ATENEO became the first team to clinch a semis berth in the UAAP Season 81 as it ran through National University, 79-64, on Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Thirdy Ravena jumpstarted the Blue Eagles’ attack as they zoomed to a 10-0 lead and never looked back for another breezy wire-to-wire victory that catapulted them to their fifth straight semifinals appearance.
The Blue Eagles led by as many as 24 points and weren’t threatened since then as they won their fourth straight game to improve to 9-2, and claim the top spot once again.
Ravena finished with 23 points, 12 rebounds and three assists as the Blue Eagles sent the Bulldogs reeling towards elimination, with a 3-7 record.
“Our gameplan was focused on NU, not looking beyond this game. That’s the keypoint that we’re stressing that NU’s a dangerous team,” said Ateneo assistant coach Sandy Arespacochaga.
“At the half time, we told them that NU is gonna come up with more fire and more intensity and that’s what happened,” he added.
Angelo Kouame again dominated the paint with 19 points, 17 rebounds and six blocks, as SJ Belangel had 11 points and three assists.
Not even a career night from John Lloyd Clemente could salvage the game for the Bulldogs as he had 25 points and eight rebounds, while Dave Ildefonso added 13 points and six rebounds.
Another loss for the Bulldogs will mean that they’re set to miss the Final Four for the third straight year.
Ateneo 79 - Ravena 23, Kouame 19, Belangel 11, Verano 7, Go 7, Tio 3, Black 3, Mendoza 2, Mamuyac 2, Daves 2, Asistio 0, Wong 0, Navarro 0, Andrade 0.
NU 64 - Clemente 25, Ildefonso D 13, Ildefonso S 7, Diputado 5, Yu 5, Gaye 4, Joson 3, Rike 2, Gallego 0, Sinclair 0, Galinato 0, Morido 0, Malonzo 0.
Quarterscores: 22-11; 47-25; 65-47; 79-64.