ATENEO began its title defense in convincing fashion, whipping Adamson, 73-57, on Sunday in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
The slow-starting Eagles were down by one point after the first frame and ahead by just four at the intermission, but they turned their game around in the second half with a fine defensive effort against the Falcons.
“It was a workmanlike effort on the part of my players,” said Ateneo coach Norman Black. “To be honest, we haven’t really played many games since the summer league so we just wanted to find out where exactly we are now as far as performance is concerned.
“We were one of a few teams that didn’t had much practice time at the Mall of Asia Arena so we just concentrated on stopping the other team,” he added.
Greg Slaughter had 17 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks for the Eagles. His dunk also started a 10-0 spurt that gave the Blue Eagles a 49-37 edge in the third quarter.
Nico Salva tallied 14 points and six rebounds, Kiefer Ravena had nine points and Oping Sumalinog and Ryan Buenafe each had six markers for the reigning four-time champions.
The Falcons and Eagles were matched in rebounding, 48-47, but the latter had a 20-8 advantage in assists.
Rodney Brondial had 13 points and 10 rebounds while Alex Nuyles had 12 points for the Falcons. Eric Camson had 10 points but shot a miserable four-of-22 from the field.
ATENEO 73 — Slaughter 17, Salva 14, Ravena 9, Sumalinog 6, Buenafe 6, Tiongson 5, Erram 5, Chua 4, Gonzaga 3, Golla 2, Elorde 2, Porter 0, Pessumal 0, Lim 0, Capacio 0.
ADAMSON 57 — Brondial 13, Nuyles 12, Camson 10, Cabrera 10, Cruz 4, Monteclaro 3, Trollano 2, Etrone 2, Cabigas 1, Julkipli 0, Agustin 0, Abrigo 0.
Quarterscores: 15-16; 32-28; 55-45; 73-57.