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Ravena provides wind for Blue Eagles’ flight

Games Saturday
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
2 p.m. – UST vs UP
4 p.m. – Ateneo vs Adamson

The Ateneo Blue Eagles can forget about thinking a roller coaster season if they could play more consistent like yesterday.

Ateneo saw a balanced scoring production led by Thirdy Ravena before thwarting the late comeback of defending champion Far Eastern University to come away with a 76-71 victory yesterday in the UAAP basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The younger brother of former King Eagle Kiefer Ravena broke a 66-all tie with less than two minutes remaining before he and the rest of the team denied the Tamaraws an escape act to post their second win in three matches.

Adrian Wong added 13 markers, former national youth standout Jolo Mendoza scored 10 in his three game in the collegiate scene and Mike Nieto added nine points and 11 rebounds to backstop Ravena.

“We knew we were against a tough team in FEU,” said Ateneo coach Sandy Arespacochaga. “They’re a good defensive rebounding team, we were still outrebounded but there was a concerted effort in boxing out and get those rebounds.”

The Blue Eagles displayed a glimpse of what they can become against the Tamaraws after splitting the first two games of the season were inconsistency was a dilemma for Arespacochaga and consultant Tab Baldwin.

Baldwin noted after Ateneo’s 70-60 defeat to National University that he expects a “roller coaster season”, particularly with its defense far from the expectations of the Gilas Pilipinas coach.

But Baldwin may have seen some mild satisfaction with his team’s defense effort after Ateneo led for most of the way.

However, FEU got right back when Richard Escoto tied it up at 66-all with 2:15 remaining in the fourth.

Ravena broke the tie, forced FEU’s Wendelino Comboy to miss a go-ahead, before Anton Asistio scored a three-point play off a Jojo Trinidad foul with 1:22 to go for a 71-66 lead for the Eagles.

“FEU made their adjustments in the second half, so we had to do some adjustments as well. We had a lot of room for improvement on defense but we feel the effort and focus on defense was there,” said Arespacochaga.

ATENEO 76 – Ravena 17, Wong 13, Mendoza 10, Nieto Mi. 9, Ikeh 8, Asistio 7, Nieto Ma. 5, Babilonia 2, Go 2, Black 2, Tolentino 1, Porter 0, Verano 0, Ildefonso 0.

FEU 71 – Comboy 20, Jose 16, Orizu 16, Escoto 7, Bayquin 4, Nunag 4, Dennison 2, Holmqvist 2, Trinidad 0, Inigo 0, Arong 0, Roxas 0, Tuffin 0, Ebona 0.

Quarters: 18-10; 37-27; 58-47; 76-71.