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Desperate Eagles face winless UP

By Josiah Albelda Posted Jul 21st 2013

Kiefer Ravena and the rest of the Ateneo Blue Eagles hope to turn things around against the winless UP Fighting Maroons.

With four losses in five games, Ateneo de Manila University star Kiefer Ravena is the first to admit that these are desperate times for the reigning champions.

And with still winless University of the Philippines next in their crosshairs, the Blue Eagles won't be taking any chances when the two meet in the 76th UAAP men's basketball tournament at 2 p.m. on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

"We have to be extra motivated to win," Ravena said after Ateneo absorbed a close loss to University of the East. "It's desperation mode: on."

After a resounding win over Adamson University, the Eagles crashed back to earth against the Red Warriors, showing the holes in their game that pushed them to start the season 0-3.

"Sayang, it could have been a season-changer for us," Ravena added. "Sadly, we came up short."

Ravena said that despite the obstacles and injuries the Katipunan crew has been dealing with over the past three weeks, the five-peat champions are not about to roll over and die anytime soon.

"We still believe in ourselves," he said. "We just have to go, keep on pushing day in, day out."

For that to happen, though, Ravena has to get more involved in the offense, as the guard, who missed two of their first three games, has averaged a career-low 5.7 points per outing so far.

Ryan Buenafe is expected to return after missing the second half of their UE loss with a rolled ankle and Juami Tiongson and Chris Newsome are tipped to provide the usual numbers for coach Bo Perasol.

Meanwhile, the Fighting Maroons get their best chance to win in the first round as they will be facing second-running University of Santo Tomas next.

The game will air live on Studio 23, BALLS HD 167 and with a same day replay at 6 p.m. on BALLS SkyCable channel 34/ Destiny Cable channel 36.