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Ateneo goes for no.4 vs. UP

By Anthony Divinagracia Posted Aug 14th 2013

Ateneo de Manila University looks for its third straight win when it takes on the University of the Philippines.

For years, Ateneo de Manila University and University of the Philippines (UP) sat on extreme ends of the table.

Until this season.

But the defending champion Eagles have no plans of keeping themselves “Maroon-ed” in the bottom half as Ateneo looks to jumpstart the second round with a victory today in the 76th UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum.

Round 2 of this season’s “Battle of Katipunan” begin at 2 p.m. with the six-peat seeking Eagles (3-4) hoping to re-assert their long-standing mastery of the still-winless Maroons (0-7) and catch archrival De La Salle University at 4-4.

The Eagles are coming off a morale-boosting 61-57 win over second-running University of Santo Tomas heading into the two-week break last July 26.

In the same play date, UP absorbed its seventh straight loss, yielding a tough 57-62 contest to University of the East (UE).

Kiefer Ravena, who sat out half of the Eagles’ games in the first round, underscored his recovery from a serious ankle injury by leading Ateneo to its third win in four outings. He tallied just 13 points and 8 rebounds but fueled the Eagles’ early breakaway while providing the much-needed leadership to hold off the comebacking Tigers down the stretch.

Newcomer Chris Newsome and veterans Juami Tiongson, Ryan Buenafe, and Frank Golla also made their presence felt for the Eagles, who are favored to repeat over the Maroons later today.

UP on the other hand just couldn’t kill the habit of staying with its opponents three-fourths of the way before folding up in the payoff period, no thanks to unforced errors and bad decision-making.

Against UE, the Maroons fumbled two chances to overcome the Warriors’ lead in the final minute of the fourth with an unnecessary eight-second violation and an out-of-bounds infraction.

Making things worse is the poor shooting of Sam Marata, who wound up with just three points on a forgettable 1-of-18 clip in 32 minutes of action.

Statistically, the Maroons are dead-last in a couple of mid-season categories including average points (65.4), field goals (34.5) and rebounding (42.1) – numbers they have to beef up if they want to shake off the new-found confidence of the defending champions and finally grab their first victory.

Doing so, the Maroons must show more activity and head-up plays from Marata, Raul Soyud, Chris Ball, Henry Asilum as well as rookies Joseph Gallarza and Kyles Lao, among others.

The game will air live on Studio 23, BALLS HD 167, and The replay will air on Saturday on BALLS SkyCable channel 34 or Destiny Cable channel 36.