IT took a whole lot for Ateneo to be able to stop the rampaging Alvin Pasaol but in the end, it was mission accomplished for the unbeaten Blue Eagles.
Averaging 28.2 points in the past six games, Pasaol was limited to just eight points on 2 of 11 shooting as the Eagles downed the UE Warriors for their 11th straight win.
Thirdy Ravena became his primarily marker, with Vince Tolentino and Raffy Verano also helping out as they held Pasaol below double digits for the first time in the UAAP Season 80.
Pasaol scored 22 against the Eagles in the first round.
“Knowing Alvin, palaban siya. He’s not gonna back out from a challenge,” said Ravena who also finished with a game best 17 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
“It had to take a good team effort especially with Vince. We had to be prepared coming in the game. We had to know which plays they run for him. We knew we had to be ready for their physicality,” he added.
Tolentino relished the times where he had to step in for Ravena.
The graduating forward used his length to disrupt the burlier Pasaol and while he forced the 6-foot-3 forward to tough shots, Tolentino still credited their team defense in stopping Pasaol.
“It was really Thirdy who got him most of the time but when I had him in a couple possessions, I just made him hit tough shots,” Tolentino said who wasn’t bad himself offensively with 12 points on 5-for-8 shooting.
“I know that he’s always a scoring threat. We just relied on our team defense. I just trusted that when I get beat, they’re gonna be there to help,” he added.
Coach Tab Baldwin says that while he understands the threat that Pasaol brings, he wasn’t really gonna get “too caught up thinking about players.”
But for the former national team mentor, the key was making Pasaol work on both ends.
“Alvin’s an offensive threat so right from the get-go, we attacked him and got some fouls on him. I know that gets to their players’ mind. It takes away their aggressiveness,” said Baldwin.
When he’s playing three, he’s a handful. We did a really good job defensively on him. Limited him to one shot on offense and then we made him work on defense.”