Thirdy Ravena hit a dagger triple with 22.6 seconds left to tow the Ateneo Blue Eagles past the San Beda Red Lions, 62-56, in Game 3 of the PCCL President's Cup semifinals Saturday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Fielding in a complete lineup for the first time in the UAAP-NCAA champions showdown, Ateneo relied on its balanced attack to advance to the finals and arrange a knockout battle with the University of Visayas Green Lancers.
After a slow start for both teams, the Blue Eagles pulled away by pouring 24 points in the second frame. The lead ballooned to as high as 17 points early in the third period after a 7-0 opening blast capped by a Matt Nieto basket from downtown.
The Red Lions struggled to catch up but they bridged the third and fourth quarters with a blistering 17-2 run to tie the game at 55-all in the last three minutes.
Angelo Kouame finally stopped the bleeding for Ateneo with an and-one play for a 58-55 edge. Evan Nelle had a chance to force another deadlock but his open 3-pointer bounced off the rim. Donald Tankoua split from the line to keep the score close, but Ravena knocked down a cold-blooded three to seal the win.
Ravena top-scored for the Blue Eagles with 14 points, six rebounds, and two assists, while Kouame finished with 13 points, 18 boards, and eight blocks.
For San Beda, James Canlas and Tankoua combined for 24 points.
ATENEO 62 -- Ravena 14, Kouame 13, Wong 10, Andrade 8, Ma. Nieto 5, Berjay 3, Mamuyac 3, Navarro 2, Go 2, Mi. Nieto 1, Tio 1, Belangel 0.
SAN BEDA 56 -- Canlas 14, Tankoua 10, Nelle 9, Doliguez 7, Soberano 5, Etrata 4, Cuntapay 3, Oftana 2, Alfaro 2, Abuda 0, Bahio 0, Carino 0, Visser 0, Obenza 0.
Quarters: 10-7, 34-24, 53-42, 62-56.
- The Blue Eagles failed to convert a single field goal for more than seven minutes in the fourth quarter, which allowed the Red Lions to erase the lead.
- Ateneo was severely undermanned in the previous games because several players had to attend classes.
- According to Ravena, they are still unsure of the players' availability for Monday's finals game.
Ateneo Blue Eagles vs UV Green Lancers on January 28 (Monday) at the Filoil Flying V Centre