The Ateneo de Manila High School Blue Eaglets started their UAAP Season 76 redemptive campaign losing to projected championship rival NU last Wednesday, July 3, but they were able to bounce back against a much-improved UE five last Saturday, July 6.
NU BULLPUPS over AHS BLUE EAGLETS, 79-72
Two of the top three players in the Juniors Division of Season 76 dueled in their first meeting of the season, with Hubert Cani and his Bullpups coming out on top, 79-72.
Cani, a former RP-Youth player, finished with 24 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists to lead NU, which is being tagged as one of the favorites to take home the Juniors crown this year. Cani scored 19 of his 24 markers in the second and third periods when the Bullpups tried to pull away from Ateneo. NU eventually built a 20-point bubble early in the fourth quarter.
The Ateneans, however, refused to just roll over and perish. A 26-8 rally midway in the payoff period enabled the Eaglets to claw their way to within just two points, 72-70, with under 30 ticks remaining. Thirdy Ravena, Jme Escaler, Jolo Mendoza, and the Nieto twins were the conspirators in Ateneo’s last stand, but they fell short of the W as Cani, Mark Dyke, and Carlos Lopena hit their freebies to ice the contest.
Ravena, the Season 76 Juniors MVP favorite, led the Loyola quintet with 27 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals while shooting 50% from the field. The rest of coach Joe Silva’s boys struggled, however, as Matt Nieto was the only other Eaglet to finish in double-figures with 10 markers.
NU was clearly the more dominant team, going +6 in rebounds, +4 in assists, and shooting better from the field and the charity stripe. Ateneo played great defense, forcing 23 NU turnovers, but they shot themselves in the foot by missing all but one of their threes and shooting just 46% from the line.
NU 79 – Cani 24, Cauilan 15, Dyke 13, Lopena 10, Go 8, Battad 4, Mosqueda 3, Grealy 2, Lapiz 0, Claveria 0, Catillo 0, Bautista 0.
AdMU 65 – Ravena 27, Nieto Ma. 10, Nieto Mi. 9, Mendoza 7, Escaler 5, Ramos 4, Salandanan 3, Jose 3, Magpoc 2, Black 2, Mamuyac 0, Joson L. 0, Joson G. 0, Calilung 0.
QS: 18-14, 41-25, 58-42, 79-72.
Hubert Cani (NU) – 24pts, 7rebs, 6asts
Thirdy Ravena (AHS) – 27pts, 11rebs, 3asts, 2stls
Mark Dyke (NU) – 13pts, 11rebs, 3blks
AHS BLUE EAGLETS over UE JUNIOR WARRIORS, 71-64
Ateneo, despite struggling to score in the final 3 minutes, dominated play against UE on its way to win number one, 71-64.
An 11-1 spurt early in the fourth quarter proved to be the telling blow as coach Joe Silva’s wards bounced back from their opening day defeat at the hands of NU. Once again, graduating player Thirdy Ravena was the main man with 16 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists, while junior big man Mike Nieto netted 13 points on top of 12 boards.
They combined with Matt Nieto, Aaron Black, and Miguel Calilung in the decisive fourth period run that created a bit of separation against the pesky Junior Warriors, 65-52, with 6 minutes left. Ateneo played keep-away from then on as UE struggled with its offense.
Magic Marata and Reymar Caduyac were the bright spots for the Reds here. Marata pumped in 20 points to go along with 10 rebounds, while Caduyac registered a dozen markers to go along with 9 ribbies.
Jme Escaler and Matt, Mike’s twin brother, each tossed in 11 points for Ateneo, which is now at 1-1.
AHS 71 – Ravena 16, Nieto Mi 13, Nieto Ma 11, Escaler 11, Mendoza J 8, Black 6, Magpoc 3, Calilung 3, Salandanan 0, Riego de Dios 0, Ramos 0, Mendoza M 0, Mamuyac 0, Joson E 0, Joson T 0, Jose 0
UE 64 – Marata 20, Caduyac 12, Antonio 6, Altamirano 6, Gutierres 5, Del Rosario 5, Briones 4, Mohamad 3, Ceralde 3, Contomo 0
QS: 20-13, 37-30, 54-49, 71-64
Thirdy Ravena (AHS) – 16pts, 7rebs, 4asts, 1stl, 1blk
Mike Nieto (AHS) – 13pts, 12rebs, 1ast, 1blk
Magic Marata (UE) – 20pts, 10rebs, 1blk