Iran kicks Ateneo-PH out of Jones Cup podium
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Philippines-Ateneo Blue Eagles ended their gallant Jones Cup podium push at the hands of Iran, 70-63, in New Taipei City, Sunday, July 22.
As PH-Ateneo falls out of the podium to settle for 4th, Iran now has a shot at the gold medal by way of quotient after tying leader Canada, whether South Korea wins or loses its match against host team and 5th-placer Chinese Taipei-Blue later on at 7 pm.
The Blue Eagles wrapped up their campaign in the international club tournament with a 5-3 record.
Down by just 3 points, 63-66, with less than 30 seconds left off an Angelo Kouame free throw, Matt Nieto failed to cut the deficit with a midrange jumper. Referees’ whistles remained silent against Ateneo’s attempts to intentionally foul as Iranian sharpshooter Vahid Dalirzahan delivered the dagger trey from way outside.
Matt Nieto, whose buzzer-beater lifted Ateneo past Chinese Tapei's national team just a day earlier, led the Blue Eagles' last stand with 14 points, 3 assists and 2 steals.
Thirdy Ravena added 12 points, 3 boards and 3 assists while Kouame chipped in an 11-point, 14-board double-double with 4 big blocks.
Sorry we fell short on our last game, but we just want to thank everyone who came out and supported us throughout the tournament. It was a great honor playing for the country and every single one of you! #ParaSaBayan— Thirdy (@ThirdyRavenaaa) July 22, 2018
Iranian sharpshooter Vahid Dalirzahan was a downtown dazzler in a full 40-minute showcase, registering a game-high 26 points on a 7-of-14 (50%) from 3-point land to go with a full line of 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks.
Rasoul Mozafarivanani added 16 points and 8 assists on a 3-of-7 (43%) shooting from deep in 36 minutes for Iran.
Kouame had a chance to trim Ateneo’s deficit to two midway through the 4th, but couldn’t get multiple tip-ins to fall. Instead, Iran galloped the other way and finished with a two-hand flush from Amirhossein Khandanpour, 58-52.
Dalirzahan emptied his clip from downtown, but nothing fell his way after 3 long bombs.
Ravena shot off the other way to cut the lead to 3 with the easy layup, 59-62. Partner-in-crime Matt Nieto then sank a technical free-throw off an Iran flop call, 60-62, with 3 minutes left in regulation.
Kouame delivered in the clutch with a crafty layup off two Iran free throws, 62-64, but was called for traveling on the next possession, prompting an Iran timeout.
Dalirzahan and Torabi Mohammad combined for the pick-and-roll action off the inbound, resulting in a Mohammad short hook, 66-62, and Ateneo’s final timeout.
After trailing by 8, 31-39, at the half, Iran rallied back for a massive 20-7 run until midway through the 3rd, 51-46, highlighted by two straight heartbreaker triples from Dalirzahan. The Blue Eagles salvaged what they could and entered the 4th down 4, 50-54.
Dalirzahan and teammate Mozafarivanani combined for 19 of the Iranians' 23 3rd-quarter points, with Dalirzahan dropping 11 on a perfect 3/3 shooting from downtown.
Iran (70) – Dalirzahan 26, Mozafarivanani 16, Vand 9, Mohammad 8, Azari 4, Khandanpour 4, Pazrofteh 3, Sheikhi 0, Bahramzad 0, Monji 0
PH-Ateneo (63) – Nieto, Ma. 14, Ravena 12, Kouame 11, Mamuyac 9, Go 9, Nieto, Mi. 6, Navarro 2, Asistio 0, Verano 0, Andrade 0, Black 0, Maagdenberg 0
Quarter Scores: 15-14, 31-39, 54-50, 70-63