Ateneo De Manila University vows to bounce back against De La Salle University in Game 2 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 79 men’s basketball tournament best-of-three finals on Wednesday.
The Blue Eagles almost pulled-off a stunning come-from-behind win but the Green Archers were able to hang on with a 67-65 win in Game 1 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City behind the heroics of Jeron Teng and Ben Mbala.
Skipper Thirdy Ravena, who only finished with eight points on 2-of-9 shooting in the field along with four rebounds and six turnovers, said the Blue Eagles’ bad start cost their loss over the Green Archers in Game 1.
“We will bounce in the next game hopefully we don’t suffer any bad start,” Ravena told reporters during interview. “We’ve been doing it for the entire season fighting each game to stay alive.”
“I think the positive side was we were able to compete in the finals against La Salle despite its 16-2 run in the first quarter. Nobody expected us to reach this far this season but we played our very best.”
Ravena also said that his elder brother Kiefer advised him to play great, enjoy the game and not to be overwhelmed. “He told me to play my best but I was overwhelmed and my start was too tight. We just have to bounce back.”
Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin said the players should overcome La Salle’s pressure defense and stand up to the challenge in Game 2 to send the best-of-three championship series to a knockout game.
“It is a classic battle and we got off to a terrible start while La Salle got off to a good start,” Baldwin told reporters after the game. “The players got phenomenal lessons but it’s not about lesson. It’s all about standing to the challenge. They are good players.”
Game 2 is set on Wednesday 3:30 p.m. right after the awarding ceremony at the Araneta Coliseum.