Ateneo Blue Eagles def. FEU Tamaraws 80-61
Thirdy Ravena (22 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, +29)
This was easily the best game of the season for Ateneo’s human highlight reel as it was clear from tip-off that he was locked-in and aggressive. Ravena has steadily improved throughout the season, and last year’s Finals MVP will be bringing that momentum with to a third straight Finals.
Angelo Kouame (18 points, 11 rebounds, 4 blocks)
More of the same dominance from Angelo Kouame against FEU, the team he dropped 33 points and 27 rebounds on in their Round 2 match-up. He also outplayed Prince Orizu (7 points, 4 rebounds), and should be a confidence booster entering a Finals where he will meet either Papi Sarr or MVP Bright Akhuetie.
Arvin Tolentino (5 points, 3 rebounds, -24)
Not the best way for Arvin to go out, especially against his former team. Ravena and Co. made it difficult for Mr. Born To Score to find openings on the court, as Tolentino took only four field goals. Arvin’s still the biggest reason why his team was even in this position, and we should all definitely be on the lookout for his progression into the pro-level.
- Ateneo was clicking on all cylinders on both ends of the court, and really had no weaknesses in this one. Whether it was scoring inside (40 points in the paint), outside (8 threes), rebounding (+7) or defense (FEU shot just 31% from the field), the Blue Eagles were effective. Whichever team faces team faces them in the Finals is definitely going to have their handsful against the defending champions, who have won 8 games in a row.
- The FEU starters struggled mightily against Ateneo’s stout defense, failing to score in the first four minutes of both halves. This was particularly surprising because while coach Olsen Racela often shuffles his starting five, he actually brought out one of his team’s best starting fives in this one: Jasper Parker, Hubert Cani, Kenneth Tuffin, Arvin Tolentino, Prince Orizu.
- FEU loses 5 key players in the off-season: Arvin Tolentino, Jasper Parker, Richard Escoto, Axel Iñigo and RJ Ramirez. Their remaining core of Orizu (who’s still unsure regarding his final playing year, considering FEU FSA Patrick Tchuente is waiting in the wings – ed.), Hubert Cani, Wendell Comboy and LJ Gonzales should be enough to be remain competitive next season, but it will be interesting to see if the team experiences a drop-off. FEU’s last losing season was Season 69.