Ateneo Blue Eagles end series, win back-to-back UAAP crowns
Thirdy Ravena of Ateneo drives as UP's Paul Desiderio and Bright Akhuetie defend.
Philstar.com/Efigenio Toledo IV

Ateneo Blue Eagles end series, win back-to-back UAAP crowns

Cris Santos (Philstar.com) - December 5, 2018 - 6:45pm

MANILA, Philippines - Ateneo de Manila University walloped University of the Philippines, 99-81, in Game Two of the 81st UAAP men's basketball tournament finals to complete the sweep and notch its second straight crown on Wednesday at the jampacked Araneta Coliseum.

Thirdy Ravena delivered the best finals scoring performance in the last 15 years with a career-high 38 points on 13-of-18 shooting from the field. He bagged his second straight Finals MVP honor in the process.

“Hindi ko ma-explain yung feeling. Talagang binigay namin ang lahat. Alam namin hindi rin bibitaw ang UP,” said Ravena, who failed to make it to the Mythical Team due to a one-game suspension.

Angelo Kouame, the Rookie of the Year of Season 81, also had a monster game for the Blue Eagles with 22 points and 20 rebounds, outshining the season MVP Bright Akhuetie of UP.

Akhuetie had a better offensive game with 19 points but was visibly affected by his hyperextended left knee injury he suffered in their 88-79 loss in Game 1.

With Ravena unloading 17 of his total points, Ateneo erected a 48-37 halftime lead.

Ravena joined forces with Raffy Verano as the Eagles built a 59-41 advantage with 6:38 remaining in the third period before settling for a 70-56 lead entering the final canto.

The Katipunan-based squad was relentless and continued to pound inside, stretching their lead to as high as 22 points, 81-59, a little over six minutes remaining.

UP had no answer in that surge, settling for a runner-up finish, its best since winning the UAAP title in 1986.

Juan Gomez de Liano paced the Fighting Maroons with 24 points while Paul Desiderio, who had only five in the series opener, added 15 in his final year with the Diliman-based squad.

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