After wobbly starts in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 86 basketball tournaments, the Ateneo Blue Eagles and University of Santo Tomas (UST) Tigresses found their winning forms to cap the first-round battles on a high note – thanks to Mason Amos and Kent Pastrana, respectively.
Amos delivered stellar performances in his last two games to tow the Blue Eagles to their first back-to-back wins this season while Pastrana anchored the Tigresses for a 2-0 record in the October 16-22 period, enough to get the nods of the Collegiate Press Corps as the UAAP Men’s and Women’s Players of the Week.
Amos, the rookie ace and a gold medalist for Gilas Pilipinas in the Cambodia SEA Games, came up big in the “Battle of Katipunan” as he unloaded 19 points on 6-of-10 shooting laced by 10 rebounds to lift the defending champions over the erstwhile undefeated University of the Philippine (UP) Fighting Maroons via overtime, 99-89, last Sunday.
In fact, it was his personal 5-0 spurt that broke the 85-all deadlock with 2:14 left to play in the extra period. He would nail another basket down the stretch that made it impossible for the Fighting Maroons to mount a comeback as they improved to 4-3 card.
Blue Eagles head coach Tab Baldwin acknowledged the big shots made by his players in overtime, especially the Fil-Australian Amos, noting that it was the only way to win big games such as versus the Fighting Maroons.
But Amos downplayed his numbers, crediting their victory to all his teammates and their impressive defense in an anticipated finals rematch. Ateneo and UP took turns ruling the UAAP the last two seasons.
“Honestly, it was a team effort. If we didn’t have all our guys stepping up today, I don’t think we’d get the job done, so props to the team…We really played defense until the final buzzer and we went to OT. So, it was an up-and-down game, I just wanna give credit to the guys because they deserve it,” Amos told the media.
Amos was also pivotal in Ateneo’s 97-77 win against the hapless UST last Wednesday, dropping 15 points in just 12 minutes of action.
The 6-foot-7 cager averaged 17.0 points, 5.5 boards, and 2.0 dimes while shooting 60% from the three-point area to beat Nic Cabañero of UST and his teammate Chris Koon for the weekly honors presented by San Miguel Corporation and backed by minor sponsors Discovery Suites and Jockey.
Meanwhile, Pastrana took upon herself to pace UST in the women’s division as they recovered from two straight losses with a 90-67 win over Ateneo followed by an 82-66 pummeling of Far Eastern University (FEU) last Wednesday and Saturday, respectively.
Pastrana ended the week with 22.5 points per game, including a 28-point outing against FEU, 5.5 rebounds, 4.5 steals, and 2.5 assists that propelled UST to the No. 3 spot with a 5-2 slate. She outshone NU’s Karl Pingol and Jhaz Joson of Ateneo for the weekly citation.
Ateneo eyes to extend its winning run to three games on October 25 against the FEU Tamaraws at the Mall of Asia Arena while UST tangles with league-leader UP in the women’s side on the same day at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum to start the second round.