KIEFER Ravena had 18 of his 31 points in the first half and then put the finishing touches on a resounding Ateneo victory over archrival De La Salle, 78-70, on Saturday in the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup.
Ravena took charge all game long as he led an injury-plagued Blue Eagles side to its seventh win in eight outings in wrapping up their campaign in the eliminations.
It was also Ateneo’s first win against La Salle in the six-year history of the Filoil tournament.
But the team later revealed that those same injuries that have downed five key players made Ateneo decide to pull out in all preseason tournaments where the school is competing.
Only 10 Ateneo players suited up against La Salle. Ryan Buenafe even played for the first time in the Filoil tournament this year even though he is still out of shape.
But with Ravena sizzling all over, the Eagles had no problem dispatching the Archers.
He helped them build a 42-33 lead at halftime, and then engineered a fiery Ateneo start in the second half behind a 13-2 blast for a 55-35 advantage.
La Salle was able to cut the deficit to six points in the fourth period, but Ravena, playing with torn shorts, hit back-to-back fade-away shots to stave off the Archers’ comeback, 73-63.
“Kiefer played a super game,” said Ateneo coach Bo Perasol, who saw in his players that they were not going to go down without a fight even with a decimated lineup.
“He made a statement that anybody who wants to take the crown away from us, they have to play extraordinarily good. These guys are not ready to give out the crown,” Perasol said.
Juami Tiongson had 15 points, while Frank Golla finished with 11 markers for the Blue Eagles.
Jason Perkins finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds, even as Almond Vosotros and Jeron Teng each had 14 markers for the Green Archers, who finished the eliminations with a 6-2 win-loss card.
La Salle, however, will be the No. 2 seeded team in Group B going to the quarterfinals and will face Group A third-ranked team San Beda on Wednesday.
As a result of Ateneo’s pullout, University of the East became the top-ranked squad in Group B.
Ateneo (78) – Ravena 31, Tiongson 15, Golla 12, Asistio 6, Tolentino 5, Newsome 4, Elorde 3, Buenafe 2, Murphy 0, Lim 0.
La Salle (70) – Perkins 15, Vosotros 14, Teng 14, T. Torres 9, Van Opstal 9, N. Torres 7, Dela Paz 2, Bolick 0, Reyes 0, Tampus 0, Salem 0.
Quarterscores: 24-15; 42-33; 63-51; 78-70.