The Games That Play Us: 20 Or So People

Kiefer Ravena and the Blue Eagles made an emphatic
statement after blowing out the NU Bulldogs.


There were probably 20 or so people who weren’t too worried when the UST Growling Tigers pulled the rug from under the Blue Eagles this past Thursday.

Those 20 or so people showed up at the Moro Lorenzo Sports Center for practice the very next day like they always have for the past few months.

Those 20 or so people probably have short memories, since it’s not exactly easy to move on after letting go of a 19-point lead and losing by one at then end of a basketball game.

Those 20 or so people (players, coaches, and managers) were right there on the Ateneo bench as the UAAP fans were reminded again of why these guys won the last four UAAP Seniors titles.

The NU Bulldogs stood as witnesses, too, though, I imagine, it’s not exactly the kind of witnessing they wanted. They were brought back to earth 8 days after blasting the UE Red Warriors.

The bayside boys of Henry Sy were outscored, outrebounded, outdefended, pretty much out-everythinged almost like the way they out-everythinged UE in Week 1. Ray Parks filled up the stat-sheet anew with 22 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 steal, but he missed 12 field goals and 6 free throws, while turning the ball over 3 times. Emmanuel Mbe scored 14 markers and grabbed 6 boards, but he missed more shots than he made and also committed 3 turnovers. How about the other guys who stepped up against UE – Mark De Guzman, Jeoff Javillonar, and Jelo Alolino? They produced a combined 5 points on just 2-of-15 shooting from the field – definitely a far cry from opening day.

But, strangely enough, it’s not really airtight defense that won this game for the Blue Eagles. As a team, the Bulldogs had a shot-conversion rate of just under 37%, which is pretty respectable considering how badly La Salle and FEU shot in the previous game.

Insterad, what was more impressive was Ateneo’s offensive arsenal, especially in the first half, where they buried NU by 21. The Loyola quintet shot just under 60% from the floor, and they made all but one of their charities. They scored 11 points off 6 Bulldog turnovers and reprised the praise-worthy ball-movement they displayed in the first half of the UST game. Greg Slaughter, Kiefer Ravena, Nico Salva, and Zags Gonzaga all had at least 2 assists in the first half, as the Blue & White’s playmaking rose to the occasion. Slaughter was dominant early, already flirting with a double-double, not to mention having 3 blocks, before the break. He eventually ended with 14 points and 13 boards. Another x-factor was Ravena’s shooting. He seems to have regained his form, making 5 of his 9 field goals and shooting a flawless 6-of-6 from the stripe. Free throw shooting, in fact, was another big positive for the Eagles. They shot 92% for the whole game, as opposed to just 79% against UST. This was despite NU having more attempts from the line as the Bulldogs made just 15 of their 29 freebies.

With this win, the aura of invincibility the Bulldogs built throughout an unbeaten Filoil run, and after their blowout victory over UE, just burst. The UP Fighting Maroons, who pushed La Salle to the brink last weekend, and the UST Growling Tigers, tormentors of Ateneo, surely took a lot of notes watching this encounter, and they’ll probably be very confident challenging NU in Week 3.

Meanwhile, this is just the kind of response the Ateneo community wanted from their Eagles. This emphatic, take-no-prisoners performance really underscored the potential of this five-peat seeking squad.

A few days ago, there were probably 20 or so people who were very angry at themselves for letting a game slip through their fingers. More than everyone else, those 20 or so people probably knew they had to bounce back, not by scraping by the Bulldogs, but by making a statement of their own.

Now those 20 or so people are back on the winners’ track, getting ready for another big test, getting ready to make another big statement in Week 3.

Not even Ray Parks's awesome stat-line could
prevent the Eagles from running away with the W.
Nico Salva and Greg Slaughter were solid as Ateneo
bounced back after losing to UST.


ADMU 89 – Salva 21, Ravena 17, Slaughter 14, Chua 12, Gonzaga 9, Tiongson 8, Elorde 3, Buenafe 3, Erram 2, Porter, 0, Pessumal 0, Capacio 0
NU 65 – Parks 22, Mbe 14, Villamor 10, Ignacio 6, Roño 5, De Guzman 2, Betayene 2, Alolino 2, Khobuntin 1, Javillonar 1, Rosario 0, Neypes 0, Labing-isa 0
QS: 28-17, 55-34, 72-54, 89-65
Notable Performers:
Greg Slaughter (AdMU) – 14pts, 13rebs, 5asts, 3blks, 1stl
Kiefer Ravena (AdMU) – 17pts, 6rebs, 5asts, 2stls
Nico Salva (AdMU) – 21pts, 5rebs, 2asts
Ray Parks (NU) – 22pts, 7rebs, 4asts, 1stl

*All images are by Juan Benjamin Janeo/
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