Ateneo de Manila University not only re-asserted its mastery over the University of the Philippines, but also reinforced its reign over all of the UAAP 81 Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Thirdy Ravena continued his series-long brilliance, Ange Kouame came up big once more, and the Blue Eagles crashed the coming out party of the Fighting Maroons with a well-earned 99-81 win in Game 2 of the Finals on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Ravena gave his team his best game yet with a career-high 38 points to go along with six rebounds, six assists, and three steals while Kouame towered above all with yet another monster-double-double of 22 markers and 20 boards.
The decision was only in question for the first nine minutes until the defending champions unleashed 10 unanswered points that increased a five-point lead late in the first to a 28-13 advantage early in the second.
That charge was sparked by neither Ravena nor Kouame as it was prized recruit SJ Belangel who had four points and two assists to make it all happen.
They would never look back from there all the way to their 10th overall men’s basketball title.
Most of those trophies have come in the last 11 years where the Blue Eagles have been the kings seven times.
In the end, Belangel had six points and two assists while Raffy Verano had 11 markers and six rebounds. Graduating guard Anton Asistio also added six points.
For UP, Juan Gomez de Liano fronted the effort with 24 points, seven rebounds, and three assists while team captain Paul Desiderio left it all on the court with 15 markers, seven boards, three dimes, and two steals in his last game in maroon and white.
Season MVP Bright Akhuetie pounded in 19 points and eight rebounds just four days after suffering a hyperextended left knee.
Even after getting swept in the Finals, the runner-up finish is still their best showing since 1986.
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.
QUARTER SCORES: 25-13, 48-37, 70-56, 99-81(Norman Lee, Benjamin Riego, abs-cbn news)