By Jerome Lagunzad
2 p.m. — UE vs FEU
4 p.m. — UP vs Adamson
Thirdy Ravena provided premium points for Ateneo yesterday as the Blue Eagles ruined also-ran University of Santo Tomas’ plans to score an upset with a 102-83 win in the UAAP basketball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The 6-3 Ravena, the third-year player and younger brother of two-time MVP Kiefer, had 20 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in an all-around display of brilliance to keep Ateneo’s win-loss card intact with its 12th victory.
Guaranteeing Ateneo’s win was the solid performance of Matt Nieto, who had 19 points, including five triples.
“It was a very, very tough game,” said Ravena, whose highlight reel of the day was a one-handed slam dunk off Growling Tiger defender Regie Boy Basibas in the final quarter.
The loss was the Tigers’ 13th consecutive.
The final scorer, however, failed to indicate UST’s strong plays in the third canto when it came up with 31 points to remain in the thick of the fight.
Ravena said Ateneo knew UST would come out fighting.
“We never took them lightly. They just played their hearts out. UST gave it their all. Good thing, we stuck to the game plan and my teammates did a great job in the fourth,” said Ravena.
After Oliver De Guzman pulled the Tigers within 77-80 with more than four minutes left, the Blue Eagles suddenly went on a tear as they scored in bunches anew and forced repeated stops.
Then Ravena had his shining moment when he received a kick out pass from Blue Eagles big man Chibueze Ikeh off an offensive rebound then jumped high for the throwdown against Basibas for a 15-point lead with just two minutes left.
“Swerte lang na nakakuha ng offensive board and I noticed no one was in the middle. It was good pass by Ikeh,” said Ravena, who admitted he will also earn R3,000 from his proud father, former pro league star Bong, for converting a dunk as part of their friendly wager.
De Guzman came off the bench and tallied a team-high of 19 points while four other teammates scored in double figures but they still could not prevent the Tigers from suffering yet another painful setback.
The Tigers have actually lost 16th straight stretching back to last season’s hostilities, fueling calls for head coach Boy Sablan to step down for failing to put an end to the Espana-based squad’s misfortunes.
Holder of 18 UAAP titles dating back to 1939, UST last captured the UAAP cage crown in 2006 under Pido Jarencio.
In the 1990s, the Tigers also had a winning run when they were still getting pointers from Aric Del Rosario and the players on the lineup were Rey Evangelista, Bal David, Dennis Espino, Chris Cantonjos, Udoy Belmonte and Gerard Francisco.
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