Ateneo dominates game one of UAAP finals; a win away from ‘four-peat’
By Mark Giongco
“Kiefer Ravena of Ateneo tries to get past the tight guarding by Cris Eximiniano of FEU in game one of the UAAP men’s basketball finals Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011, at the Smart Araneta Center in Quezon City. The Blue Eagles won, 82-64, and is a game away from completing a rare four-peat. AUGUST DELA CRUZ/Inquirer”
MANILA, Philippines – Ateneo ironed out the kinks in the second half to hammer out a convincing 82-64 win over Far Eastern University and moved to within a win of completing a “four-peat” Saturday in the 74th UAAP men’s basketball finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Blue Eagles, who drew a perfect game from forward Nico Salva, grabbed the Tamaraws by their horns in the last two quarters.
“We just tried to make the adjustments in the second half to at least defend their pick and rolls,” said Ateneo coach Norman Black.
“Our defense has really been the strength of our team, it’s been like that for the last four years,” added Black, whose squad was as stellar at the offensive end, shooting 60% percent from the field.
Salva came through with a game-high 24 points built on an eight-of-eight shooting from the field while also going eight-of-eight from the stripe.
“I really decided to go to Nico and he delivered,” said Black.
Anchored by its suffocating defense, Ateneo held FEU’s top gunner RR Garcia to just six points on a forgetful three-of-15 shooting from the field, including 0-of-7 from three.
Top rookie Kiefer Ravena also shone for the Eagles as he collected 17 points, five rebounds and four assists.
Seven-foot center Greg Slaughter chipped in with 12 points and eight boards.
DOUBLE TROUBLE. RR Garcia of FEU is double teamed by Ateneo’s Nico Salva and Emman Monfort in game one of the UAAP men’s basketball finals, which the Blue Eagles won, 82-64. AUGUST DELA CRUZ/Inquirer
Adding insult to injury, Garcia wasn’t even able to go to the free-throw line in 35 minutes of action.
The Tamaraws failed to sustain their strong start and were visibly rattled as the game went on.
“Our first two quarters were good but the last two we just didn’t defend and we didn’t share the ball,” said FEU coach Bert Flores.
Terrence Romeo paced the Tamaraws with 23 points to go along with six rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Russel Escoto added 12 points, six boards, two assists and a block.
Despite absorbing an 18-point loss, Flores remained upbeat about their chances coming into game two on Tuesday.
“We still have game two and we’ll try to bounce back. I’m positive about our chances,” Flores said.
MANILA, Philippines - Ateneo’s rookie sensation Kiefer Ravena is also shooting for a personal four-peat as the Blue Eagles set off to capture a fourth straight UAAP men’s basketball trophy.
Ravena owns a triple crown during his high-flying stint in the juniors ranks, hoping to sustain the winning streak in his crossover to the seniors.
“I’m very excited especially since I’m helping a team gunning for a fourth straight championship,” said the 5-11 newbie who’s made a smooth transition from a high school phenom to a legit college star.
“It’s been a hell of an experience for me that started since summer and now my rookie year’s about to end so I just have to make the most out of it,” he added.
In the 14-game elims, Ravena was Ateneo’s second leading scorer with 13.1 points per game, logging solid averages of 4.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.6 steal en route to the season’s top rookie honors.
“I have to thank the coaching staff and my teammates for that; if not for them, I probably won’t have the numbers,” he said.
“But I’m not thinking about this now because it’s done already. I’m really focused on winning the championship.”
MANILA, Philippines - Greg Slaughter and Kiefer Ravena of the Ateneo Blue Eagles will join UAAP Season 74 most valuable player Bobby Ray Parks of the National University (NU) Bulldogs in the Mythical 5.
Slaughter came 2nd in the MVP race, while Ravena is the run away winner of the Rookie of the Year plum.
Alex Nuyles of the Adamson Falcons and Aldrech Ramos of the Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws complete the Mythical 5.
Parks led the league in statistical points with 66.64, followed by Slaughter (63.35), Nuyles (59.0), Ramos (57.57) and Ravena (56.35).
Karim Abdul of the University of Sto. Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers actually finished 3rd in statistical points with 60.3, but he is disqualified from receiving individual awards after being suspended in their last game of the season.
UAAP Commissioner Andy Jao confirmed the rule.
"I think so, that’s been the case in the past. That has already happened to several players in the past few years," he said.
As a result, Ravena took his place in the Mythical 5.
Bobby Ray Parks emerged as the Most Valuable Player of Season 74 of the UAAP men’s basketball tournament.
Sharing the limelight was Kiefer Ravena of Ateneo, often called ‘the Phenom,’ who bagged the Rookie of the Year award.
