THE Ateneo Blue Eaglets banked on the big games of seven foot shooting ace Kai Sotto and SJ Belangel in the first half to smother the University of Santo Tomas Tiger Cubs, 94-63, yesterday at the Blue Eagle gym in Quezon City.
The 15-year old Sotto scored a game-high 20 points and grabbed 13 rebounds as the Blue Eaglets went on to post their fifth straight win in the 80th University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) junior basketball tournament.
Sotto, a member of the Batang Gilas national team, knocked in six points in the second period, including four points during a decisive 8-2 blast in the opening minutes of the second quarter.
His pair of drives in the last 8:13 allowed the Blue Eaglets to move away from a close 18-15 first quarter edge and into a 45-35 halftime edge.
Sotto’s intimidating presence and big baskets from Belangel, who struck with nine of 15 points in the second period, allowed the Blue Eagles to take a 25-point edge, 74-49, at the end of the third.
John Cansino led with 20 points, and was limited to four in the fourth as UST fell behind by 31 points at the end of the game.
“We turned up the intensity in the second period. We knew if we let UST hang around, it will be a close game,” said Blue Eaglets coach Joe Silva.
The Tiger Cubs, who got 10 points and nine boards from Bismarck Lina, and they dropped to third with their 3-2 win-loss slate.
Veterans Jose Sabandal and Andrey Doria made 19 and 17 points for the Adamson Baby Falcons as they prevailed over the University of the Philippines Integrated School Junior Maroons, 86-55.
The Baby Falcons picked up their second triumph in five outings to move to third spot.