Blue Eagles foil UP Maroons’ attempt to make UAAP history

Ravena, Ateneo take opponents down 99-81

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Thirdy Ravena of the Ateneo Blue Eagles (center) goes up for a shot past Juan Gomez de Liaño of the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons (right) during Game 2 of their UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball finals series on Wednesday, Dec. 5. TIEBREAKER TIMES

MANILA – Ateneo Blue Eagles completed their title-retention bid after a 99-81 rout of University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons in Game 2 of their UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball finals series on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Ilonggo Ferdinand “Thirdy” Ravena III made career-high 38 points to lead the Blue Eagles while Angelo Kouame and Raffy Verano added 22 and 11 points, respectively.

It was the second straight championship of Ateneo under head coach Thomas Baldwin and their 10th UAAP men’s basketball title overall.

The Maroons were still hanging around 8-10 early in the game before the Blue Eagles slowly pulled away on inside hits by Kouame for a 25-13 lead, followed by late-quarter hits by Samjosef Belangel and Isaac Go.

UP made a run early in the second period, managing to come to as close as 32-39, but a 3-pointer by Ravena and another hit from Tyler Tio gave Ateneo a 48-37 halftime edge.

The Blue Eagles slowly widened the gap early in the third 68-50 on a triple by Anton Asistio and a dunk by Kouame. Late-quarter shots from the Maroons cut the deficit to 56-70.

But that proved to be the last stand of UP. Ravena and Kouame conspired for a huge fourth-quarter rally, and then a layup by Matt Nieto made for their largest lead 81-59.

Meanwhile, National University Lady Bulldogs also extended their women’s basketball domination to five years after taking down Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws in Game 2 of their best-of-three series 67-61.

Aside from bagging another UAAP title, the Lady Bulldogs also stretched their unbeaten run to 80-0. It was also the fourth straight year that the school swept their season.

Rhena Itesi led the way with double-double 17 points and 10 rebounds while Jack Daniele Animam chipped in 15 points, 21 rebounds and four blocks for the Lady Bulldogs./PN

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