Ateneo gets on win column by taking advantage of Sarr-less Adamson
BIG UPS. Thirdy Ravena and Chibueze Ikeh had their way inside as Ateneo dropped Papi Sarr-less Adamson.
Chibueze Ikeh was never known as an inside operator, but for one day at least on Saturday at the MOA Arena, he was the hammer that pounded Ateneo de Manila University into the win column.
Imposing his will against an Adamson University frontline that did not have Papi Sarr, Ikeh lifted the Blue Eagles to a convincing 85-65 victory in the UAAP 80 Men’s Basketball Tournament.
The Soaring Falcons were missing the services of Sarr who was out with a groin injury. “It’s a good win for us. I guess we were a bit lucky that Papi Sarr wasn’t in the game,” coach Sandy Arespacochaga said.
And so, the Nigerian towered above all and was no match for all of Kristian Bernardo, Tyrus Hill, and Sean Manganti. “We weren’t surprise that Ikeh played a good game. He’s been playing well for us the past few weeks and practices. He has really stepped up his game,” Arespacochaga said.
Ikeh pounded in 14 of his 18 points and 13 of his 17 rebounds in the first half alone and was well on his way to his best outing since September 2016.
In all, the third-year center powered his team into dominating total rebounds, 60-35; offensive rebounds 29-13; and second chance points, 29-6. “We got a lot of extra possessions off of rebounds so that helped us a lot,” the coach said.
Still, it was Thirdy Ravena who scored half of the points in the 16-4 run that turned a five-point lead into the double-digit edge, 43-36, they would keep the rest of the way.
Kurt Lojera’s triple with under eight minutes remaining kept things interesting for Adamson, but Isaac Go and Matt Nieto got-together to keep them at bay once and for all.
In the end, Ravena also had a double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds while Jolo Mendoza came off the bench to chip in 14 markers of his own in Ateneo’s rise to 1-0.
Along with the season-opening win, it was also some sort of statement victory for the Blue Eaglets as they downed a fellow contender in the Soaring Falcons.
For Adamson, first-year players Kurt Lojera and Keith Zaldivar topped the scoring column with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
They were unable to overcome the absence of Cameroonian Sarr, however, as Jerrick Ahanmisi, Sean Manganti, and Rob Manalang only combined for 24 points on 10-of-35 shooting.
ATENEO 85 – Ravena 20, Ikeh 18, Mendoza 14, Asistio 9, Tolentino 7, Go 4, Nieto Ma 3, White 3, Porter 3, Nieto Mi 2, Black 2, Verano 0, Mamuyac 0, Mallillin 0, Andrade 0
ADAMSON 65 – Lojera 11, Zaldivar 10, Ahanmisi 9, Manganti 9, Hill 6, Manalang 6, Pingoy 5, Ochea 3, Camacho 3, Bernardo 3, Chua 0, Mustre 0, Frias 0
QUARTER SCORES: 25-14, 43-28, 59-45, 85-65
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