The Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles have been looking for its identity as the team lost three out of its last four games.
The Katipunan cagers might have done so in an 87-72 win over the Adamson University Soaring Falcons. However, this game might have cost Smart Elite ambassador Kiefer Ravena his shot of gaining the Most Valuable Player crown.
Even with Cameroonian student-athlete Pape Sarr coming off the bench to start the game, the Adamson Soaring Falcons were able to grab an early lead in the game behind sharpshooter Jerome Garcia. The Blue Eagles though were able to bounce back and recover from their early turnovers with Von Pessumal gaining a hot hand. Pessumal eight points in the opening quarter, including two triples. Pape Sarr entered the game midway through the quarter but G-Boy Babilonia was able to move Sarr away from the paint to give Raven space to drive through the lanes. The Blue Eagles held a 22-19 lead to end the opening the quarter.
Fouls and turnovers plagued the second quarter as the Blue Eagles could not commit on defense resulting to fouls while the Falcons hardly moved the ball around resulting to turnovers. J-Gars was aggressive in penetrating the paint in grabbing fouls to keep pace with the aggressiveness of Ravena and Capacio in the quarter during the start of the quarter. However, the Blue Eagles went on a scoring surge in scoring 28 points in the quarter. Fortunately for the San Marcelino cagers, the Blue Eagles committed eight fouls in the quarter resulting to 14 foul attempts and just a nine-point lead for Ateneo, 50-41.
The Blue and White squad continued its surge in the third quarter as Racena and Pessumal teamed up to continue a 14-0 blitz that gave their team a 58-41 lead with 6:39 to go in the quarter. JD Tungcab was able to halt the rally with a three-point play and a find to an open Garcia for a triple.
The physicality of the game though resulted to an unsportsmanlike call on two of the stars in the game. As Vince Tolentino was freed underneath for an easy layup, Joseph Nalos tried to foul Tolentino but was only able to grab the shoulders of the Atenean. It resulted to Tolentino crashing hard to the floor resulting to a flagrant two. Seeing his teammate down and bloodied, Kiefer Ravena went to his teammates aid and confronted Nalos resulting to an unsportsmanlike foul. Ravena later apologized to coach Mike Fermin and Vince Hizon after.
As the game resumed, the Blue Eagles continued its surge as the lead grew to a game-high 21 points. Aeron Black led the way in the blitz in scoring 12 points for a huge 79-58 lead.
The Soaring Falcons were able to limit the Blue Eagles to just eight points in the quarter. As the lead went down to just 13 with five minutes ago, sophomore center Isaac Go was able to halt the Adamson momentum. Go was also able to make a mark on defense in the quarter as he limited Sarr to just two points in the quarter.
After the game, Ateneo head coach Bo Perasol said that “at this point, we are in the position to be in the Final Four. We need all the wins we can get.”
The Ateneo mentor and team captain commended the work done by Black, Capacio, Tolentino, and Go. “We’ve been looking hard on who could score for us outside of Kiefer and Von,” the third-year Ateneo coach said. “Aaron [Black] played great, Gwayne [Capacio] did too.” Ravena also added that Isaac Go had a huge defensive game as well.
Ravena though was quick to say that it was just his teammate instincts that made him confront Nalos. “It just my instincts since I saw Vince’s head hit the floor. I apologized to coach Mike and Vince after,” he said with regret. The unsportsmanlike foul call on Ravena will result to a five point deduction in the Statistical Points tally.
Kiefer Ravena, after shooting at a horrible clip in is last three games, shot 50% from the field for a game-high 20 points. He almost tallied a triple-double as he was able to dish out 11 assists and grab eight boards as well. Co-captain Von Pessumal added 17 points, including three triples while Black and Capacio combined for 27 points.
For the Soaring Falcons, Pape Sarr continued to lead the team in scoring, this time notching 16 points and nine boards. JD Tungcab added 12 points.
As a team the Blue Eagles shot an outstanding 50% from the field. Moreover the team moved the ball well in assisting on 26 of their 33 made field goals. The Falcons on the other hand shot 26/37 from the foul stripe but was just 41% from the field. In addition, the Blue Eagles were able to outrebound the Falcons 43-30.
The Ateneo Blue Eagles (5-4) will next face the league-leading UST Growling Tigers on Wednesday, October 21 at 4:00pm while the Adamson Soariang Falcons (1-8) look to upset the NU Bulldogs on the same day at 2:00pm.
ADMU (87) – Ravena 20, Pessumal 17, Black 14, Capacio 13, V. Tolentino 6, A. Tolentino 4, Ikeh 3, Gotladera 2, Ma. Nieto 2, Mi. Nieto 2, Wong 2, Go 2, Apacible 0, Babilonia 0, Cani 0.
ADU (72) – Sarr 16, Tungcab 12, J. Garcia 11, Nalos 10, Polican 9, Ochea 8, C. Garcia 4, Ng 2, Fernandez 0, Margallo 0.
Quarterscores: 22-19, 50-41, 79-58, 87-72.
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