THE Ateneo Blue Eagles came out strong under boards from start to finish.
Thirdy Ravena and Isaac Go rose to the occasion and banged bodies in the shaded lane to lead the Blue Eagles to a 74-59 stunner over the defending champion Far Eastern University Tamaraws yesterday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Ravena had a double-double performance of 15 points and 11 rebounds while Go made 14 points and seven rebounds for the Blue Eagles, who posted their eighth win in 12 games in the 79th University Athletic Association of the Philipines (UAAP) men’s basketball tournament.
Their fourth consecutive victory allowed Ateneo to catch up with FEU with their 8-4 win-loss record. FEU suffered its second straight setback after seven consecutive wins.
Meanwhile, Rob Manalang shot 16 points for the Adamson Soaring Falcons as they swamped the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers, 76-61.
This allowed the Soaring Falcons to climb to third with their 7-5 slate.
FEU, Ateneo and Adamson are now in contention for the no. 2 seeding in the Final Four semifinals. The team’s chances of getting it will depend on the fortunes of FEU and Ateneo in their two remaining games.
FEU has La Salle and University of the East as they remaining foes while Ateneo still has to face UST and the Soaring Falcons.
The Blue Eagles showed intensity under the boards early in the game, and surprised the Tams after Ravena, Go and John Wong attacked the paint to push the Loyola dribblers ahead with their 24-14 lead in the first 10 minutes.
They held the Tams to 14 points in the second period, and the Blue Eagles took control of the boards, 24-16, at halftime.
Because of this, the Blue Eagles were able to coast to a 46-28 halftime spread.
“Just do whatever it takes to increase our lead. They couldn’t stop us. We were lucky at our pick-and-roll offense clicked,” said Ravena.
Monbert Arong led FEU with 15 points, and was scoreless in the third after Ateneo stayed ahead by 12, 58-46, at the end of the period.
Prince Orizu banged in 11 points, and had 16 rebounds for FEU. He was limited to four points in the fourth.
“Tough game for us. We faced a very tough team. We really had to battle this team under the boards,” said Ateneo coach Sandy Arespacochaga.
FEU shredded a 23-point Ateneo lead in the third period. The Tamaraws came within seven points of the Ateneo lead after Raymar Jose’s undergoal stab. But Ravena scored back-to-back baskets to hike the Ateneo advantage back to 11, 67-56.
The Tamaraws just didn’t have an answer to Ravena and Go’s heroics in the homestretch.
(at the MOA Arena)
2 p.m. UST vs Ateneo
4 p.m. FEU vs La Salle