Ateneo Blue Eaglets complete ‘three-peat’ in UAAP cage tilt


THE Ateneo Blue Eaglets extended their domination in junior basketball, whipping the University of Santo Tomas Tiger Cubs, 76-59, on Sunday and completed a rare ‘three-peat’ in the UAAP juniors basketball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum.

National Kiefer Ravena, son of former Philippine Basketball Association superstar and now Talk N Text assistant coach Bong Ravena, keyed the Eaglets’ second victory over the Tiger Cubs in a unique finals format.

The Eaglets entered the championship round carrying a thrice-to-beat advantage after sweeping their double-round elimination assignments.

The Tiger Cubs won Game 1, 77-71, behind Kevin Ferrer’s 35 points, but the Eaglets bounced back strong and moved within striking distance of winning the title with a 76-66 victory on Thursday.

Ravena capped his final game as a high school standout by finishing with 24 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals to come out as the hand’s-down choice as the Most Valuable Player of the Finals.

“I’ll just enjoy this victory, play for the RP team, then I’ll make a decision,” said Ravena, member of the RP under-18 squad that will see action in the FIBA Asia U-18 tournament starting on Wednesday.

Ravena led the Eaglets’ onslaught while Von Pessumal, Paolo Romero and Chuckie Dumrique put on the finishing touches for the Loyola-based squad, which secured its 17th title.

“This is the sweetest championship because this is the third time we tried to win a three-peat and we finally did it,” said Jamike Jarin, who completed the grandslam in his 13th season as coach of the Ateneo high school squad.

Pessumal, also a graduating student, had 15 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals. Romero contributed 14 points and 13 boards while Dumrique added 14 points, including seven in the fourth quarter.

“We came in with a lot of energy unlike in Game 2. We came out hungry to win, so there was no letdown,” said Jarin.

Jaypee Sarcia had 17 points and four rebounds in his return from a one-game suspension while season MVP Ferrer, who will join Ravena and Pessumal in Yemen, had 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Ejay Corre was held to just nine points after scoring double figures in the first two games.

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