Kiefer Ravena leads Ateneo to come-from-behind OT win over UE
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - Another thrilling win for the Ateneo Blue Eagles, another heartbreaking loss for the UE Red Warriors.
Kiefer Ravena registered a career-high 38 points to go with 6 rebounds, 9 assists and a steal to lift Ateneo over UE in a pulsating 93-91 win in overtime in the men's basketball tournament of UAAP Season 77 on Sunday, August 10 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The King Eagle proved exactly why he is the leader of the Blue Eagles and one of the best players in the collegiate ranks as he forced the first overtime of the season with a game-tying jumper, 80-all, with 23.4 ticks left in regulation.
The Phenom then struck again in extra time and delivered the crucial blows, including the dagger stepback three-pointer over UE star guard Roi Sumang to make it a 91-85 edge for Ateneo with a shade under a minute to go.
Before that he knocked down a floater that stretched their slim lead to 88-85.
"He's (Ravena) always going to be the one to lead the team," head coach Bo Perasol said. "It doesn't matter whether he's going to score or not. It's always just the epitome of showing that can-do attitude regardless of the situation and obviously he was able to deliver for us in the end again."
A Bong Galanza triple at the halfway mark of overtime shoved the Warriors ahead, 84-85, but Chris Newsome calmly hit a pair of charities to reclaim the advantage, 86-85.
However, Sumang, who took the blame for their previous loss to the NU Bulldogs that had left him in tears, had no plans of handing over the game on a silver platter.
Sumang accounted for a 5-0 swing within the final minute as he nailed a shot from long range and dished the rock to Charles Mammie for the jam, resulting to just a slim 91-90 lead for the Blue Eagles.
But Ravena kept his cool at the stripe and made two of his 4 attempts to fend off UE.
Sumang was once again put in the same situation for the third consecutive game where he must deliver for his team to swing the result to their favor. But as he drove hard to the hoop with 5.3 ticks remaining, like the same old script he'd been handed in the past couple of games, Sumang did not make a basket and did not get the call. Once again, he was a picture of disappointment sprawled on the sidelines.
His career-high 30 points along with 5 boards and 7 assists were not enough for UE to arrest their slide. They now have a 2-4 record while Ateneo finishes their first round campaign with a 6-1 slate.
"If you have to go to the bottom line of this, it was just desire for us to get back from that 21 points," Perasol said.
The Eagles battled back from 21 points down in the first half after UE raced to a 26-6 lead late in the opening canto.
The lead stretched to 44-24 before the Eagles chopped it down to just 44-31 heading into the locker room.
Momentum swung to the side of Ateneo in the second half as they uncorked a 17-0 blast bridging the second and third quarters, pulling to within 44-41 after 3 free throws from Ravena just two minutes into the third.
Ateneo later inched closer at the 6:13 mark, 46-44, on a Newsome pull-up jumper. But UE wrested control of the game once again, mounting a counter-attack with a 12-0 blitz capped off by a Galanza triple to pull away once more, 58-44, with under two minutes remaining in that frame.
In the payoff period, the Warriors went full steam ahead and notched a 13-point 70-57 lead in the early goings.
Ateneo then slowly chipped away at the lead, capitalizing on UE's tendency to blow off their advantage down the stretch.
Galanza and Mammie contributed 19 and 18 points to UE, respectively.
Meanwhile, Pessumal and Newsome aided Ravena in this game with 19 and 18 markers, respectively, as Ateneo is assured of a first place finish in the first round.
Ateneo is now in a far better position to start the season compared to Season 76 when they struggled and began with a 0-3 slate.
"We are ending up the first round with a very good slate but it all goes back again in the second round," Perasol noted. "We have to prepare well and rest. We're going to find a way to replicate this round."
Ateneo (93): K. Ravena 38, Pessumal 19, Newsome 18, Elorde 4, Babilonia 4, Tolentino 3, Apacible 2, T. Ravena 2, Gotladera 2, Capacio 1, Porter 0.
UE (91): Sumang 30, Galanza 19, Mammie 18, Varilla 6, Guiang 6, Jumao-as 4, Olayon 4, Palma 4, Arafat 0, Javier 0, Alberto 0.
Quarter scores: 10-28, 31-44, 55-64, 80-80, 93-91.