Ateneo now top-seed in UAAP 81 after besting full-force La Salle
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Nov 11, 2018 06:23 PM
Thirdy Ravena and Angelo Kouame heated up late for Ateneo just as La Salle ran out of gas
Ateneo de Manila University has seized the top-seed for the second straight season – and it came at the expense of archrival De La Salle University.
Yet again drawing on balanced offense before Thirdy Ravena took over in the endgame, the Blue Eagles got the better of the Green Archers, 71-62, on Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Only Ravena and Angelo Kouame were in double-digits, but the defending champions also counted six players who contributed somewhere between five to nine points to assure themselves of the top spot for the Final Four of the UAAP 81 Men’s Basketball Tournament.
“We knew that this was going to be a tough game because La Salle is playing well in the second round,” assistant coach Sandy Arespacochaga said post-game. “We are happy that we got the win today.”
The contest was close most of the way and the Green Archers were actually on top, 47-49, late in the third, until Angelo Kouame’s slam jam ignited an 11-3 blast that sent Ateneo ahead, 58-52.
La Salle then pulled to within five points, 58-62, only to see Ravena score all but three points in an 8-0 counter that remounted his team’s lead to 71-58 with two minutes remaining.
That would be more than enough for the Blue Eagles’ 11th win in 13 games.
Ravena wound up with 14 points and 10 rebounds while Kouame posted his own 11-marker, 10-board double-double.
With the win, they have secured a twice-to-beat advantage for the next round.
They have also secured the top-seed as even if 10-3 Adamson University ties them in the standings, Ateneo will have the tiebreaker due to their better quotient in head-to-head matchups.
Still, they said they will go all-out in their last assignment in the elimination round. “We have to respect our opponents. They deserve our best effort,” coach Sandy said, talking about their game against University of Sto. Tomas on Wednesday.
On the other hand, the Green Archers dropped to 8-5 – still not assured of the Final Four. Aljun Melecio topped the scoring column for them in this one with 13 points.
They didn’t help themselves, however, by only making 9-of-19 from the free throw line.
La Salle heads into a crucial contest opposite 7-6 University of the Philippines on Wednesday.
ATENEO 71 – Ravena 14, Kouame 11, Verano 9, Navarro 7, Nieto Mi 7, Nieto Ma 6, Tio 5, Mamuyac 5, Asistio 3, Go 3, Daves 1, Mendoza 0, Wong 0
LA SALLE 62 – Melecio 13, Baltazar 12, Santillan 10, Caracut 8, Samuel 8, Manuel 5, Montalbo 2, Bates 2, Serrano 2, Go 0
QUARTER SCORES: 18-22, 35-35, 54-50, 71-62
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