Ateneo survives Adamson to clinch UAAP Season 85 top spot

Ange Kouame takes it strong inside Adamson’s interior (

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The Ateneo Blue Eagles completed its quest of clinching the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tournament top spot after edging the Adamson Soaring Falcons, 66-61, on November 30, 2022, held at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

After going guns blazing in the first three quarters with their waxing hot offense, the Blue Eagles received a stunner in the final frame that saw their double-digit lead erased.

The Blue Eagles were still up by 11 points, 52-41, with nine minutes left in the ball game but the resilient Soaring Falcons squad uncorked a momentum-clinching run courtesy of their high-octane offense.

Adamson officially put themselves back in the game with three minutes left and held the Blue Eagles to just a deuce in the next two minutes.

With 1:43 remaining in the game, the entire Adamson squad exploded after trimming Ateneo’s lead to just a point, 62-61, after a Cedrick Manzano basket.

However, Ateneo’s championship poise rose to the occasion once again as former Most Valuable Player (MVP) Ange Kouame answered with a deuce to put the pressure back on Adamson.

The Soaring Falcons had a total of three attempts to tie the game at 64-all but failed to cash one in that would’ve forced an overtime period.

Rookie power forward Kai Balunggay led Ateneo after stuffing the stat sheets with 18 points and 14 rebounds while Kouame chipped in 12 points.

BJ Andrade, one of the most consistent scorers for the Blue Eagles, impressed once again and contributed 13 points.

With the huge win, the Blue Eagles are now the official no. 1 team in the Final Four and will enjoy a twice-to-beat advantage.

Ateneo will be waiting for the winner between the Soaring Falcons and the De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Archers that will battle for the last spot in the Final Four elimination.