Buenafe shines as Eagles repeat over ArchersBy Jasmine W. Payo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
RYAN Buenafe pumped in a career-high 24 points to power Ateneo past arch rival La Salle, 77-67, and keep the Eagles on top in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament yesterday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“I was already fired up to play in the last game, so I made sure to control myself this time,” said Buenafe, who was ejected in his last outing against Far Eastern University for figuring in an unsportsmanlike play in the first quarter.
Kiefer Ravena also shone with 18 points, seven rebounds and four assists, while Nico Salva buried seven of his 12 points in the final quarter of the blockbuster game that drew a 17,000-strong crowd.
“The focus of the game today was to reestablish the fact that we are a good defensive team,” said coach Norman Black after the Eagles hiked their record to 9-1, just a win away from formally securing a Final Four berth. “In addition to that, we got a big lift from our players. In the case of Ryan, he really stepped up offensively for us.”
Earlier, University of Santo Tomas overcame a scoring outburst from an Adamson rookie Jericho Cruz to forge an 83-79 victory that gave the Tigers solo second at 8-3.
Jeric Teng dropped 22 points, including four straight inside the final two minutes that pushed the Tigers for good at 80-77 after trailing at 70-76 as Cruz exploded for 33 points, 15 from beyond the arc.
Buenafe reached the 20-point mark for the first time this season since scoring 23 points in Game 2 of the 2010 title series where he bagged the Finals MVP.
“Other teams kept double-teaming Greg (Slaughter) using the man guarding the small forward,” said Black. “With Ryan out there, it makes it more difficult for them to do that because he’s an offensive threat.”
By halftime, Buenafe already shot 11 after just averaging only 4.6 points, including a horrendous 1-of-18 clip from three-point-range, in his first nine games.
Jeron Teng fired 22 markers to pace the Archers, who fell to a share of fourth with idle National University at 6-4.
An early shooting spree that saw the Eagles drilling three straight triples—two coming from Buenafe—propped the defending champions up by 16 points, 26-10, by the end of the first quarter.
UST 83—Teng 22, Abdul 19, Mariano 16, Bautista 11, Ferrer 8, Fortuna 7, Vigil 0, Pe 0, Lo 0, Afuang 0.
ADAMSON 79—Cruz 33, Rios 12, Etrone 11, Trollano 7, Camson 5, Cabrera 5, Brondial 5, Agustin 1, Monteclaro 0, Abrigo 0.
Quarters: 16-16, 36-42, 61-58, 83-79
ATENEO 77—Buenafe 24, Ravena 18, Salva 12, Tiongson 10, Slaughter 4, Chua 4, Sumalinog 3, Gonzaga 2, Golla 0, Elorde 0.
LA SALLE 67—Teng 22, Vosotros 20, Van Opstal 8, Tampus 8, N. Torres 4, Manguera 3, Mendoza 2, Andrada 0, Paredes 0, T. Torres 0, Tallo 0, Webb 0.
Quarters: 26-10, 35-29, 57-46, 77-67