Incoming PBA guest team Bay Area fended off a gritty Ateneo de Manila University side, pulling away with a 102-93 victory in a closed-door tuneup game held at Moro Lorenzo Gym on Saturday.
Imports Myles Powell and Andrew Nicholson joined hands for a strong start for the Dragons.
The scoring efforts of the former NBA players buried the Blue Eagles in a 17-point hole midway through the second quarter.
Bay Area then kept its foot on the pedal as the Dragons increased the lead to as much as 22 points in the second half.
However, Ateneo eventually utilized a 12-2 run to get within striking distance in the final minute of the fourth quarter.
A transition three from BJ Andrade enabled the Blue Eagles to get within seven, 93-100, with 41 seconds left in the match.
Still, the Dragons showed their composure down the stretch as they held onto their lead to run away with the win.
“We knew it would be tough, a really good workout for us. Happy that the team competed until the very end,” Blue Eagles head coach Tab Baldwin said.
“We haven’t had many games, the competition in Japan was good but not at this level. We have a lot of holes, both offensively and defensively. We need to be tougher competitively.”
The Blue Eagles were fresh off winning the World University Basketball Games series, sweeping schools from Indonesia, Taiwan, and Japan.
Nicholson was at the forefront of Bay Area’s attack with 20 points, four rebounds, and a steal. Powell notched 16 points, six assists, and three rebounds while Glen Yang followed with 15 points, 10 rebounds, and three assists.
“[It was] a really good game for us. We wanted to play a team that was physical, played real hard, and played together,” Dragons head coach Brian Goorjian shared moments after their win.
“I know Coach Baldwin and I know his reputation. I’ve competed against him for years and I knew that he’d have a team like that and in our development as a brand new team, we needed a game like this.”
Dave Ildefonso led the Blue Eagles with 18 points and five rebounds while Angelo Kouame supplied 14 markers and 12 boards of his own. Forthsky Padrigao also added 12 points, five rebounds, five assists, and a steal in a losing effort.
The Dragons are preparing for their participation in the PBA’s reinforced conference. They have also beaten the Blackwater Elite twice in tuneup matches last week.
The new club will also compete in the East Asia Super League, which has adapted a regional regular season format.
Bay Area 102 – Nicholson 20, Powell 16, Yang 15, Blankley 14, Zheng 8, Ewing 8, Ju 6, Reid 5, Song 5, Lam 5, Zhang 0, Si 0, Zhu 0.
Ateneo 93 – Ildefonso 18, Kouame 14, Padrigao 12, Ballungay 11, Andrade 10, Obasa 8, Garcia 5, Fetalvero 5, Chiu 4, Koon 4, Lazaro 2, Quitevis 0.
Quarterscores: 29-17, 54-39, 84-64, 102-93.
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