Monfort, Long save the day for Ateneo

College Hoops
Photo by Jerome AscanoNPPA Images

Spitfire guard Emman Monfort put on a crucial stop in the dying moments of the game against Adamson on Sunday.

He went 2-for-2 from the charity stripe as he sealed Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles’ 55-51 win over the Adamson University Falcons before a big opening game crowd at the Araneta Coliseum.

After team captain Kirk Long scored the 53-51 go-ahead basket with only 1:40 left, the 5-foot-6 Monfort stole the ball from an unsuspecting Rodney Brondial. He then earned a trip to the free-throw line and continued their 29-game dominance of Adamson.

“It was pretty much as I expected. They [Adamson] played very well defense. They are a well-coached and definitely a very talented team. But our defense started to clamp on them in the fourth quarter and that’s how we won,” said ADMU coach Norman Black who was responsible for bringing Ateneo to three consecutive titles in the last three years.

Adamson led the game at the start of the fourth quarter courtesy of Austin Manyara, Eric Camson and Alex Nuyles who scored at will against the Eagles.

Black then replaced all his players on the floor. This move paid off as Long, Monfort, and Greg Slaughter erased ADU’s seven-point lead and held the Falcons scoreless in the last 7 minutes of the game.

Slaughter scored a game-high 23 points and posted a 9-14 field goal shooting. He also boosted  Ateneo's defense and finished the game with eight boards and two blocks.

“Playing college basketball is quite different from playing in Smart Gilas. The crowd was great. The plays were also different,” said Slaughter who also dons the National Team jersey.

Ateneo’s rookie Kiefer Ravena was not able to play his game as he was limited by Adamson’s defense. He finished with just two rebounds in 14 minutes of play.

“They were able to check Ravena. They prepared well for him,” said Black on Ravena’s blackout in his first UAAP game. “But not all team is Adamson. Hopefully, he can show what he’s got on our next games.”

Long pitched in 10 points and five rebounds for the Loyola-based squad while Nico Salva and Monfort added eight and six points, respectively.

Nuyles and Lester Alvarez, on the other hand, scored 11 and eight markers for Adamson but their efforts weren’t enough as the Ateneo defense limited them to only 26.6 percent field goal shooting.

Ateneo will face archrivals De La Salle University on Saturday.

“It’s always a big game when we face La Salle. It’s their pressure defense that we’ve got to be prepared with because they will surely be defending hard,” said Black.