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Forthsky trey sparks Ateneo

Forthsky Padrigao drilled the decisive three-pointer with under a minute left to power Ateneo de Manila University to a thrilling 79-70 escape of Far Eastern University in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 85 men’s basketball tournament Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Padrigao’s trey with 38.5 seconds left secured the victory for the Blue Eagles, who survived a late scoring blitz by Patrick Sleat that pushed the Tamaraws to within five, 75-70.

“Scrappy, as expected in every start of the season,” Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin said.

Padrigao posted 19 points on 7-of-15 shooting including three triples and filled the stats box with seven assists, six rebounds and two steals to lead the Blue Eagles, who have been dominating the Tamaraws in their head-to-head duel since 2018.

BJ Andrade got 15 markers including six straight points that gave Ateneo a 69-55 cushion in the last 6:07 of the game.

Sean Ildefonso chipped in with 14 markers and 12 boards while Ange Kouame had 12 points and 14 boards for the Blue Eagles.

LJ Gonzales had 19 points while Sleat finished with 17 markers for FEU.

Meanwhile, National University weathered a third-quarter storm mounted by a pesky University of the East side to escape with a 77-70 win in the first game.

The Bulldogs rediscovered their form in the payoff period after a dangerous dry spell in the third quarter where they were limited to only nine points after taking control of the first half.

Former UAAP Juniors Most Valuable Player Jhon Lloyd Clemente led the way for NU with 15 points on 5-of-11 field goal shooting clip while John Figeroa and Wilson Yu chipped in 13 markers each.

Figeroa also grabbed nine boards for the Bulldogs, who outrebounded the Red Warriors, 50-37.

Michael Malonzo scored 10 points for the Bulldogs, who poured 24 points in the fourth quarter to hand UE its 15th straight defeat after a winless Season 84.

Rookie Kean Baclaan, who left University of Santo Tomas last August despite seeing action in pre-season tournaments, showed flashes of brilliance with eight points and five assists for the Bulldogs.

NU head coach Jeff Napa was just relieved that his wards were able to survive an early acid test.

“It’s a good win for us but still we have a lot of things to work on,” he said.

“Just like in the third quarter, we came out flat. Usually, that’s our strength. We have to address that. We’ll look at the video, then we correct everything,” Napa added as he and the Bulldogs go back to the drawing table to plot their game plan against Ateneo.

The Bulldogs had some scary moments in the third quarter when they stared at their 13-point lead at halftime dwindle.

UE went on top, 51-50, with just 52.1 seconds left when Jalen Stevens scored off a layup.

Timely baskets from Clemente and Figueroa sparked NU’s separation to regain control of the game.

Kyle Paranada had 17 points, five steals, five assists and three boards to pace the Red Warriors while Luis Villegas finished with 15 points before calling it a day midway in the fourth quarter due to leg cramps.

The scores:
First game
NU (77) — Clemente 15, Figueroa 13, Yu 13, Malonzo 10, Manansala 9, Baclaan 8, John 5, Minerva 3, Mahinay 1, Galinato 0, Padrones 0, Tulabut 0, Palacielo 0, Tibayan 0.
UE (70) — K. Paranada 17, Villegas 15, Sawat 7, N. Paranada 6, Stevens 6, Antiporda 6, Payawal 5, Alcantara 5, Remogat 2, Pagsanjan 0, Guevarra 0, Lingolingo 0, Abatayo 0.
Quarters: 24-11, 44-32, 53-52, 77-70.

Second game:
ATENEO (79) — Padrigao 19, Andrade 15, Ildefonso 14, Kouame 12, Koon 11, Ballungay 3, Daves 2, Chiu 2, Lazaro 1, Gomez 0, Garcia 0, Quitevis 0.
FEU (70) — Gonzales 19, Sleat 17, Sajonia 10, Anonuevo 9, Torres 5, Tchuente 3, Alforque 3, Tempra 2, Sandagon 2, Gravera 0, Celzo 0, Guibao 0, Bagunu 0.
Quarters: 24-16, 30-36, 55-50, 79-70.

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