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MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - Kevin Ferrer may be the season MVP but Kiefer Ravena proved his real worth in the game that mattered most.
Ravena showed why he is being hailed as the best high school prospect when he carried the Ateneo Blue Eaglets to a rare grand slam peat in the UAAP Juniors basketball, 76-59, against Ferrer's University of Santo Tomas (UST) Tiger Cubs on Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.
The 16-year-old Ravena outplayed Ferrer in the title-clincher as the son of former Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) star Bong Ravena earned his second straight Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) citation.
Ravena scored a game-high 24 points, including 8 in the first quarter to set the tone for the Eaglets’ second consecutive win after losing Game 1 of the Finals. He shot 9-of-19 from the field and collected 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals.
In contrast, Ferrer was limited by the Eaglets’ resolute defense to just 13 points on 3-of-15 shooting from the field but grabbed 10 rebounds for good measure.
After Ferrer made the first basket for the first and only lead of the Tiger Cubs in the game, Ravena quickly went to work. He scored 6 of the Eaglets' first 12 points to inch ahead, 12-5, and kept the Tiger Cubs at bay.
With Ferrer shooting bricks, Ravena almost scored at will as the Eaglets enjoyed double digit spreads until the Tiger Cubs came closest at 47-53.
Ravena then took over and poured in 8 in an 11-5 run as he brought the Eaglets’ lead back to double digits, 64-51, and were never seriously threatened.
The Eaglets completed the grand slam after sweeping the double round elimination. They held a thrice-to-beat advantage in the Finals and needed only 2 victories to clinch the title.
Ferrer exploded for 35 points back in Game 1 as the Tiger Cubs won, 77-71, but Ravena answered back with 32 points and 8 assists in Game 2 as the Eaglets bounced back, 76-66.
Ravena, who is being wooed away from Ateneo next season, said he is not in a hurry to decide where to play in college.
The Blue Eagles are hoping that Ravena will join Filipino-American giant Greg Slaughter in their team that already boasts of a talented crop that includes Eric Salamat, Ryan Buenafe and Nico Salva.
“I’ll just enjoy this victory first, then play for the RP [Youth] team before making a decision,” Ravena said.
Ravena and Ferrer will join the RP Youth Team, which is set to fly to Yemen for the FIBA-Asia Under-18 tournament on Wednesday.
“This is the sweetest championship because we finally nailed it [the grandslam] in our third try,” said Eaglets coach Mike Jarin, who is in his 13th season with the team.
The Eaglets’ latest conquest was not only a Ravena show. Several Eaglets chipped in their share in giving the school its 17th juniors title.
Von Pessumal, also a member of the RP Youth team, came up with 15 points on top 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals. Paolo Romero had a huge double-double game with 14 points and 13 rebounds while Chuckie Dumrique put up 14 points and 5 boards.
Jaypee Sarcia, who came back from a one-game suspension, led the Tiger Cubs with 17 points but shot only 7-of-22 including a poor 3-of-15 shooting from beyond the arc.
For more UAAP, visit www.UAAPsports.com
ADMU 76 - Ravena 24, Pessumal 15, Romero 14, Dumrique 14, Tenorio 5, Javelosa 3, Sacluti 1, Vitangcol 0, Suarez 0, Puno 0, Mercado 0, Lim 0, Gamboa 0, Gadia 0. Austria 0.
UST 59 - Sarcia 17, Ferrer 13, Corre 9, Mison 7, Lazaro 6, Cabauatan 5, Gooh 2, Salas 0, Ilarde 0, Florentin 0.
Quarters: 23-14, 35-25, 54-47, 76-59.