by Brian Yalung
The New Era University Hunters needed an extra five minutes to defeat the Ateneo Blue Eagles B, 93-84, and capture the Breakdown Basketball Invitational title at the Moro Lorenzo Gym over the weekend.
Joel Gonzallo delivered what he failed to accomplish in regulation by hitting a huge 3-point that gave them an 89-84 lead that all but took the fight out of the Eagles.
He finished with 22 points, the same output of Jeff Comia. Gonzallo also grabbed 10 rebounds.
“It was a well-deserved win, the guys played well offensively and defensively,” said coach Adonis Tierra.
The Hunters started strong, taking as many as 11 points leads but settled for a 40-35 halftime advantage.
Ateneo, however, rallied early in the third to grab the driver’s lead, 46-45, on an alley-oop play by Jawuan White. The Loyola-based squad led by the end of the third quarter, 58-54.
The Hunters managed to reclaim the lead at the eight-minute mark of the fourth quarter, 62-60, and the game turned into a see-saw affair. The Blue Eagles had the upper hand with 1:25 left in regulation, 74-69, before Nemesis Dela Cruz and Jeff Comia buckled down to work to knot the count anew 76-all.
NEU actually had a chance to win it outright in regulation but Gonzallo’s three-point attempt missed its mark.
Miguel Fortuna led Ateneo with 23 points and five assists while Inand Fornillos had a double-double performance of 17 points and 14 rebounds.