Parks, one of the hottest new faces in the league, earned 66.64 statistical points (SPs) to beat Ateneo center Greg Slaughter, who wound up a close second with 63.38 SPs average.
Parks will receive his trophy in Game Two of the finals on September 27 at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
Besides being the first Bulldog to be named MVP, Parks is also the first top individual performer whose team did not go beyond the double-round eliminations. The Bulldogs were fifth after the elimination phase with a 6-8 win-loss record.
Parks compiled a total of 843 SPs to dominate the 125-player field. He also received 90 bonus points from the games NU won.
As for Slaughter, he had 692 SPs but earned 195 bonus points from Ateneo’s won games.
Cameroonian center Karim Abdul of University of Santo Tomas was third with 60.38 SPs average but was disqualified for any individual award because of his one-game suspension for two unsportsmanlike fouls. He was replaced by Ravena out of the Mythical Five.
Ravena finished sixth in the statistical points race, the league’s sole basis for the selection of individual awardees since the 2008 season.
Ravena, second in statistical points to Slaughter after the first round, had a 56.36 SPs average after the double-round eliminations.
Making up the Mythical Five are Parks, Slaughter, FEU center Aldrech Ramos and Adamson hotshot Alex Nuyles.
Tamaraws shooting guard Ryan Roose Garcia, last year’s MVP, was seventh in the SPs category with 53.36 and missed the Mythical Five.
Parks was Season 74’s top scorer with 20 points per game — he had three 30-plus per games. He was seventh in rebounds (6.5 per game) and 10th in assists (2.9), steals (1.1) and blocks (1.1).
He also had the most free-throw conversions with 105 and a 78.9 per cent shooting from the 15-foot line that ranked him at seventh.
MANILA, Philippines - Bobby Ray Parks Jr. of the National University Bulldogs will be named the Most Valuable Player of the UAAP Season 74, sources told abs-cbnNEWS.com
This, despite his team not making it to the Final 4.
Parks led the league in scoring with 20 points, along with 6.5 rebounds.
Parks clinched the award after his performance in their last elimination round game against the University of Sto. Tomas Growling Tigers, wherein he scored 22 points, along with 8 rebounds and 6 assists.
Parks made a wild shot near the end of that game, when he saved the ball from going out of bounds and somehow flipped it into the net.
The NU Bulldogs finished with a 6-8 record, good for 5th in the league.
"It’s a blessing for me and it’s a stepping stone for NU," Parks told abs-cbnNEWS.com. "I just wanna thank everybody in the NU family who continued to cheer me on."
"It’s not only a big achievement for me but also for the NU community… This is definitely a huge blessing and a huge achievement," Parks added.
The MVP award is based on statistical points, with bonus statistical points awarded for every won game.
Unofficial tallies from abs-cbnNEWS.com’s sources have Parks beating out Ateneo’s Greg Slaughter by only 2 statistical points.
Slaughter was leading the MVP race after the 1st round of the eliminations, but he dropped to 2nd place after a 10-point, 5-rebound performance in a loss against the Adamson Falcons in their last game.
Slaughter finished with averags of 13.3 points, 9. 4 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game.
Meanwhile, Ateneo’s star freshman Kiefer Ravena is a lock for the Rookie of the Year award, after averaging 13.1 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game.
Ravena thanked his coaches and teammates, saying he owed them the award.
UST’s big man Karim Abdul finished 3rd in the MVP race, but was disqualified after being suspended for incurring 2 unsportsmanlike fouls during the season.
UAAP Season 74 MVP Bobby Ray Parks Joined By Kiefer Ravena In Mythical Five
Ravena unanimously won the UAAP Season 74 Rookie of the Year award and took fifth slot of the mythical five due to the disqualification of Karim Abdul of the University of Sto. Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers. Abdul was third in statistical points with 60.3, but was disqualified in the mythical selection after being suspended in their last game of the season. Below is the complete UAAP Season 74 Mythical Five selection. 1. Bobby Ray Parks2. Greg Slaughter3. Alex Nuyles of the Adamson University (AdU) Falcons4. Aldrech Ramos of the Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws5. Kiefer Ravena
Kiefer Ravena Wins Rookie Of The Year Award of The UAAP Season 74: The Phenom Bags The Award?
Source: Snow Badua’s Teledyaryo Sports
The Phenom, Kiefer Ravena is now sure to bag the UAAP Season 74 Rookie of the year award after his closest rivals to the award, Bobby Ray Parks Jr. and Greg Slaughter were declared to be ineligible to receive the award because both of them underwent the residency period. Thus, Kiefer is now the only formidable rookie to bag the award. UST’s Kevin Ferrer made a run for the award but he’s not that consistent. Thus, Kiefer is now the runaway winner to win the award.
