Unsung heroes Adrian Wong, Aaron Black give Blue Eagles depth ahead of playoffs
Aaron Black and Adrian Wong combine for 23 points against La Salle. Jerome Ascano

ATENEO has stayed firmly on track for the semifinals, while getting back at first-round tormentor La Salle, with two new faces stepping up for the Blue Eagles.

Adrian Wong and Aaron Black, who were not even fielded in the season's first Ateneo-La Salle match, led the bench by combining for 23 points in the Blue Eagles’ 73-62 victory over the Green Archers on Sunday.

“Napakalaki ’yung contribution nila. That’s what I’ve been telling all along. When the rookies are finally able to perform with their potential, we can match up with any team,” said Ateneo coach Bo Perasol.

[See Ateneo completes comeback, deals blow to La Salle hopes of reaching UAAP Final Four]

Black scored 13 points in only 13 minutes of action while Wong had 10 markers to help the Eagles extend their win streak to five.

Perasol noted the bench support in the third quarter when the Blue Eagles outscored the Green Archers, 23-9, to turn things around.

“Medyo flat ’yung umpisa namin and sila ’yung nag-pick-up ng cudgels sa mga starters,” said Perasol. “They were able to catch up with their effort.”

Even La Salle coach Juno Sauler acknowledged the contributions of Wong, a 19-year-old Fil-American rookie from Dallas who was coming off residency, and Black, son of former Ateneo coach and current Meralco mentor Norman Black.

“They played with a lot of energy. Black and Wong stepped up in the second half. They took it one notch higher,” said Sauler.

The 6-foot-3 Wong, a graduate of Trinity High School who was tapped by Ateneo after his father sent a video of him playing, said he is only trying to contribute in any way he can.

“It doesn’t matter who gets the points. As long as you get the win, that’s what matters. We are trying to go all the way. That’s our goal. Luckily, I was making my shots and my teammates found me,” said Wong.

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