SPORTS KEN: Ateneo’s monkey wrench

Before tackling the very exciting near-championsip battle between UP and Ateneo, let me first give a round of applause to two outstanding athletes who continue to shine in their respective fields.

Chezka Centerno took to task China’s Yu Han to capture the Women’s 10-ball championship in Klagen, Austria Sunday with a 9-5 thrashing of the three-time world 9-ball queen.

Super Fil-Am GM Wesley So finished runner-up in the recently concluded US Chess Championship, capping a two-win, 9 draw no loss card in the two week long tournament in St. Louis, Missouri.

WS is slated to take part anew in the FIDE Grand Swiss this week to be held in the Isle of Man, a tournament where two slots more for the 2024 Candidates Matches are up for grabs.

And now for the real meat of this column.

Somehow I had this feeling that Mason Amos, the Fil-Australian Gilas protege would have a break-out game for Ateneo.

The 6’8” rookie hasn’t seen adequate playing time until last Sunday when the Blue Eagles needed him most.

He subbed efficiently and scattered 19 markers to ably helped Ateneo deny UP a first round sweep in a 99-89 overtime victory.

From now on, I would suppose coach Tab Baldwin would reward Amos longer playing time as the rookie has displayed fairly mature performance.

Amos outshone his UP counterpart Lebron Lopez in a situation where both were expected to play outstanding basketball for his team.

Goldwyn Monteverde was not outcoached. His boys were outplayed smartly by Amos and this young upstart pointguard – what’s his name – ah, yes, Espinosa.

The Blue Eagles followed to the letter Baldwin’s tactical design for a deliberate transitional running game, looking for the open shots, hitting the open man and the weakest link as well.

As for UP, the Maroons employed what they successfully used against La Salle – a hustling floating zone defense, dribble drive offense coupled with authoritative rebounding, utilizing the superior height and heft of Malik Diuof in the middle.

The Maroons could have won the game outright but failed to execute the last 11 seconds of their shot clock in the remaining 23 ticks of regulation.

The UAAP 86 season is getting more exciting.

Amos is now a marked man.

Monteverde might have not slept a wink after that loss.

See you in the second round matchup! (Email feedback to fredlumba@yahoo.com). GOD BLESS THE PHILIPPINES!

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