It’s been two long seasons since the Ateneo Blue Eagles managed to tame the NU Bulldogs, and as Kiefer Ravena puts it, the game on Wednesday is “their chance for redemption.”

NU’s mastery over Ateneo made them easily overcome their twice-to-win disadvantage in last year’s Final Four matchup. If Mac Belo‘s buzzer-beating triple broke the hearts of La Salle in Season 77, it’s Alfred Aroga‘s monster block on Kiefer that crushed Ateneo’s championship hopes and dreams. I’m sure the Phenom, the rest of the team, and the whole blue and white community still have that exact moment engraved on their memories.

The Blue Eagles are coming off a confidence-boosting win against Adamson, where the rookies stepped up and helped Kiefer deliver the goods. This will be key heading into this battle as the Bulldogs have defensive stoppers like Pao Javelona and Rev Diputado who can distract Kiefer and make him work harder for his points.

In their previous semis encounter, Kiefer was limited to just 27 percent effective shooting (6-for-24 from the field), although he still managed to rack up some dimes as he assisted 47 percent of his teammates’ field goals. He needs his troop to show up – not only in the second half, but from start to finish – if they want to put an end to their losing streak against NU.

The defending champs have so much hunger and motivation right now as they find themselves at the bottom of the standings with two painful losses to open their title defense. With the Eagles still experimenting with their lineup and the Bulldogs looking to clamp them down with their pesky defense, NU might just grab their first win of the season and their seventh straight versus Ateneo.

TIME: 4:00 PM


Featured Image credit: Arvin Lim