UAAP 77 jrs. basketball: Eaglets climb to 12-0!

January 26, 2015
Enzo Flojo; Photos by Joji Lapuz of
Two Nietos  vs. two Gomez de Liaños. Photo and caption by Joji Lapuz of
The Ateneo Blue Eaglets reaffirmed their dominance in the UAAP Season 77 juniors basketball tournament, beating the UPIS Junior Fighting Maroons and consequently cementing their status as the league’s top-seeded team heading into the next round of competition.
The  Ateneo de Manila HS Blue Eaglets had little trouble disposing of the overmatched Junior Fighting Maroons, 83-66. Coach Allan Gregorio’s Diliman-based wards actually kept the game close in the first ten minutes, trailing by just one point, 18-19, heading into the second canto. Coach Joe Silva’s Eaglets, however, rose to the occasion, scoring 32 markers in the second period to break the game open, 51-33, at the halftime break. The Loyola five was on cruise control from then on, copping its twelfth victory in as many tries. Ateneo had the edge on the boards, 61-46, to compensate for their 20 turnovers, while also knocking down 47% of their threes. The terrific trio of Mike Nieto, Matt Nieto, and Jolo Mendoza combined for 7 of those treys, while Gian Mamuyac and Marc Salandanan each dropped one trifecta. Big Mike paced the victors with a 21-point, 13 rebounds double-double, while twin brother Matt added 16 points and 9 boards. Mamuyac, a Grade 11 standout, registered 10 markers in just 19 minutes of play. So dominant were the Eaglets that coach Silva could afford to field in 15 of his 16 players. On the other end, the Junior Maroons saw Javi Gomez de Liano, himself a product of the Ateneo Grade School, and Allane Barles combine to score 22 points. UPIS sank to 1-11 in the standings. Grade 11 standout Gian Mamuyac registered 10 markers in just 19 minutes of play. Photo by Joji Lapuz of
The only team below the Junior Maroons in the league table is UE, which also lost over the weekend. The Junior Warrios were soundly beaten by second-running National University, 75-52. Coach Jeff Napa’s Bullpups led by as many as 32 points in this one, and they grossly outworked UE on the glass, 66-32. Batang Gils big man Mark Dyke collared 19 rebounds, while 6’5 Justine Baltazar grabbed 13 ribbies. Dyke also had 23 points to pad his stat-line, while Baltazar tossed in a dozen markers. Versatile wingman Jordan Sta. Ana also impressed for the defending champs with 10 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds, and 1 steal. Camillus Altamirano was the only Junior Warrior to break the double-digit mark with 16 points in 18 minutes. NU is now at 9-3, needing to win at least one more game to secure a twice-to-beat edge in the Final Four.
Speaking of the Final Four, things got a lot more interesting after the Adamson Baby Falcons and FEU-FERN Baby Tamaraws recorded separate wins over fellow middle-of-the-pack teams De La Salle-Zobel and UST respectively.
Adamson continued its impressive second round winning run, running roughshod over the Junior Archers, 81-61. The Baby Falcons torched Zobel with 11 threes while also displaying better ball movement with 21 assists compared to just 7 for the Alabang-based Greenies. Fred Tungcab shone for the Baby Falcons, scoring 15 points and hauling down 13 rebounds, while James Pasturan and Gerald Fernandez backed him up with 19 and 16 markers respectively. Former Batang Gilas candidate Aljun Melecio paced Zobel with 24 points and 11 rebounds, but nobody else scored more than 9 points for coach Borsi Aldeguer’s team, which fell into a three-way tie for third place with their tormentors and the Baby Tams.
As for the Baby Tamaraws, they padded their Final Four chances after defeating the UST Tiger Cubs, 57-48. UST never led in this crucial game, and they couldn’t recover after a disastrous third quarter that saw them trail by 11 points entering the final frame. Kin Santos and Nicole Luna scored 15 and 10 points respectively for the Cubs, who now have to win both their remaining games (against Zobel and Adamson) to maybe steal a Final Four spot. FEU-FERN, meanwhile, rose to a tie for third place in the standings, and two more wins will secure a Final Four spot for them (their last two games are against UPIS and Zobel). Four Baby Tams scored in double-figures here, led by Wendell Comboy’s 13 points. Brandrey Bienes, Marvin Lee, and Chistian Fajarito combined for 32 markers in supporting roles.
Continue checking out the #UAAP77Jrs games at the Blue Eagle Gym. The next four games on Wednesday, January 28, 2015 are the following:
9am: NU vs Adamson
11am: DLSZ vs UST
1pm: UE vs Ateneo