Eagles make finals
The four-time defending champions Ateneo Blue Eagles showed the heart of a champion as they crawled back from an 11-point deficit to defeat blood rivals, La Salle, 66-63, in the Final Four of the 75th UAAP men’s basketball tournament yesterday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
At the forefront of the comeback was none other than the “Phenom,” Kiefer Ravena, who scored 16 of his 28 points in the fourth canto, including at one point, 12 consecutive ones, to help Ateneo book its 11th trip to the finals. He also had 12 rebounds and six assists.
La Salle seemed headed for a do-or-die game with Ateneo as they led, 49-38, early in the payoff period. But Ravena scored on a 3-point play and a corner three. He added three more free-throws before making a three-pointer from the left wing that got them within two, 53-55, before Juami Tiongson finally tied the game with a lay-up off an assist by who else but Ravena.
On their next possession, Ravena hit another three off a pick-and-roll play and added a free-throw for a, 59-55 lead. But La Salle was not out of it just yet as later, Almond Vosotros scored five straight to put them in front, 62-61. However, Ravena was able to get to the teeth of the defense and kicked the ball out to an open Ryan Buenafe who hit the go-ahead trey from the corner, 64-62, with 55.6 seconds left.
The Archers had one last shot after Ravena was called for an unsportsmanlike foul but Jeron Teng split his charities and lost the ball on their ensuing possession. Buenafe then sealed their Finals appearance with two freebies.
Ateneo will battle the University of Sto. Tomas Growling Tigers which beat the National University Bulldogs, 63-57, in the other semifinals with sophomore Kevin Ferrer scoring 17 points.
League MVP Bobby Ray Parks was held down to just 12 points as UST advanced to its first trip to the Finals since 2006 where they won the title at the expense of the Blue Eagles.
UST (63) – Ferrer 17, Abdul 15, Mariano 14, Fortuna 8, Teng 6, Vigil 3, Pe 0, Lo 0, Bautista 0, Afuang 0.
NU (57) – Javillonar 15, Parks 12, Alolino 8, Villamor 6, Betayene 5, Mbe 4, Khobuntin 3, Rono 2, De Guzman 2, Singh 0, Neypes 0, Labing-isa 0.
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