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Clutch Ravena, hot-shooting Pessumal propel Ateneo past UE

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The dynamic duo strikes for the first time this season!

As expected of them prior to the season, Von Pessumal gave the Blue Eagles the cushion early while Kiefer Ravena placed the finishing blow as the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles soared past the University of the East Red Warriors, 77-72, Saturday afternoon at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

The cagers from Katipunan imposed its size in the opening quarter of the game with Alfonso Gotladera pounding his way in the paint for easy baskets. UE had not other choice but to foul Gotladera, which resulted to the team being in the penalty as early as the 6:58 mark. Moreover, the versatile big man RR De Leon was also being penalized with his second foul at that moment. With Ateneo leading 8-5, Edson Batiller shocked the Ateneo defense in scoring five straight points. Chris Javier also knocked down long jumpers that eventually gave the Red Warriors the lead to end the quarter, 17-15.

The UE defense disintegrated in the second quarter as the Blue Eagles blasted a 15-5 run. Pessumal found his touch in converting with back-to-back three pointers during the rally that gave Ateneo a 10-point lead, 32-22. Pessumal continued his hot shooting as converted on two more triples to close out the quarter with 15 points and giving his team a 10-point lead 43-33 to enter halftime.

Gotladera opened the third canto the way he started the game in scoring four quick points while another triple by Pessumal gave the Blue Eagles the biggest lead of the game 52-33. Javier and Varilla teamed up to replicate the lost production of Batiller, who fell into foul trouble for the majority of the game. Free throws by Charcos cut the lead to just 10 but another Pessumal three-pointer, his sixth for the game, gave Ateneo a 63-50 led entering the final frame.

UE’s pressing defense together with the return of Batiller sparked a huge 9-0 rally to open the game that cut the lead to three, 63-60, with 6:24 to go. Ravena, though, took charge by answering right back with a huge running hook. Ravena found G-Boy Babilonia and Chibueza Ikeh for open baskets for a 6-0 run. Batiller continued to blitz the Ateneo zone while a long jumper by Clark Derige gave UE life by cutting the lead to just three, 71-68, with 52 ticks left in the clock. Ravena went on a fiery press as he backed down Chris Javier and converted on a huge fade away jumper. Free throws by Ravena and Matt Nieto closed the game out for the Blue side, 77-72.

“This is a tough win for us because this is our third game in seven games,” Coach Bo Perasol said after the game. “This is especially tough for Kiefer and Von as they play heavy minutes for us.” Ironically, though, Ravena almost notched a triple-double with 15 points, 9 rebounds, and 9 assists while also successfully stealing the ball twice. Ateneo’s other Smart Elite ambassador Von Pessumal had a season-high 21 points, 7/14 from the field and 6/10 from downtown.

Coach Bo Perasol closed the postgame press conference in saying that they are delighted with where they are. “At least, we have a week to prepare for UST next week.”

For the red-and-white side, Edison Batiller, despite being in foul-trouble still had 19 points on 50% field goal shooting. He added four boards, two dimes, and three steals. Chris Javier added 17 points as well.

The Blue Eagles (3-1) next have the UST Growling Tigers as opponents on Saturday, September 26 at 4:00pm while the UE Red Warriors (2-2) face rivals FEU on Wednesday, September 23 at 2:00pm.

The Scores:

ADMU (77) – Pessumal 21, Ravena 15, Gotladera 9, Ikeh 8, Apacible 6, Nieto Ma. 5, Wong 5, Babilonia 4, Black 2, Capacio 2, Cani 0, Pingoy 0, Tolentino V. 0

UE (72) – Batiller 19, Javier 17, Abanto 6, Charcos 5, Derige 5, Palma 5, Varilla 5, De Leon 4, Yu 4, Sta. Ana 2, Gagate 0, Gonzales 0, Manalang 0

Quarters: 15-17, 43-33, 63-50, 77-72

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