MANILA, Philippines - The Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles soared to its fifth consecutive UAAP title on Thursday, October 11, after it defeated the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers 65-62 during Game 2 of the best-in-three finals series, in front of 20,186 fans in a jam-packed Araneta Coliseum.
Kiefer Ravena and Greg Slaughter teamed up to score 15 of the Blue Eagles' 18 points in the final period as the Katipunan-based squad fended off a late rally by the erratic Growling Tigers.
"This one was tough," Coach Norman Black shared after the game. "We really had to make big plays down the stretch to win."
Ravena, who had a game-high 22 points, echoed his mentor's sentiments.
"Pinahirapan kami ng UST that's why it's worth it," the super sophomore said. "Buti nalang we had enough offense to push through in the end game."
With Slaughter flexing his muscles down low, Ateneo built a 59-51 advantage early in the fourth quarter, but needed clutch baskets from Ravena and Juami Tiongson to seal their fifth consecutive championship.
The Tigers clawed their way to 60-58 after a basket by Jeric Teng before Karim Abdul slipped, turning the ball over to the Eagles, who converted on a Tiongson runner that gave them a 62-58 cushion, a minute and 12 seconds remaining.
The Espana-based squad flubbed another chance to inch closer, with Kevin Ferrer failing to inbound the ball in time.
After splits by Slaughter and Teng, Ravena attacked the basket and scored on a dagger stepback jumper to lift Ateneo, 65-59, with less than 30 ticks left on the clock.
Jeric Fortuna responded with a three but UST committed yet another turnover with three seconds remaining to lose their first championship series since 2006.
"Breaks of the game lang talaga," rued coach Pido Jarencio. "Siguro para sa kanila talaga 'to (I guess this was really for them)."
Salva failed to duplicate his heroic 30-point Game 1 effort, settling for eight points and six rebounds in this game.
His so-so outing, though, didn't stop the Season 74 Finals MVP from scoring a second straight Finals MVP trophy for the Eagles.
"Nothing's like leaving your school with a championship," Salva, who won five titles in five years with Ateneo, said. "This is the sweetest."
Slaughter had 15 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks in his last game for the Blue and White while Tiongson capped a solid year with 10 points, three assists and two steals.
On the other hand, Fortuna bade his collegiate career goodbye with his best outing in a year, posting a season-best 20 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
Fortuna's brilliant game, however, failed to offset the atrocious performances of Jeric Teng, Karim Abdul, Aljon Mariano and Kevin Ferrer, who, after combining for 69 points in Game 1, only had 24 tonight.
The Eagles' championship is also a fitting goodbye to head coach Norman Black, who is leaving Ateneo to return to coaching professionally. Black's 8-year-stay at the Ateneo makes him the longest tenured coach in the school's history. The 5-peat is also Ateneo's first. - Rappler.com, with reports from Josiah Israel Albelda and Natashya Gutierrez
ADMU, 65: Ravena 22, Slaughter 15, Tiongson 10, Salva 8, Chua 6, Gonzaga 3, Sumalinog 1, Golla 0, Elorde 0, Buenafe 0
UST, 62: Fortuna 20, Teng 9, Lo 8, Abdul 8, Ferrer 7, Bautista 6, Mariano 4, Vigil 0, Pe 0, Afuang 0
Quarter scoring: 13-14, 29-29, 47-46, 65-62
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