Growing Their Wings: Eaglets Hand Junior Archers a Beating

Thirdy Ravena was his usual aggressive and productive self
as the Eaglets battered the Junior Archers.


The Ateneo de Manila HS Blue Eaglets closed out the first round of hostilities in the Juniors Division of UAAP Season 75 by handing their archrivals, the Zobel Junior Archers, a good old beat-down, bookended by spectacular performances in the first and fourth quarters.

And it all started with a second-generation star-in-the-making.

Undersized but unwavering, super sophomore Mike Nieto, son of former Ateneo Blue Eagle Jet Nieto, scored 6 straight points to spark a sublime 10-2 run in the opening minutes to help Ateneo take command of this critical game. Both the Eaglets and the Junior Archers badly needed to win in this one, as both teams were tied for fourth place at 3-3 behind idle UST. The winner of this match, as long as they stay true to form, will certainly have an inside track into a possible Final Four berth at the end of the eliminations. Needless to say, this was a really big game.

And, fortunately, the big guns of the Loyola quintet were on target.

Aside from Mike getting hot right out of the gates, senior guard-forward Mio Puno, Mike’s twin brother Matthew, who’s amusingly called “A-choo” by his friends, and graduating streak shooter Anton Asistio all chipped in at least 4 points in the first period to help the Eaglets erect a considerable 10-point margin, 25-15.

This was quite unexpected, since the Zobel crew was seen as one of the possible contenders for the Season 75 crown. The Junior Archers are a curious bunch. Top talents recruited from Collegio San Agustin and Lourdes School of Mandaluyong make up a significant portion of their roster, which gives them considerable depth.

That, however, wasn’t very apparent at least early in this game. The lone bright spot for Zobel to start off the match was Renzo Subido, himself a former LSM Trojan. Subido, who is the current scoring leader of the Juniors Division, hit both his attempts from beyond the arc en route to 9 points in the quarter, helping Zobel stay within striking distance of Ateneo.

That would change in the second period, though, as Thirdy Ravena caught fire.

Ravena, the third-year combo forward, lit up the scoreboard in the first four minutes of the second stanza, where he scored 10 straight points as the Ateneans continued to control the tempo. The second quarter lead of Coach Joe Silva’s wards stood highest at 18 points, right before the Alabang five trimmed it to just 14 at the half.

At this point, it was clear that, unless the Archers put up their own run, the Eaglets would just run roughshod the rest of the way. Lucky for Coach Boris Aldeguer, his boys didn’t have plans of simply caving in. Subido joined forces with Alex Saubier and Joaquin Banzon, the son of true blue Atenean Raul Banzon, to eat up at the Katipunan quintet’s lead. That green-clad trio outscored the whole Ateneo team, 20-10, in the first seven minutes of the second half, effectively trimming the gap to just four with a lot of time still to be played.

Now it was the Eaglets’ turn to regroup and see if they had it in them to keep their rallying rivals at bay.

Fortunately, Mike Nieto asserted his will again and, together with Jolo Mendoza and Aaron Black, led an 8-1 spurt that ended the third period with Ateneo still ahead, 62-51.

Coach Aldeguer probably thought his guys still had enough gas in the tank to mount a serious challenge in the final canto, but, instead, it was Ateneo who played with more intensity. The Eaglets never let up, scoring almost twice as much as La Salle did in the last 10 minutes of the game. Asistio scored 10 of his 17 points in this stretch as the Blue & White dominated on both ends. The Archers were limited to just 21% FG shooting in this period and were outrebounded, 18-9. There was no looking back for Coach Silva’s players as they uncorked a 9-4 run to end the game and peg the final tally.

This was a much-needed win for the Eaglets. They have finally won back-to-back games (they beat UE earlier in the week), which is a positive sign as they seem to have finally recovered from that painful defeat at the hands of the Tiger Cubs last week. Ateneo is now at solo fourth, a full game ahead of Zobel. The Blues now have a solid shot at making the Final Four, and, as long as they continue playing solid ball, things should continue on the up and up.

Aaron Black had one of his best outings so far
as Ateneo grabbed solo fourth in the standings.

Anton Asistio's steady shooting helped the
Ateneans grabbed their fourth win.

Anton Asistio poses with third-year standouts
 Jme Escaler and Ivan Jose.

Renzo Subido (#4) is distraught as the Zobel Junior Archers
drop their fourth game in seven outings.
(image by Joseph Nebrida/


AHS 86 – Asistio 17, Ravena 15, Black 15, Nieto Mi 14, Vitangcol 7, Gamboa 6, Puno 4, Nieto Ma 4, Mendoza 2, Capacio 2, Vinasoy 0, Quioge 0, Jose 0, Escaler 0, Consunji 0, Calilung 0
DLSZ 64 – Subido 34, Banzon 11, Saubier 9, Cruz 5, Melecio Ak 3, Samonte 2, Quintos 0, Manguera 0, Evangelista 0, Cabarrus 0, Andaya 0, Abanilla 0
QS: 25-15, 44-30, 62-51, 86-64
Notable Performers:
Thirdy Ravena (AHS) – 15pts, 15rebs, 3asts
Aaron Black (AHS) – 15pts, 7rebs, 2asts, 1stl
Renzo Subido (DLSZ) – 34pts, 5 treys, 3asts, 1stl

Other Juniors Scores:

UPIS Junior Maroons over UE Junior Warriors, 60-44
UPIS 60 – Sablan 9, Pajarillaga 8, Gregorio P. 8, Quejada 7, Nacpil 7, Lopez 5, Ancheta 5, General 4, Lina 3, Ragos 2, Dario 2, Mercado 0, Jimenez 0, Gregorio J. 0, Chua 0
UE 44 – Viajar 8, Rafol 8, Posadas 6, Pangilinan 6, Ceralde 6, Garcia 5, Sison 2, Briones 2, Castillo 1, Gonzales 0, Del Rosario 0, Correche 0
QS: 13-8, 31-14, 48-24, 60-44

UST Tiger Cubs over AdU Baby Falcons, 80-69
UST 80 – Ungria 21, Corre 18, Mayor 7, Baetiong 7, Soriano 6, Borje 6, Martin 5, Abuyen 5, Bahia 5
AdU 69 – Margallo 16, Quinga 14, Ylagan 9, Fernandez 8, Asistio 8, Pacturan 6,  Pangaibat 4, Solomon 3, Javier 1, Oebanda 0, Madrid 0, Munsayac 0, Barroga 0
QS: 20-16, 36-31, 56-49, 80-69

Unless otherwise specified, all images are by Erwin Cabbab/
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