Sam Belangel’s all-around game in the last three minutes bailed the Ateneo Blue Eaglets out of trouble.
His inside game and outside shooting helped propel the Blue Eaglets to 78-68 triumph over the Nazareth School-National University Bullpups on a late Sunday afternoon at the Blue Eagle gym in Quezon City.
The 5’11 Belangel struck with 16 of 31 points in the final period, and his efforts allowed the Blue Eaglets to pull off a 14-game sweep of their elimination round assignment in the 80th University Athletic Association of the Philippines Junior Basketball tournament.
With the sweep, their second in four years, the Blue Eaglets gained an outright final seat, and they will now wait for the result of the stepladder semifinals.
One of Belangel’s two triples in the last 2:25 allowed the Blue Eaglets to tie the count for the last time, 68-all.
Then, his steal and drive off RJ Minerva with 2:02 to allow the Blue Eaglets to regain the lead, 70-68.
“Binigyan ako ng kumpiyansa ng mga teammates ko kaya nanalo kami nang ganoon. It was a great team effort. Kahit may palpak kami, sa huli ay na-solve din namin,” said the 17 year old Belangel.
The Bullpups, with Miguel Oczon showing the way with 17 points, finished second in the eliminations with an 11-3 card.
Rhayyan Amsali shot 13 points for the Bullpups, who fought back from five points down in the last six minutes.
Terrence Fortea had nine while Cyril Gonzales provided seven with Michael Malonzo, whose putback in the last 7:23 allowed the Bullpups to enjoy the lead, 56-55.
Sean Ildefonso banged in 16 points for the Blue Eaglets, while 7’1 standout Kai Sotto added 10.
Sotto scored three of four charities in the last 1:39 to keep Ateneo ahead, 73-68.
It was Belangel’s rebound play that set Sotto up for his last two charity attempts, and after he got fouled by Amsali.
“SJ is the best point guard in high school. He bailed us out today,” said Blue Eaglets coach Joe Silva.
UE 94 - Dulalia 24, Miranda 22, Dichoso 20, Almacen 12, Angeles 9, Vinte 7, Policarpio 0, Tajonera 0, Villarta 0
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