Eagles deal Archers' Final Four bid a big blow

Kiefer Ravena hit 15 points in what could have been his final game against La Salle in the UAAP. EC Toledo IV 

MANILA, Philippines -- The Ateneo Blue Eagles came back to torment their arch-rival De La Salle Green Archers and stay in the hunt for a twice-to-beat bonus in the Final Four with a 73-62 win on Sunday in the UAAP Season 78 men's basketball at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Eagles, not minding the off-court troubles that hounded them in the second round, got back at their first round tormentor and posted their fifth straight win to improve to 9-4 and stay within striking distance of the top two teams FEU (10-2) and UST (10-3). 

Von Pessumal and Kiefer Ravena combined for 32 points while reserves Aaron Black and Adrian Wong gave Ateneo a huge lift contributing 13 and 10, respectively.

The Archers, who led by 10 after the opening quarter, slipped to fifth place with the defending champion NU Bulldogs, who won over UP earlier, moved to fourth spot.

The Bulldogs hold a 6-7 record with FEU serving as their final game. The Archers are at 5-7 with UP and FEU still on their horizon.

Chibueze Ikeh, who was arrested last Wednesday for domestic violence, warded off the distraction to contribute with four points, seven boards and two shot blocks anchoring the Eagles' defense.

Ateneo outscored La Salle, 23-9, in the pivotal third quarter, to avenge its 80-76 setback in the first round that almost cost Eagles coach Bo Perasol's job.

Prince Rivero and Jeron Teng were the only players in double figures for the fast-fading Archers, who dropped their third straight game and four of their last five.

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