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Blue Eagles buck Falcons' tough stand, stay unbeaten

QUEZON CITY, PHILIPPINES - October 9, 2019. Thirdy Ravena of Ateneo drives against Joshua Yerro of Adamson during the UAAP Season 82 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Ernie Sarmiento/ESPN5

The Ateneo Blue Eagles marched to their ninth straight victory in UAAP Season 82, subduing a gritty effort from the Adamson Falcons to come away with an 80-74 win Wednesday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

With its pristine 9-0 record, Ateneo is now assured of at least a playoff berth. The Blue Eagles have now won 19 consecutive games dating back to last season.

Though the Blue Eagles remain seemingly invincible, they were put to the test by the Falcons in the endgame.

"Obviously Adamson came in with a real fire," said Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin. "They had a great plan and they did a great job, they played 40 minutes of really tough basketball. We were patchy."

After putting the hammer down in the third quarter to create separation, the defending champions were pushed to the hilt in the final frame. Ateneo's 13-point lead at the start of the fourth was cut down by a gallant effort from Adamson. Down by nine with 1:40 remaining, Jerrick Ahanmisi fired five quick points. Ahanmisi's 3-pointer with 21 seconds left made it a four-point game, shifting the momentum to Adamson.

The Falcons made another push in the last 10 seconds after Joshua Yerro completed a steal and a layup to cut Ateneo's lead to three, 77-74. But Mike Nieto was able to seal the win with a pair of clutch foul shots.

Thirdy Ravena notched a season-high 23 points and collected four rebounds and five assists. Will Navarro tallied 11 points and eight boards and was a force on the defensive end with four blocks.

"We really survived Adamson at the end of the game. They made all the right plays and we made several bonehead plays which you know, there's no excuse for that. We have to practice those kinds of situations a little better," said Baldwin.

"As I always say, we have a lot to work on. But we're fortunate to get the win. Most of the attention should be what a good job Adamson did today. "

Ahanmisi and Val Chauca were hitting their outside shots and came away with 17 points apiece. Chauca added seven rebounds but committed seven turnovers. With another loss, the Falcons drop to 3-6 for the season stumbling to their fourth straight defeat.

THE SCORES

Ateneo 80 -- Ravena 23, Navarro 11, Nieto Ma. 11, Daves 10, Go 7, Kouame 7, Nieto Mi. 7, Mamuyac 3, Wong 1, Belangel 0, Maagdenberg 0, Tio 0.

AdU -- Ahanmisi 17, Chauca 17, Douanga 13, Yerro 12, Camacho 6, Manlapaz 5, Lastimosa 4, Fermin 0, Flowers 0, Magbuhos 0, Mojica 0.

Quarters: 22-18, 34-37, 63-50, 80-74

EXTRA DRIBBLES

- Thirdy Ravena is the first player to score at least 20 points for the Blue Eagles in Season 82.

- The Blue Eagles have not lost for an entire year. Their last defeat was October 10, 2018, in Season 81, at the hands of the FEU Tamaraws.

- Val Chauca and Jerrick Ahanmisi found their mark versus Ateneo and were responsible for six of Adamson's eight triples.

NEXT GAMES

ADMU - October 13 vs DLSU at MOA Arena

ADU - October 12 vs NU at MOA Arena