#UAAP77Jrs: Blue Eaglets Escape in OT vs Baby Tamaraws

The Ateneo Blue Eaglets had relatively easy wins during their first two games of the season. Both games were double digit wins. Their search for a 3-0 start required them to play a dangerous and feisty bunch from FEU-FERN.

Ateneo went into attack mode early. They ran in transition often and it helped them erect an early lead, 34-26 after the first half. Matt Nieto and Jolo Mendoza were making their shots while FEU struggled making jumpers and turning the ball over was a huge problem.

Matt Nieto's strong scoring propelled Ateneo past FEU-FERN in overtime!
(image by Dondi Nolasco)
In addition to the Nieto siblings and Mendoza, Shaun Ildefonso of Ateneo also made impressive shots in the paint while Justine Eustaquio provided relentless pressure defense that lead to fast break points for the Eaglets.

In the 2nd half, ADMU controlled the game again and went into the 4th quarter with a 9-point lead. Their defense also limited inside scoring opportunities for the FEU Baby Tamaraws who were relegated to taking a lot of long-range jumpers. FEU only made 4 out of 29 three-point attempts. Marvin Lee could barely hit anything in sight, going 1-16 from deep while 2 of 20 overall. Despite of Lee's cold shooting, the Baby Tamaraws mounted a rally.

Even though it seemed that ADMU had the game in-control, FEU had other plans. They started pressuring with more intensity in the back-court and they actively doubled ball-handlers which resulted to turnovers by the Ateneans. The 9-point lead for the Eaglets slowly disappeared and they faced adversity for the first time during this young season. FEU managed to grab a 5-point lead with 3 minutes left in regulation time.

To Ateneo's credit, they did not wilt under pressure and they did not succumb to panic. Key FTs by Matt Nieto sent the game into overtime at 65-all.

In OT, the Nieto brothers and Jolo Mendoza took over. Mendoza nailed a crucial jumper that put the Eaglets up by 3 with less than 30 seconds to go while Matt Nieto led all scorers with 22 points to go along with an all-around game that saw him lead ADMU with 9 rebounds and 4 assists. Meanwhile, Mike Nieto was effective with his forays in the post and he smartly made plays at the end of overtime that put the game away for Ateneo.

FEU had great games from Rob Aquino (21 points, 8-12 shooting), Brandey Bienes and Christian Fajarito. Bienes and Fajarito finished with double-doubles each and they combined for 28 points and 25 boards. Unfortunately, the rest of the team did not shoot efficiently (39% from the field and 50% from the FT line) and their 30 turnovers cost them this game.

ADMU - 76: Nieto Matt 22, Mendoza 16, Nieto Mike 12, Ildefonso 11, Eustaquio 6, Joson 5, Mamuyac 3, Andrade 1, Ramos 0, Hassan 0, Salandanan 0, Rosales 0.
FEU - 73: Aquino 21, Bienes 14, Fajarito 14, Comboy 8, Peromingan 8, Lee 6, Longalong 2, Khatri 0, Lloren 0, Harrow 0, Pineda 0.

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