MANILA, Philippines – The Ateneo-La Salle rivalry has two new stars in Mason Amos and Kevin Quiambao.
So when the Blue Eagles and Green Archers faced off in the second round of the UAAP Season 86 Men’s Basketball Tournament, all eyes were on both big men.
On Saturday, Quiambao and the Green Archers defeated Amos and the Blue Eagles, 72-69, at the Araneta Coliseum, and the former had nothing but praise for his Loyola Heights counterpart.
“Mason is unique and his talent is great. I respect him because he competes at the highest level,” the MVP favorite said in Filipino.
“As coach always says, we focus on each other and both of our physical players have just shown our friendship before. Knowing Amos as well, I have the advantage of knowing his strengths and weaknesses.
Quiambao had another phenomenal all-court performance with 14 points, nine rebounds, six assists, a steal and a block in a victory that set La Salle’s record at 11-3.
Amos, however, held his own, scoring 10 points, scoring three baskets from beyond the arc and adding three rebounds.
However, coach Tab Baldwin criticized Amos’ performance against Quiambao and said there was something to work on in terms of his defensive impact.
“Mason needs to improve defensively, and that’s a fact, but when he focuses on it and plays intelligently, he can compensate for some areas where he is not at the right level athletically,” the coach said after the Blue Eagles finished the qualifying round with a record of 7- 7.
“But Mason has size, strength and when he plays smart basketball, he can be a decent defender,” he added.
The two teams could face each other again this season if the Blue Eagles displace Adamson in the playoffs and finish fourth in the playoffs, then defeat top-seeded UP to advance to the finals with the Green Archers winning over National University in the Final Four.