Ateneo sweeps UP to win back-to-back UAAP Championships

ADMU Blue Eagles 99 – UP Fighting Maroons 81 (Blue Eagles win 2-0)

In the final game of the season, the Ateneo Blue Eagles made sure they left no doubt who the best team in the UAAP is. They dominated the UAAP Fighting Maroons from buzzer to buzzer in Game 2 of their Finals series. Ateneo sweeps UP to win their second straight UAAP Championship.

Thirdy Ravena carried over momentum from Game 1 to put on a show in Game 2. After a near triple-double in the first game, Ravena scored a career-high 38 points in Game 2 to lead both teams in scoring. That output is the highest point total in a Finals Game since 2003. Ravena also had six rebounds, six assists and three steals to round out a magnificent performance. Kouame bounced back from a subpar Game 1 to tally 22 points, 20 rebounds and two blocks in the closeout game.

Ravena set the tone early in the game. He opened the game with a highlight no-look pass to Raffy Verano for the Blue Eagles’ first basket of the game. Ravena’s playmaking and scoring played a huge role in Ateneo pulling away in the first period. After UP tied the game at eight, Ravena led an 8-1 blast with a layup and a pass leadng to a Kouame dunk. The Blue Eagles were able to build a double-digit lead midway through the period.

The Fighting Maroons went on a mini-run to cut the Ateneo lead near the end of the quarter. But the Blue Eagle bench mob stepped in to settle the team. SJ Belangel scored four straight points in a quarter closing 7-0 run to bring the lead back up to double-digits, 25-13.

The Fighting Maroons were playing catch-up for most of the middle quarters. UP was able to come as close as six in the second period but a 5-0 run from Ravena and Anton Asistion quelled the Fighting Maroon run. Ateneo was able to keep UP at bay with key hits from Ravena and Kouame to maintain an 11-point lead heading into the half.

Ateneo put the game away in the second half. UP put a fight early in the third quarter. They were able to force several turnovers that lead to fast break baskets by Javi Gomez De Liano and Bright Akhuetie. They cut the deficit down to single digits. That was their final stand. Ravena once again played a key role in a 9-0 run. He scored on a straight-away three-pointer and issued another highlight pass to Verano to help Ateneo build an 18-point lead.

In the fourth period, Ravena really turned on the jets to help Ateneo pull away for good.

Ravena zoomed to the hoop off a screen to score an and-one hoop to increase Ateneo’s lead to 18. He then beat the shot clock with a triple from the right win to complete a personal 5-0 run, increasing Ateneo’s lead to 21. Ravena added two more treys after that blast, including a shot that banked in. He closed out the game with two magnificent drives to the hoop and a break away two handed jam that served as an exclamation point for the game.

The King Eagle had two-game averages of 29.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 2.5 steals. His effect in this series went beyond the stats. Ravena was unstoppable and he was the biggest reason for Ateneo’s strong two-game showing. Ravena’s performance earned him the Finals MVP award.