ATENEO Blue Eagles maintained their supremacy at the University Athletic Association of the Philippines men’s basketball leader board this 74th season, after thromping off with their 13th straight win for the second round, with a 61-39 demolition of the National University Bulldogs last Saturday at the Big Dome.
The Loyola Heights-based team moved into the finals straight away, with a thrice-to-beat advantage against whoever will survive the semifinals stepladder. Although everything seems to be well in the Blue Eagles’ mission to claim their fourth consecutive championship trophy this year, Kiefer Ravena says this is no excuse for them to rest on their laurels.
“We still got a lot of work to do,” the 6-footer shooting guard who wears jersey no. 15 begins. “The toughest teams for us to guard are Adamson [Falcons] and FEU [Tamaraws] because they are very talented. The hardest one for me to guard is RR Garcia of FEU. He is steady, a veteran and [also] the reigning MVP at UAAP. But the [toughest] player who guarded me was Simon Atkins of La Salle, he’s strong, fast and very intelligent in playing defense.”
“The Phenom,” “The Kid with the Million Moves,” “Blue Mamba” and “Must-See Blue Eagle” are just some of the monikers given to the 17-year-old rookie who, according to Eagles Norman Black, already plays like a pro. He can average between 20 and 25 points per game. And with his 62.00 score in statistical points, he is also in the running for the Most Valuable Player award. But does Ravena feel the pressure of living up to all the people’s expectations?
“[Well] I just play. I don’t look at the score or anything. I just play with my capabilities. Apart from the ‘technical stuff’ that our coaches always remind us, you must learn how to strategize things—what place do you run, what kind of defense do we play against the opponent. [When I am] on court, I just feel myself, I let the game come to me. But I really have to perform. It is [actually] more of preparing yourself mentally and blocking all those pressures.
“When it comes to crunch time, I like the situation of being there. Not a lot of people are getting the opportunity to stay [there], when there’s an adrenaline rush. Potentially, I want to be that kind of player, someone who can close out games—who can win games! If we can defeat them, we might as well defeat them straight away.”
Ravena also revealed the Blue Eagles’ “classic recipe” for success this season: team chemistry. “We’re okay now, we have the time to really blend with each other—to really go out and play as a team. What you can see now, everything is going well. As one player goes down, everyone takes a step back. It’s a team game, everyone has to know the rules, play their rules and find their spots on the court. It’s pretty much a big deal with everyone.”
Coming of age
Just last year when Ravena led the Ateneo Blue Eaglets team to a grand slam championship. And after graduating from high school, he concentrated on his plans to play college basketball in the United States. Unfortunately, he did not get solid offers there.
What made him decide to continue his basketball path in Ateneo? Two reasons: “The quality of education—that is very important, a gift that everyone should value; and [also because of] the tradition of winning championships [for three years]. We are aiming for our fourth straight [this time].”
This basketball wonderkid comes from an athletic family. His father, Ferdinand “Bong” Ravena, a former PBA is the current assistant coach for the Talk ‘N Text team. While his mother, the former Melizza “Mozzy” Crisologo, was once a member of the of the University of Santo Tomas volleyball team. Still, he insists, getting into the sport was “more of my choice. But they are very supportive. I can’t ask for more, [they are] the best! They are always there, be it bad games or good games.”
Untouched by fame
Never in the history of the UAAP men’s basketball has a Blue Eagle’s outstanding exploits on court become the no. 1 trending topic on Twitter. Not even during the time of Doug Kramer, Rabeh Al-Hussaini, Kirk Long or Chris Tiu.
But Ravena made it happen after he unloaded 24 points to help the Blue Eagles win against the Green Archers last July 16, with a final score of 81-72. He bumped Jennifer Lopez and ex-husband Marc Anthony off to the second spot!
“Nakakagulat! It was fascinating for me, knowing that I was [trending] worldwide. I saw it myself. Even if it was just for a short while, it’s something that I probably can my kids someday.”
Despite the attention he is currently;y enjoying, success certainly hasn’t gotten to Ravena’s head.
When this writer interviewed him in a coffee shop at the Big Dome one rainy Saturday afternoon, we had to stop our conversations once in a while so he could accommodate all of his fans. In fact, one girl travelled all the way from Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, to watch him play that day.
“These people could devote their time doing something else, but [look] they are here!” He also shared two not-so-usual things that fans ever did to him. “There’s this one whom I just met [at the venue] and she asked me if I could be her escort at the prom. Another girl asks for my signature, but she wanted me to sign on her chest,” he recalled with a wide smile.