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Ateneo escapes past CSB to sweep AsiaBasket

Ateneo ruled the AsiaBasket Las Piñas Championship. AsiaBasket
By Ivan Saldajeno

LAS PIÑAS—Ateneo reigned supreme in the AsiaBasket Las Piñas Championship after edging College of St. Benilde, 60-57, in the championship game on Sunday night at the Villar Coliseum.

The Blue Eagles barely escaped from the Blazers as the latter just missed out on forcing overtime in the dying seconds.

CSB came back from 11 points down and even took a 51-50 lead early in the fourth quarter before Ateneo regained control of the game.

However, the Blue Eagles could not finish off the Blazers as Kai Ballungay air-balled a clutch three and Joseph Obasa could not convert the follow-up, giving the Benildeans their first shot at forcing overtime.

Migs Oczon, though, missed a right corner three, and Robi Nayve had to foul Obasa to stop the clock with 12.5 seconds left.

Obasa still kept the door open for CSB as he missed two potential dagger free throws, but Prince Carlos' hurried three did not even hit the rim as time ran out.

Ian Espinosa came alive in the final for Ateneo, which swept the entire tournament, with 15 points, two rebounds, one assist, and two steals, while Ballungay, the tournament MVP, added 12 points, 10 rebounds, and one block.

Will Gozum led CSB, who failed to complete a Cinderella finish, with 12 points, four rebounds, two assists, one block, and two steals.

Box Scores:

Ateneo 60 – Espinosa 15, Ballungay 12, Obasa 8, Chiu 7, Bongo 7, Amos 5, Quitevis 4, Tuano 2, Koon 0, Gomez 0, Credo 0, Lazaro 0, Nieto 0, Celis 0

CSB 57 – Gozum 12, Nayve 11, Carlos 8, Sangco 6, Corteza 6, Oczon 5, Arciaga 4, Mara 3, Turco 2, Marasigan 0, Cajucom 0, Davis 0, Jarque 0

Quarterscores: 21-15, 33-29, 50-45, 60-57

Follow him on X: @IvanSaldajeno

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