KIEFER Ravena and Jeron Teng went toe to toe before more than 17,000 fans at the Mall of Asia Arena in the first La Salle-Ateneo game of the season, giving no quarters and asking none.
In the end, Teng had the final say in the match-up. The La Salle star scored nine of his 18 points in the final quarter including a crucial basket in the endgame and, more importantly, put the clamps on Ravena in two botched Ateneo offensives that secured La Salle's 80-76 win.
Ravena said he expected nothing less from his longtime rival.
“Very competitive lang kaming dalawa being the focal point of the team. We take it upon ourselves to challenge each other. He played well,” said Ravena later.
“He is going to lead his team no matter what. The team is going to win or lose with JT (Teng). They won. Props. You have to give credit where credit is due,” the reigning league MVP added.
Teng wasn’t the only hero in the win that enabled La Salle to catch Ateneo in third place on 4-3 (win-loss) records. Thomas Torres had 15 points and nine rebounds, while Jason Perkins and Prince Rivero added 13 and 10, respectively. Rivero also grabbed 10 boards.
Then there was Joshua Torralba, who finished with nine points and hit the biggest shot of the game - a late-game three-pointer that put La Salle ahead for good.
That Torralba shot, which Perkins set up with a pass, is proof of the trust La Salle's veterans have on their younger teammates, Ravena acknowledged later.
“It’s just the resiliency of their veterans. Jason could have taken the shot," the King Eagle said. " It’s trust and faith in each other. It’s a process. You build it over time."