ATENEO played true to form as champions as it broke away in the fourth period against a shaky Gilas Cadet side to score a 75-69 victory in the Filoil Flying Premier Cup on Saturday in San Juan.
Thirdy Ravena, also a member of the 23 for 2023 squad, led the way for the Blue Eagles, sparking a 13-2 rally for the reigning UAAP champions to turn a four point lead to a 69-56 spread with a little over five minutes left.
The 6-foot-2 winger started off the rally by stripping Kobe Paras clean before finishing off the defensive play with a dunk.
Juan Gomez de Liano, who played for University of the Philippines against La Salle in the game earlier, tried to spark a rally late for Gilas but the Ateneo lead proved to be insurmountable.
Head coach Tab Baldwin wasn’t too impressed with the win, though, noting they played a young squad with only a week of preparation.
"I'm not too impressed. I thought we just went out and played. We don’t have a system right now because we didn’t work on anything other than the individual stuff," said Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin.
"We had a good spurt in the fourth quarter. I thought we had good defense, there was passion to it and there was some intensity in the defense," he added.
Ravena led the Blue Eagles with 16 points, five rebounds, five assists and three steals as the returning Adrian Wong had 13 points.
Ricci Rivero led the Cadets with 17 points on 7 of 9 shooting to go with four rebounds and three assists.
Paras struggled in his debut in the tournament as he finished with 13 points on 5 for 14 shooting and 1 for 6 clip from the free throw line.
The 20-year-old high flyer did have three assists and three blocks.
Ateneo 75 – Ravena 16, Wong 13, Nieto Mi 10, Nieto Ma 9, Go 7, Kouame 5, White 5, Belangel 4, Maagdenberg 3, Asistio 2, Navarro 1, Mamuyac 0, Credo 0.
Gilas cadets 69 – Rivero R 17, Paras 13, Gomez de LIano 11, Tratter 8, Ambohot 5, Gozum 4, Tolentino A 3, Tuffin 3, Tolentino V 3, Rivero P 2, Desiderio 0, Mocon 0.
Quarterscores: 17-16; 29-27; 53-48; 75-69.