AN Ateneo side with a depleted frontline continued to rely on its guards as it subdued Lyceum, 84-64, for its sixth win in seven games in the Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup at The Arena in San Juan on Friday.
Kiefer Ravena, Nico Elorde, and Juami Tiongson shone in the absence of injured big men JP Erram, G-Boy Babilonia, and Kris Porter as the Eagles succeeded in their last game before embarking on a US training camp.
Ravena, who had 33 points two games ago against Letran, registered another fine, all-around effort, firing a game-high 21 points, on top of eight rebounds, four assists, and only 10 minutes of rest.
“We were undermanned. That was probably the reason why I played most of the game,” the 19-year-old junior guard said. “Pero hopefully hindi ganun yung case sa UAAP. Summer pa lang tapos babad na agad sa minutes.
“Pero I’ll be ready. I mean, our coaches prepared us enough individually to be ready in these kinds of situations,” added Ravena, who highlighted the Eagles’ blowout win with a breakaway slam that gave his squad a 79-57 lead with less than three minutes remaining in the game.
Elorde, a pass-first playmaker last season, tallied 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field as he continued to bolster his growing reputation as a dependable scorer.
“Ganun din yung looks ko, but more on passing ako last season,” Elorde said. “Pero ngayon kailangan talaga mag-step up, kailangan maging threat na talaga. Yung na nga rin, kulang-kulang kami so tulungan na lang.”
“More on passing siya sa ring ngayon,” Ravena butted in during the post-game press conference, jokingly describing Elorde’s role this season.
It was the Eagles’ defense, though, that was noted by assistant coach Gabby Severino, who took over temporarily with head coach Bo Perasol out with a fever.
“It’s always nice to see the boys put in the effort especially on the defensive end, those are the non-glamorous things,” he said. “So if we get the boys to work hard on those things, we’ve accomplished half of the battle. I think we played great defense for the whole game.”
The Eagles, who made 49 percent of their shots, limited the Pirates to just 33 percent shooting.
Lyceum remained winless after two games.
Ateneo 84 – Ravena 21, Elorde 17, Tiongson 11, Murphy 9, Newsome 7, Tolentino 6, Golla 5, Asistio 5, Pessumal 3, Lim 0
Lyceum 64 – Zamora 10, Ko 9, Mendoza 8, Fabian 8, Lacastesantos 7, Francisco 6, Taladua 5, Lesmoras 3, Azores 3, Evangelista 3, Ambohot 2, Soliman 0, Garcia 0, Edora 0, Baltazar 0
Quarterscores: 26-15, 41-27, 64-49, 84-64