Ange Kouame played his first game back but Ateneo fell short against PBA guest team Bay Area,102-93, in their tuneup game at the Moro Lorenzo Gym on Saturday, Aug. 20.
The Blue Eagles saw themselves trapped in a 17-point hole and just couldn’t recover as they trailed by as many as 22 points in the contest that had former NBA players Myles Powell and Andrew Nicholson show the way for the Dragons.
Ateneo refused to go down without a fight as a 12-2 spurt late in the final frame allowed them to come within striking distance in the final minutes, 100-93, following a booming triple in transition from BJ Andrade with 41 seconds left in the clock.
The Dragons, though, showed poise down the stretch to seal the deal.
Kouame made a successful return from a partial ACL tear, finishing with 14 markers and 12 boards while Dave Ildefonso led the team with 18 points. Forthsky Padrigao also added 12 points, five rebounds, five assists, and a steal in a losing effort.
“We knew it would be tough, a really good workout for us. Happy that the team competed until the very end," said Blue Eagles head coach Tab Baldwin. "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.”
Nicholson was at the forefront of Bay Area’s assault with 20 points, four rebounds while Powell notched 16 points, six assists, and three rebounds. Glen Yang followed suit with 15 points, 10 rebounds, and three assists.
“ a really good game for us. We wanted to play a team that was physical, played real hard, and played together,” said Dragons head coach Brian Goorjian 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.”