Tuesday, 10 September 2013 6 Comments
by JOSEF T. RAMOS
DEFENDING champions Ateneo de Manila University bucked the absence of head coach Bo Perasol on Sunday to rally past the University of the East (UE), 77-72, in the second round of UAAP Season 76 men’s basketball at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The Blue Eagles shook off their bad first three quarter-performance to eliminate the Red Warriors in the Final Four race to tie the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers in the fourth place with a 7-5 win-loss mark.
Kiefer Ravena, who scattered a season high 22 points, hit six straight points in Ateneo’s dazzling 18-3 run in the third quarter that transformed a 12-point deficit into a slim 52-49 advantage with only three minutes left and 41 seconds left in the last quarter.
“I never doubt my teammates,” said Ravena. “We dedicate this win to all Ateneo supporters and to coach Bo. I just keep playing and finally got my rhythm back.”
UE made a last ditch effort to regain the lead and eventually narrow the gap to only 69-72 with two minutes remaining but couldn’t convert in the succeeding possessions including Roi Sumang’s crucial missed lay-up in the waning seconds of the game.
Ravena scored the game-clinching lay up to provide the Blue Eagles a 74-69 cushion.
Rookie Chris Newsome added 19 points and eight rebounds for the Blue Eagles, who missed the service of Perasol due to a one-game suspension slapped by the UAAP board after confronting a La Salle fan last week in a game against De La Salle University.
Ryan Buenafe contributed nine points for Ateneo.
Assistant coach Sandy Arespacochaga took care of the head coaching duties for Ateneo in this game.
“We did not play good defense in the first half and then we responded big in the second half by playing great defense that limited their (UE) scorers especially Sumang,” said Arespacochaga.
The UE Red Warriors, who lost their fourth consecutive game to fall to 5-7 win-loss slate, will not be in the Final Four for a fourth straight season after becoming a season-favorite when they won the Filoil Flying V pre-season Cup.
Sumang led UE with 27 points while African import Charles Mammie had 11 points and 17 rebounds.
AdMU (77) – Ravena 22, Newsome 19, Buenafe 9, Elorde 7, Tiongson 6, Pessumal 5, Erram 5, Golla 4, Tolentino 0, Enriquez 0
UE (72) – Sumang 27, Mammie 11, Jumao-as 10, Alberto 10, Noble 5, Santos 4, Sumido 2, Hernandez 2, Javier 1, Olayon 0, Pujante 0, Flores 0, Casajeros 0
14-16. 34-44, 56-55, 77-72