Kiefer Ravena heard all of the comments about how he was overrated and decided to stick it to his critics, exploding for 22 points in the first half, to power ahead to as much as a 19 point lead. Sloppy play by the bench unit and highly questionable foul calls allowed La Salle to come back into the game though, threatening at 75-70, but with time not on their side, the Archers were forced to foul floor general Emman Monfort repeatedly, and the veteran calmly made 6 of 6 free throws, sealing the game and the win for Ateneo. (Recap here)
What's at Stake:
- Four games away from a sweep of the elimination round at 10-0, Ateneo Blue Eagles head coach Norman Black would settle for a well-played game, given the lack of energy coming in the near-loss against UE. Though they've already clinched a Final Four spot, the twice to beat advantage of the top two seeds is what they're really after, and to secure that, they'd need at two more wins, assuming the Falcons and Tams don't falter all of a sudden.
- La Salle still has a prayer of making it into the Final Four, but they'd need collapses from the teams ahead of them to forge a tie for fourth place. With the fans calling for the head of coach Dindo Pumaren, he'd at least be able to save some face by dispatching their arch-rivals.
ADMU Player to Watch : After scoring 22 in the first half, Ravena became quiet, scoring just three more points, though he had seven rebounds and two steals. La Salle fans boasted of how they were able to shut down the Phenom in the latter part of the game, but we'll see if that holds up, as Ravena has only gotten better since adjusting to his starting shooting guard role.
DLSU Player to Watch : After a nice two-game stretch from Arnold Van Opstal that turned out to be a mirage, it's been Norbert Torres who's been the big man down low for the Archers, putting together a four-game run of 14 points on 65.63 percent shooting, seven rebounds and three blocks. That however, halted against UST, when foul trouble forced him into a four point, five rebound three block performance. If he can't stay on the court, La Salle will find it difficult to get things going in the paint.
Prediction: ADMU Blue Eagles