The Ateneo Blue Eagles (6-4) are showing much better composure in the second round, and this will be tested next against the best defensive team, the NU Bulldogs (4-6).

Ateneo eked out a win in their last double-overtime encounter mostly thanks to Kiefer Ravena‘s heroics during crunch time. As seen in their recent games, the Blue Eagles have it easier when they don’t leave it all up to Kiefer. Total team effort is needed, especially knowing that NU will once again hound the Phenom and make him bleed for points. Ball movement will be key for them as they try to counter the Bulldogs’ peskiness. They still have the best assist rate in the league at 62 percent versus NU’s 47.4. Kiefer, Matt Nieto, and Adrian Wong have been effective in orchestrating their offense and getting everyone involved.

The interior defense of Ateneo will be crucial too as they try to prevent Alfred Aroga from dominating the paint. They showed in their last match against UST that they can notch it up on the defensive end. It shouldn’t be a problem replicating that feat against the Bulldogs who do not have as much offensive weapons as the Tigers.

Lastly, the Blue Eagles need their bench to continue stepping up. Arvin Tolentino was finally freed in their last outing, dropping 20 points on 85 percent true shooting in 22 and a half minutes. Hopefully he’ll be given another opportunity to shine in this game. Aaron Black also deserves to get more consistent minutes as his contributions have always been huge for Ateneo.

With their Final Four chances at stake, both teams will surely grind it out on Sunday. It’s not going to be a walk in the park, but I think the Blue Eagles are poised get their third consecutive victory. #OBF

Game Details
TIME: 2:00 PM