UAAP: Ateneo, NU begin Final Four duel | Inquirer Sports

UAAP: Ateneo, NU begin Final Four duel

By: - Reporter / @MarkGiongcoINQ
/ 01:32 PM September 24, 2014

UAAP Ateneo vs NU 1

Kiefer Ravena of Ateneo drives to the basket off Paolo Javelona of NU at the Smart Araneta. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/AUGUST DELA CRUZ

MANILA, Philippines — Ateneo and National University took different paths towards the Final Four.

The Blue Eagles cruised to the top spot while the Bulldogs had to go through the wringer.


Ateneo, well-rested, hasn’t played since its comeback win over Far Eastern University in overtime nearly two weeks ago while NU hopes to ride on its momentum from last Saturday’s pulsating win over University of the East that earned them the last semifinals slot.


The two teams are also in the playoffs for two different reasons.

The Eagles are the No. 1 offensive team heading into the semis and they won 11 games by basically outscoring their opponents while the Bulldogs, the top defensive team, finished with a 10-5 record, including their win over the Red Warriors in a playoff, by trying to limit their foes.

Ateneo averages close to a league-best 76 points per game with much of its points coming from its starters led by newly-minted season MVP Kiefer Ravena.

NU on the other hand, allows just 57.9 points per game on only 38% shooting — a testament to how good its defense is.

“We just have to focus on our strengths. Our defense got us up to this point, so we have to go with that,” said NU head coach Eric Altamirano.

Ateneo relies heavily on the talented Ravena, who leads the league in scoring with 21.2 points per game, at the offensive end while in contrast, NU, following the departure of two-time MVP Ray Parks, has been playing with a more team-oriented style with the likes of Gelo Alolino, Troy Rosario and Alfred Aroga norming double-digits in points.


Of the three losses by Ateneo, two of those came at the hands of NU with the Bulldogs defense able to hold up against the Blue Eagles’ high-octane offense.

In those two defeats, Ateneo averaged just 63 points after dropping a 60-64 decision in the first round and a 66-76 rout in their second meeting.

Treading different paths and for different reasons, Ateneo and NU will find themselves standing in each other’s way at the start of the Final Four Wednesday.

“It’s a different ballgame come the Final Four,” said Altamirano. “I know we beat them twice, but their confidence is very high coming into the Final Four. So we just have to be ready.”

“When we’re at our best, we can beat anybody. So we have to look for ways to be at our best,” said Ateneo coach Bo Perasol.


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Ateneo’s Kiefer Ravena wins UAAP Season 77 MVP

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TAGS: Ateneo Blue Eagles, Basketball, NU Bulldogs, Sports, UAAP Season 77

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