Collegiate basketball star Kiefer Ravena again lifts Ateneo past UST at the UAAP Season 77 men's basketball tournament on Saturday.
MANILA (UPDATE 1) The Ateneo Blue Eagles took sole possession of second place in the league standings after beating the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers, 69-58, in the UAAP Season 77 men's basketball tournament Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Kiefer Ravena finished with a double-double of 23 points and 13 rebounds to go along with six assists, and came up big anew in the final quarter. He scored 10 of his 23 points in the pay-off period and orchestrated a 10-0 run midway through the frame to help Ateneo build a 61-49 lead.
"As expected, we had a grind of a game against UST, and we're thankful to come out with a victory," said Ateneo coach Bo Perasol. "One of the few things that we emphasized was rebounding, and that's what Kiefer did."
"Aside from scoring, he helped us in rebounding as well," he added.
Trailing by four points, 46-50, entering the fourth, the Tigers cut the deficit to just two points when Aljon Mariano connected on a jump shot with 8:57 to go. But on another UST possession, he misfired on a three-pointer that led to a fastbreak lay-up by Ateneo rookie Arvin Tolentino.
Tolentino's bucket sparked a 10-0 run, capped by a Ravena lay-up, that gave the Blue Eagles a 61-49 lead with still 5:27 left in the game. They were able to maintain a comfortable edge even with forward Chris Newsome fouling out and being in the penalty with still over four minutes remaining.
The Tigers last threatened when Louie Vigil drained a three-pointer to make it 64-56 with 1:37 left in the game, but Ateneo responded with five straight points - including back-to-back jump shots by Ravena - to hold off UST.
"Coach emphasized last week na we had to rebound," said Ravena. "I just told our bigs to box out Karim (Abdul), and kami na ang kukuha ng rebound, which is what happened this afternoon."
With their win, Ateneo rebounded from last week's loss to National University and hiked their record to 8-3, while dealing a blow to UST's Final Four hopes. The Tigers' record now stands at 5-6.
Newsome finished with 14 points and nine rebounds, while rookie big man John Apacible contributed a career-high seven points to give the Blue Eagles a surprising lift from the bench.
"For a guy who hasn't played that much this season, he came out very aggressive at nakatulong talaga siya. Big plus 'yun sa amin," said Ravena of Apacible.
After seeing a 9-3 lead erased thanks to Karim Abdul, Ateneo regained the advantage thanks to the hot shooting of Von Pessumal, who had two three-pointers in the opening quarter that helped Ateneo take a 19-13 lead.
The Blue Eagles led by as much as eight points at multiple instances in the second quarter, as big men Apacible and G-Boy Babilonia became the recipients of drop passes from Ravena.
Inside buckets from Abdul kept the Tigers within striking distance, but UST gave up a foul in the last second of the second quarter, and Ravena made both free throws to put Ateneo on top 38-30 at the half.
Abdul finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Growling Tigers, who are now in danger of missing the Final Four for the first time since 2010. Vigil added 14 points and Mariano scored 12.
UST still played without injured swingman Kevin Ferrer, while Ed Daquioag - who missed their last game due to a sprained ankle - played for five minutes and scored two points.
Ateneo has now swept UST in the elimination round. The Blue Eagles memorably won their first round encounter, 63-61, after Ravena hit a jump shot in the final three seconds.
ADMU 69 - Ravena 23, Newsome 14, Elorde 7, Apacible 7, Tolentino 6, Pessumal 6, Babilonia 3, Capacio 2, Lim 1, Gotladera 0.
UST 58 - Abdul 17, Vigil 14, Mariano 12, Basibas 5, Subido 4, Gayosa 4, Daquioag 2, Sheriff 0, Lo 0, Pe 0, Lao 0.
Quarter-scoring: 19-13, 38-30, 50-46, 69-58.
to put Ateneo on top 38-30 at the half.