Ateneo pulls away to keep UP winless
MANILA, Philippines -- Ateneo de Manila University turned to star guard Kiefer Ravena and veteran Ryan Buenafe to beat hard-fighting University of the Philippines, 72-64, in the 76th UAAP men’s basketball tournament on Sunday, July 21 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Still not at 100%, Ravena flaunted his deadly form with a team-high 15 points while the burly Buenafe fired 13 points -- 10 in the first half while also pulling down 7 boards for the Eagles’ cause.
“I was giving them a clear picture of what they can do,” said Ateneo rookie head coach Bo Perasol. “That team (UP) is very dangerous.”
“Good thing about us is that Kiefer is already 50%,” quipped the former PBA coach of his prized ward who is recuperating from a Grade 3 ankle sprain.
It was a nip-and-tuck affair in the first quarter, with Ateneo leading their Katipunan neighbor by just two points, 19-17.
But the Eagles zoomed to a 38-30 lead at the end of the first half behind Ravena and Nico Elorde as they shot 6-of-12 from the three-point area, with Elorde sinking in a buzzer-beating triple to cap Ateneo’s sizzling 3-point barrage.
The Blue Eagles broke the game wide open in the third quarter blitz to take a commanding 57-40 cushion going into the payoff period via its sleek-running game and vaunted defense that made the Fighting Maroons shoot bricks in the quarter.
“That third quarter is really our waterloo in our past games,” rued Ravena. “At least this time, alam na namin gagawin namin.“
UP, however, will not go out without a fight as Sam Marata and unheralded Andres Desiderio and Jason Ligad connived to make things interesting in the final canto.
Down by 13 points in the deep waters of the game, the comebacking Marata decided to take matters into his own hands as he buried a trey, scored on a leaner and capped the Maroons’ last-ditch effort with a jumper in a span of over two minutes to push UP to within 62-70 with only 1:49 remaining.
It proved to be the Fighting Maroons last hurrah, though.
Marata bungled consecutive jumpers that paved the way for a highlight-reel alley-op dunk by athletic freshman Chris Newsome off a Juami Tiongson pass with only 33.6 ticks left to ice Ateneo’s second win of the season.
Newsome chipped in 13 markers, 7 boards, 2 assists and 1 steal.
Marata paced UP with 22 points on 9-of-24 shooting while Ligad and Chris Ball added 10 apiece for the Fighting Maroons, who slid to 0-5. - Rappler.com