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Ateneo pricks UST bubble anew

By Anthony Divinagracia Posted Jul 27th 2013

Ateneo unleashed a big first-quarter onslaught and rode on the shoulders of Kiefer Ravena and Ryan Buenafe in the endgame.

Defending champion Ateneo de Manila University reasserted its mastery over University of Santo Tomas (UST) on Saturday but not without the usual endgame joust as the Eagles outsteadied the Tigers, 61-57, in the 76th UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum.

The Eagles unleashed a big first-quarter onslaught and rode on the shoulders of Kiefer Ravena and Ryan Buenafe, who combined for 10 of Ateneo’s 14 points in the final canto to preserve the lead at the horn.

Ravena led Ateneo with 13 points despite going just 1-of-4 from the line, while Chris Newsome added 10 for the Eagles, who improved to 3-4 at the end of the first round.

“I know deep inside that if we can just get our act together we can beat UST,” Ateneo coach Bo Perasol, whose Eagles limited Tigers center Karim Abdul to just six points while forcing 18 UST turnovers, including 12 in the first half.

“At the end of the day, it’s their willingness to defend a tough team like UST that made the difference.”

Buenafe scored only nine, but had seven in the fourth where Ateneo looked in deep trouble after the Tigers came within 46-49. His triple and a basket off a foul triggered a 7-5 exchange that gave the Eagles some breathing room, 56-51, with three minutes left to play.

UST though refused to give up easily as Clark Bautista knocked in a contested triple with 21.3 seconds left that pushed the Tigers within 57-59. 

It was then that Ravena drained his only freethrow after a Newsome split to seal the deal for the Eagles.

"It was a tough, grind it out win for us. UST gave us a very tough fight," said Ravena, who also chalked up eaight rebounds, a pair of assists and steals, and an all-important block off a potential three-pointer by Ed Daquioag with 38.4 ticks remaning and the Eagles just nursing a 58-54 edge.

With Ravena, Juami Tiongson, and Frank Golla catching fire early on, the Eagles zoomed to an imposing 21-6 lead before the Tigers regained their offensive bearings.

Aljon Mariano poured eight of his game-high 16 markers in a telling 16-6 run to shove UST within 21-27 heading into the break.

However, the Eagles mounted a 12-3 counter-assault behind Ravena, Newsome, and Tiongson to restore Ateneo’s double-digit advantage, 43-31, with 1:47 left in the third frame.

Bautista and Daquioag replied with a triple each to chop the lead, 39-47, going into the payoff period.

Daquioag highlighted UST’s fourth-quarter resistance with a two-handed slam and a triple to move within, 46-49, with 5:27 left.

Mariano top-scored for the Tigers with 16 points but was scoreless in the final canto, while Daquioag and Bautista added 12 and 11, respectively. Despite the loss, UST remained in second place, tying University of the East at 4-3.

The scores:

ADMU 61 – Ravena 13, Newsome 10, Tiongson 9, Buenafe 9, Golla 8, Capacio 4, Pessumal 3, Tolentino 2, Erram 2, Elorde 1.

UST 57 – Mariano 16, Daquioag 12, Bautista 11, Ferrer 9, Abdul 6, Lo 3, So 0, Pe 0, Hainga 0.

Quarter scores: 19-6, 27-21, 47-39, 61-57.