5 December 2018
By Maxine Louise Lagman
Manila, Philippines – Ateneo De Manila University was a force to be reckoned with as they wrecked the surging University of the Philippines, 99-81, in the Game 2 of the UAAP Season 81 Finals on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
In front of 23,471 supporters at the arena, Ateneo showcased what a defending champ looked like and what a champion they truly are as they nabbed their second consecutive UAAP title and 10th UAAP title overall in men’s basketball.
The Blue Eagles won their last 10 games in the elimination round for a 12-2 slate, defeated the Far Eastern University in the Final Four and now swept the Fighting Maroons in the best-of-3 Finals.
Rookie SJ Belangel came out of the shadows of the veterans with back-to-back layups and an assist to a trey by Isaac Go that led to a 7-0 run early in the first quarter for a 25-13 lead.
UP managed to find their footing as Juan Gomez De Liano shot multiple baskets to keep the Fighting Maroons afloat with the help of Most Valuable Player and Mythical Five Bright Akhuetie.
However, Ateneo proved to be too strong for UP as the Blue Eagles soared through the Fighting Maroons’ sluggish defense in the third, 70-56.
Ateneo easily cruised to victory from there as they led by as much as 22 points, 81-59, with only 6:52 minutes left in the game.
Thirdy Ravena blasted 18 points in the payoff period, including a slam dunk at the last minute of the game that silenced the crowd and gave Ateneo a 97-76 comfortable cushion.
In the end, Ravena finished with 38 points, which was his career-best and the highest output ever recorded in the Finals games of the UAAP in 15 years. He almost filled the stat sheet along with six rebounds, six assists and three steals – making him the Finals MVP of the season.
Rookie of the Year Angelo Kouame added a double-double record of 22 points and 20 rebounds, while Raffy Verano chipped in 11 markers.
Anton Asistio tallied six points in his final game in his collegiate career.
On the other hand, Juan GDL paved the way for UP with 24 points, while Akhuetie had 19 markers and eight boards in the losing effort.
King Maroon and graduating Paul Desiderio chipped in 15 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Along with Desiderio, Jerson Prado, JJ Espanola, Diego Dario and Gelo Vito would also be graduating from UAAP, but fans are excited to meet their newest additions at Ricci Rivero and Kobe Paras next season.
Ateneo (99) — Ravena 38, Kouame 22, Verano 11, Tio 7, Nieto Ma. 6, Asistio 6, Belangel 6, Go 3, Nieto Mi. 0, Mamuyac 0, Mendoza 0, Andrade 0, Black 0, Wong 0, Daves 0, Navarro 0.
UP (81) — Gomez de Liaño Ju. 24, Akhuetie 19, Desiderio 15, Gomez de Liaño Ja. 11, Dario 8, Lim 2, Vito 2, Manzo 0, Jaboneta 0, Murrell 0, Spencer 0, Prado 0, Española 0, Longa 0.
Quarterscores: 25-13, 48-37, 70-56, 99-81
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