|Kiefer Ravena of the Ateneo Blue Eeagles tries to set up a play during game two of the UAAP finals, Saturday, October 1. Ateneo defeated the FEU Tamaraws 82-69 to take home their fourth consecutive title. Photo by Diana Moraleda for abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – The Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) Blue Eagles marched to their historic 4th straight title victory in UAAP men’s basketball by completing a 2-game sweep against the Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws in the Finals.
The Eagles launched an unstoppable surge in the 3rd quarter en route to an 82-69 win over the Tamaraws in Game 2 of the 3-game title series.
“It wasn't easy,” said Ateneo coach Norman Black of their 4th consecutive championship victory. “We had a lot of preparation.”
The combination of rookies Greg Slaughter and Kiefer Ravena and veterans like Nico Salva and Emman Monfort spurred the Eagles against FEU.
“This is a completely different core, we lost Eric Salamat, we lost Ryan Buenafe, so at the same time we knew that Kiefer is coming in and Greg is coming in. We just coupled them with the guys that we had with the championship experience,” said Black.
“We were hoping for a good year and we got it.”
The Tamaraws, hobbled by injuries all throughout the season, put up a gallant fight in the first half by checking the Eagles with a highly physical game.
Aldrech Ramos, RR Garcia and Terrence Romeo sparked a run late in the 2nd for a slim 36-35 advantage going into the 3rd quarter.
Ateneo, however, refused to be denied another crown as it clustered a series of plays in a 12-0 run in the 3rd for a 49-38 lead in the 3rd period.
The Eagles never looked back after that.
Ravena top scored Ateneo with 18 points.
Slaughter and Juami Tiongson had 11 points apiece. Monfort scored 9.
Salva, who finished Game 2 with 15 points, was chosen as the PS Bank Finals Most Valuable Player. He averaged 19.4 points in the finals by shooting 78% from the field.
“Every year is different. Last year, we were the underdogs, this year we're heavily favored, but it doesn't matter to me. It's all very special to me, we all worked hard for the championship,” he said.
Ravena, this season’s Rookie of the Year, said he was happy to celebrate with the senior team.
“Sobrang ibang klase…For the past 3 years nakiki-celebrate ako sa Upper A. Ngayon andito na ko sa court,” he said.
Slaughter, who endured a lot of rough plays underneath the basket, also played a big role in Ateneo’s 4-peat.
He said he always look back to his teammates and coaching staff for motivation.
“I listen to my coaches, I look back to my teammates, everything came from the team, you know. I just gained my composure for the good of the team,” said the 7’0” center.
The Blue Eagles had a 1-0 lead going into Saturday’s game following their 82-64 win in Game 1.
Their title run began during their conquest of the men’s basketball crown in 2008.
When asked if they will immediately lay down plans for a 5th title campaign, Black said they would like to sit back first and enjoy their triumph.
“Let us enjoy this 4th win first,” said the beaming Ateneo coach. -- With a report from Camille Naredo, abs-cbnNEWS.com
AdMU 82 - Ravena 18, Salva 15, Slaughter 11, Tiongson 11, Monfort 9, Gonzaga 6, Long 5, Chua 5, Erram 2, Pessumal 0, Sumalinog 0, Golla 0, Austria 0
FEU 69 - Ramos 20, Garcia 16, Tolomia 7, Romeo 7, Escoto 4, Bringas 4, Excimiano 4, Foronda 3, cruz 2, Noundou 2, Pogoy 0, Mendoza 0, Knuttel 0
Quarter scores: 23-18, 35-36, 57-45, 82-69