ateneo players Frank Golla and Shaggy Almond in the game.
It was a sweet bounce back victory for Team Media after its highly controversial defeat to the Technical Group/Stats.
Media shoots for back-to-back titles when it faces its rival Technical Group/Stats in the Finals set on Sunday, still at the Big Dome.
MEDIA 102 - Monteclaro 28, Pasaol 26, Bulanadi 20, Cayanan 11, Altamirano 10, Tupas 2, Zarate 2, Bolando 1, Carpio 0, Lozada 0, Masoy 0.
ATENEO 94 - Austria 29, Ikeh 25, Fortuna 18, Escueta 13, Golla 4, Dy 3, Mercado 2, Almond 0.
Quarters: 23-23, 43-50, 71-69, 102-94.