ATENEO once again leaned on its vaunted third-quarter assault as it downed University of Santo Tomas, 79-52, in the UAAP Season 85 men's basketball tournament on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Dave Ildefonso drained two treys to break out of his funk and key the Blue Eagles' 24-point third quarter, which was highlighted by a 14-2 blast that turned a 37-36 game into a 51-38 advantage at the 3:26 mark of the frame.
[READ: How is coach Tab the morning after a tough loss?]
Not helping the Growling Tigers any was Adama Faye picking up his fifth foul off a technical after a verbal spat with Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin, which only boosted the Blue Eagles' breakaway as the lead stretched to 29 points on Sean Quitevis' split from the line.
"The players felt not great at halftime, but the coaching staff felt that it wasn't really that bad. If we stuck to the job, and we have good players, they were gonna hit shots," said coach Tab Baldwin.
"In the second half, we finally started to hit some shots. It was a tough game and we expect that from UST," he added.
Ildefonso contributed 10 points, nine rebounds, and six assists after starting the game shooting 1-of-11.
Forthsky Padrigao also atoned for his woeful showing against La Salle and responded with a career-high 20 points, to go with eight assists, five steals, and three boards to guide Ateneo to a 3-1 record.
Kai Ballungay added 10 points and three rebounds, as Ange Kouame had seven points, eight boards, and two blocks before sitting out the payoff period.
Tthe Blue Eagles had 27 assists on 27 made shots.
Nic Cabanero led UST with 12 points, four rebounds, and two assists, while Ivan Lazarte got 11 points and five boards for the Tigers, who succumbed to their third straight defeat and fell to 1-3 overall.
ATENEO 79 - Padrigao 20, Ildefonso 10, Ballungay 10, Koon 7, Kouame 7, Chiu 5, Quitevis 5, Andrade 3, Gomez 3, Garcia 3, Fornilos 3, Lazaro 2, Daves 1, Fetalvero 0, Ong 0, Lao 0.
UST 52 - Cabanero 12, Lazarte 11, Faye 8, Pangilinan 5, Manalang 5, Duremdes 5, Garing 4, Magdangal 2, Manaytay 0, Calimag 0, Laure 0, Mantua 0, Herrera 0, Escobido 0, Gesalem 0.
Quarters: 18-14, 33-32, 57-43, 79-52.