Kiefer Ravena in King Eagle form versus Adamson

Ateneo 79 vs Adamson 57

For the Ateneo Blue Eagles, there was a lot of hype surrounding their new recruits for UAAP Season 77, as they were able to get the top prospects from various high schools. There was even a wisp of mystery surrounding how the new-look Eagles would play as they spent most of the summer abroad. But one thing that most people forgot is this: Kiefer Ravena is the King Eagle and he is one of the best college players today.

It’s okay if somehow you forgot just how good Kiefer is. He was injured for most of last season and barely left a mark as the Eagles struggled the entire year. Now, in Season 77, he’s a man on a mission.

Ravena opened the Blue Eagles’ campaign by pouring in 22 points, including a pair of insane dunk that got the ADMU fans going crazy. He looked calm and confident all throughout. He moved with grace, as though he was painting a masterpiece, and played with tenacity fit for a beast.

Other notables were rookie Arvin Tolentino and center Gideon Babilonia. The pair started the game and provided stellar play. They’re still young and may be inexperienced, but they stood their ground.

But aside from individual performances, what impressed me most was Ateneo’s commitment to defense. They unleashed a full-court press that surprised everyone. They got into the passing lanes, trapped the pick-and-rolls when necessary, and rotated efficiently to cover every Adamson player. The Falcons scored 11 in the first quarter and nine in the second, for a total of 20 measly points in the first half.

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For the Falcons, not all hope is lost this early in the season. There were glimpses of life. Jansen Rios and Don Trollano hit a couple of jumpers and the rest of team showed aggressiveness in the third quarter. Rios, together with Ivan Villanueva, led the Faclons with 15 points apiece.

But the Eagles were relentless as the outcome of the game was decided halfway in the fourth. The real test for Kiefer Ravena and the Eagles though, will be against arch-rivals and defending champions La Salle, as they meet up in Sunday’s game.

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