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Ravena, Pessumal combine for 52 to complete NU sweep

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The Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles, in the past five seasons, have struggled against the National University Bulldogs.

After a double-overtime classic in the first round, Ateneo senior Kiefer Ravena sparked his team, while Von Pessumal finished off the Bulldogs in a 68-59 victory to sweep the season series Sunday afternoon at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

In a dazzling display of offensive mastery, Ravena made the hardcourt of the MOA Arena his stage in the first quarter. The Ateneo captain absolutely torched Pao Javellona and the NU perimeter defense, scoring 21 first quarter points. Ravena was perfect from three point country during the run that gave Ateneo a 21-6 lead with 3:02 remaining in the opening quarter. He capped a masterful first quarter performance with a four-point play.

As Ravena was subbed out of the game, the NU defense ground it out to limit the Ateneo offense. With Ateneo holding a 24-16 lead to enter the second quarter, Reden Celda, Kyle Neypes, and Rev Diputado led the turnaround for the defending champions to chip the lead. The hot-shooting of Ravena then cooled off while Alolino was able to bring his team back with two triples to cut the Ateneo lead to just three, 38-35, going into the break.

The Bulldogs were able to gain the lead for the first and only time in the game after an Aroga putback and a Alolino dish to Jeoff Javillonar on the inside for a 39-38 lead. It was short-lived, however, as Ravena scored with an off balance jumper. Back-to-back triples by Ateneo co-captain Von Pessumal extended the lead to seven once more. After a sneaky inbound play that resulted in a Pessumal layup and two free throws by Ravena, the Bulldogs went on an 8-0 rally led by sophomore Diputado to trim the lead down to three. Free throws by Arvin Tolentino and Chibueze Ikeh ended the quarter with Ateneo up 52-47.

In the final quarter, the Bulldogs went scoreless for seven minutes and two seconds as Ateneo’s scrambling defense forced them into turnovers. The NU drought ended with free throws by Alolino while back-to-back conversions by NU’s floor general cut the lead to three, 57-54, with 3:58 to go. Pessumal, though, did not allow another let-down to happen as he finished off the Bulldogs, scoring nine points in the final fourter. Misses by the Bulldogs did not help their cause, while two free throws by Ikeh sealed the game for the Ateneo, 68-59.

“It really helped us in the start for someone to score 21 points in the first quarter,” said a relaxed Bo Perasol about the first quarter surge by the Blue Eagles.

“Kiefer was still hurt coming from the last game, that’s why he lost his explosiveness and had to settle for jumpers,” Perasol disclosed. “Buti na lang he was making them or else they were bad shots.”

Ravena, who finished the game with 32 points with 10/21 shooting and six triples, then admitted they’d had to rush him to game-shape as the last few games of his team are crucial. “70% pa lang ako,” he said about his left ankle injury. “Thankful na nanalo kami at buti na lang ginuide ni Lord yung bola.”

Pessumal added 20 points for the Blue Eagles and was 6/10 from the field, including 4/6 from downtown. For him, though, even if he and Ravena combined for 52 out of the team’s 68 points, the credit should still go to their teammates. “The other guys helped us especially in defense. Everybody deserves the credit.”

For the Bulldogs, Gelo Alolino was their top scorer with 17 markers. He was 6/13 from the field and was able to knock down three three-pointers. He added five boards and three assists. Aroga struggled on both ends as he was just 4/12 from the field in scoring just ten points. He was able to grab 14 boards in the loss.

As a team, the Blue Eagles shot 38.46% from the field compared to just 33.87% for the Bulldogs. Moreover, Ateneo shot more free throws, 17/31, compared to just 11/20 for NU.

The Ateneo Blue Eagles (7-4) look to extend their winning streak as they face the UP Fighting Maroons on Wednesday, November 4, at 4:00pm, while the NU Bulldogs (4-7) have little margin of error left. They need to lick their wounds fast as they face the DLSU Green Archers (5-5) on Wednesday, October 28 at 4:00pm.

The Scores:
ADMU (68) – Ravena 32, Pessumal 20, Ikeh 4, Tolentino A 3, Tolentino V 3, Wong 3, Black 2, Nieto Ma. 1, Babilonio 0, Cani 0, Capacio 0, Gotladera 0, Go 0.

NU (59) – Alolino 17, Aroga 10, Javillonar 8, Celda 7, Diputado 7, Neypes 4, Alejandro 3, Javalona 3, Rangel 0, Tansingco 0, Yu 0.
Quarterscores: 24-16, 38-35, 52-47, 68-59.

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