Saturday, 1 June 2013 15 Comments
The Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles, still fresh from their trip to the US for training, were instantly put to the test to see whether those lessons from across the globe truly stuck with them.
That test came against their rivals the De La Salle Green Archers no less, in their first duel of the preseason in the FilOil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup. The Archers have been a force in the tournament and are looking to be legitimate title contenders in the UAAP as they are loaded with veterans and fresh faces.
And in front of a jampacked crowd at the Arena in San Juan City, the Eagles proved their supporters right and flew higher than the Archers to grab the top seed in Group B with a 78-70 win.
“I think we also made a statement that if anybody is going to take the crown away from us, they have to be extraordinarily good or they have to bleed for it. I think these bunch of guys are not ready to give up the crown,” said Ateneo head coach Bo Perasol.
The contest became hot from the get go as both teams quickly nailed treys and three-point play opportunities.
It seemed that there would be a slew of lead changes all afternoon. But as the first canto wore on, the Archers found themselves in the dust as the Eagles, who were severely undermanned with only 10 players playing, zoomed to an 18-7 lead with under three minutes remaining in the first.
The Archers then got their bearings in the second frame as Almond Vosotros, who contributed 14 points, nailed back to back threes to come to within one, 23-24. La Salle then took the lead in the ensuing play courtesy of a bucket by Norbert Torres, who had nine markers.
But Ateneo hit their booster button once more to push the lead back up to 34-25 from a breakaway basket by Kiefer Ravena at the 4:59 mark.
In the third period, Ateneo unleashed an offensive fury to build a 20-point wall against the Archers thanks to a completed and-one play by Juami Tiongson, who clocked in 15 points, nine boards and two dimes. He also had one block, showing his aggressiveness in this game, to the surprise of Coach Bo.
“This is my first time in an Ateneo-La Salle game and I haven’t seen Juami (Tiongson) this aggressive. He hasn’t been aggressive for the longest time. It takes a La Salle game for him to be that aggressive,” remarked Coach Bo.
Towards the end of the third though, La Salle began staging a comeback to enter the payoff period down by a manageable 63-51.
As momentum shifted to the side of the green and white, the Archers came to within six, 61-67, on a split from the line by Thomas Torres who finished with nine points.
Ravena, however, was once again the X factor for the 5-peat UAAP Champions as he doused water on La Salle’s rally by draining contested fadeaway and turnaround jumpers.
Ravena finished with a game high 31 points on 13 of 19 field goals along with five boards, two dimes, and one steal.
“Every time that Kiefer (Ravena) plays that kind of super game, I think we’ll always be in the winning contention,” remarked Coach Bo of his ward.
La Salle knocked on Ateneo’s door once more, 70-76, on a Thomas Torres trey with 1:16 left.
Jeron Teng, who contributed 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds, had a chance to trim the deficit to four but missed both freebies with 42 seconds left to play.
Ateneo ultimately closed the door on their rivals as Ravena scored off a breakaway basket and sealed the deal.
Frank Golla added 12 points for Ateneo while rookie Anton Asistio showed a little glimpse of the future as he played worthwhile minutes to finish with six points on 2 of 4 treys and one assist.
Jason Perkins led the way for La Salle with his double-double output of 15 points and 14 boards.
Despite the win though, Ateneo is set to withdraw from the FilOil tourney due to injuries plaguing their team. You can read the report here.
Ateneo (78): Ravena 31, Tiongson 15, Golla 12, Asistio 6, Tolentino 5, Newsome 4, Elorde 3, Buenafe 2, Murphy 0, Lim 0
La Salle (70): Perkins 15, Vosotros 14, Teng 14, T. Torres 9, Van Opstal 9, N. Torres 7, Dela Paz 2, Bolick 0, Reyes 0, Tampus 0, Salem 0
24-15, 42-33, 63-51, 78-70