KIEFER Ravena finally got his offense going while Ryan Buenafe got back in top form after an injury scare, leading Ateneo to a morale-boosting 72-64 win over University of the Philippines in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Ravena topscored for the Blue Eagles with a personal season-high of 15 points, including nine in the third quarter, while Buenafe shook off an ankle sprain to finish with 13 as the defending champions posted what was only their second win of the season.
Despite shooting only 6-of-15 from the field, Ravena was at his best in the third quarter where Ateneo outscored the Maroons 19-10 to sustain the momentum of an 11-2 finishing kick ending the first half — six coming from Buenafe.
Ateneo coach Bo Perasol said the Blue Eagles were amply warned not to slack off against the Maroons, who remained winless in five games following the defeat.
“I was giving them a very clear picture of what UP can do,” Perasol said. “They are a dangerous team. I think (the Maroons) not winning is not a reflection of what they can do.”
The Maroons tasted the lead briefly after a 7-0 run highlighted by a triple by Jason Ligad, 28-27. But Buenafe converted back-to-back three-pointers to help the Eagles put the game under control at halftime, 38-30.
Chris Newsome also had 13 points, while Juami Tiongson had nine points, eight rebounds, and six assists for the Blue Eagles.
Sam Marata finished with 22 points for the Maroons. Ligad had 10 points while Raul Soyud and Chris Ball grabbed 14 and 10 rebounds in a losing effort.
Ateneo (72) – Ravena 15, Newsome 13, Buenafe 13, Tiongson 9, Golla 6, Pessumal 4, Erram 4, Elorde 4, Tolentino 2, Capacio 2, Murphy 0, Lim 0, Asistio 0.
UP (64) – Marata 22, Ligad 10, Ball 10, Soyud 8, Lao 7, Desiderio 3, Wong 2, Asilum 2, Suarez 0, Pascual 0, Gingerich 0, Gallarza 9, Amar 0.
Quarterscores: 19-17; 38-30; 57-40; 72-64.