After a disappointing outing against the Adamson Soaring Falcons last Sunday, Thirdy Ravena played with a fire in his eye, Wednesday evening.
Thirdy Ravena and the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles played with a sense of urgency as they were able to impose their pace on the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons and take an 87-79 victory at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
“It’s hard, really hard. What a game UP played. We’ve said all along that this was going to be a fight all along,” said third-year Blue Eagles head coach Tab Baldwin. “We have to get everybody’s best. But I’m happy we had with the fight that we had in us.”
Ravena, who only had seven points on 3-for-12 shooting against Adamson, had 17 points and 12 rebounds.
“Tulad ng sinabi ni coach Tab, very intense game but we have to expect that dahil may target kami sa likod namin,” said the UAAP Season 80 Men’s Basketball Finals Most Valuable Player.
The Blue Eagles and the Fighting Maroons figured in a tight first half that saw the Blue Eagles hold on to a three-point lead heading into the final 20 minutes of the game.
“I though our intensity today was what we want to be but our execution is far from what it envisioned it to be,” Baldwin shared.
Anton Asistio, Raffy Verano, and Matt Nieto connived for a 7-0 start to push the Blue Eagles’ lead to 10 points. Ateneo would lead by as much as 13 points midway through the final frame.
Third-year Fighting Maroons head coach Bo Perasol was thrown out of the game after storming the court with 6:56 left in the game. Perasol alleged that Bright Akhuetie was fouled after crashing down hard during a dunk attempt.
It certainly fired up the Fighting Maroons as Juan Gomez de Liano sparked a fightback, trimming the lead down to just five. However, Ateneo’s experience in the clutch proved to be the difference to hold off the UP.
“That UP team is very good aren’t they? Juan Gomez de Liano is a really good player. But I think that it’s our defense is what carried us today,” shared Baldwin.
Gomez de Liano notched his career-high 29 points, spiked by four triples, with six rebounds.
Compared to just eight assists against Adamson, Ateneo dished out 13 this time around. This helped open up Angelo Kouame, who had 14 points and nine rebounds with five swats.
“It’s nice to get the ball around and see everyone share the ball,” expressed Ravena.
Akhuetie almost had a triple-double with 10 rebounds and nine assists but was limited to just eight points. The Nigerian student-athlete, who was celebrating his 22nd birthday, had 15 points in his UAAP debut last Saturday.
Ateneo looks to end its killer stretch on a high note when it faces the FEU Tamaraws on Saturday, September 15 at the SMART Araneta Coliseum. UP, on the other hand, looks to make a resounding bounce back when it takes on the UST Growling Tigers on Sunday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
ADMU 87 –– Ravena 17, Asistio 16, Kouame 14, Ma. Nieto 12, Mi. Nieto 7, Go 5, Mendoza 5, Wong 5, Verano 4, Black 2, Belangel 0, Navarro 0.
UP 79 — Ju. Gomez de Liano 29, Desiderio 15, Manzo 9, Akhuetie 8, Ja. Gomez de Liano 5, Murrell 4, Dario 3, Gozum 2, Prado 2, Vito 2, Jaboneta 0, Lim 0, Spencer 0, Tungcab 0.
Quarterscores: 25-24, 46-43, 67-58, 87-79.
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