ATENEO star Kiefer Ravena outduelled University of the East rival Roi Sumang in a veritable shootout on Sunday as the Blue Eagles won an overtime thriller, 93-91, to end the first round of the eliminations at the top of the UAAP men's basketball standings.
Ravena scored a career-high 38 points to go with six rebounds and nine assists in a performance that reaffirmed his status as one of the best players in the college leagues - and confirmed the Blue Eagles' status as a title favorite a year after missing out on the Final Four.
“The bottom line is, it was just desire for us to be able to get back from how many points down,” said Ateneo coach Bo Perasol.
The Blue Eagles, however, needed every single point from their top star to hold off the UE Red Warriors, who led by as much as 21 points and stayed in the game down to the final second behind the career-high 30 points and seven assists from Sumang.
Unfortunately for UE, Ravena was there each time Ateneo needed him.
The 'Phenom' drained the difficult step-back jumper that forged an 80-all standoff late in regulation then delivered another key five-point cluster in overtime, including a pull-up three-pointer with Sumang all over him that made it 91-85 for Ateneo with 59.4 seconds to go.
“That’s an epitome of a can-do attitude,” said Perasol of Ravena’s efforts.
When UE failed to complete a three-point play in reverse in the final 1.5 seconds of overtime, the Blue Eagles wrapped up a third straight victory and improved their league-best record to 6-1 (win-loss).
UE dropped its fourth successive game after a 2-0 start despite the career game of Sumang, who hit a difficult three-pointer from the deep left corner in overtime but failed to convert the drive that the Warriors needed the most.
With UE down 90-92, Sumang saw his drive foiled by rookie Arvin Tolentino and Ravena with 5.3 seconds left.
Ateneo (93) – K. Ravena 38, Pessumal 19, Newsome 18, Elorde 4, Babilonia 4, A. Tolentino 3, Apacible 2, T. Ravena 2, Gotladera 2, Capacio 1, Porter 0.
UE (91) – Sumang 30, Galanza 19, Mammie 18, Varilla 6, Guiang 6, Jumao-as 4, Olayon 4, Palma 4, Arafat 0, Javier 0, Alberto 0.
Quarterscores: 10-28, 31-44, 55-64, 80-80, 93-91.