Just a few days ago news came out that finals MVP Ryan Buenafe won’t be donning the Blue and White this season together with Art dela Cruz, Chris de Chavez and Jeric Estrada who all had academic problems, but when the FIloil Tournament opened, all hesitations for a four-peat were written off. If 2008 was a good recruiting year for the Ateneo Blue Eagles then this year might be a cut above the rest as the country’s phenomenal High school standout and National Team’s resident center are playing for the same team. In their first outing together Keifer Ravena and Greg Slaughter combined for 51 points to compliment veteran Nico Salva’s 21 point explosion and give the Ateneo Blue Eagles bragging rights over last year’s NCAA Champion San Beda College as the Blue Eagles beat the Red Lions 89 – 86.
The Red Lions new 6 – 9 African center was unveiled in this game as Ola Adeogun topscored with 30 points including an up and under dunk shot that got the red Lions supporters jumping up and down. Unfortunately for them, the dunk that mattered the most was the alley-hoop dunk of Greg Slaughter from Keifer Ravena that pushed the Blue Eagles comfortably ahead 87- 82 with 26 second left in the game. Slaughter scored 26 points and had 2 blocks but only had 2 rebounds. Adeogun surprised a lot of viewers with his athleticism and jumping ability. This will surely mean that the Red Lions will be contenders for another five years!
The Red Lions started hot with Adeogun scoring at will in the first quarter. The Blue Eagles started with Eman Monfort, Kirk Long, Nico Salva, Justin Chua and Frank Golla but had a hard time containing Adeogun and had most of the Red team shooters scorching the nets. After 5 minutes, in came Ravena and Slaughter and the complexion of the game quickly changed. The Blue Eagles defended the Red Lions well and eventually got their game going with Salva joining the two rookies in the scoring parade. Ravena eventually finished the first half with his patented fade away jumper to give the Blue Eagles the upper hand 41-39 come halftime.
He ran, he got the rebounds, he stole he passed the ball and he scored. It’s just like a movie written, directed and starred in by Kiefer Ravena as he singlehandedly administered the breakaway of the Blue Eagles from the Red brigade. On the defensive end, Zags Gonzaga proved to be another defensive demon as he forced the opponent’s point guards to bleed their way to the frontcourt and had numerous offensive rebounds as well. His all out never say die attitude rubbed off on the Blue Eagles as they closed the third quarter comfortably ahead 60 -49.
Just when the Blue Eagles were about to wrap the game up, Garvo Lanete scored and then rifled off a three pointer that was added by another three pointer by back-up point guard Carmelo Lim and in a wink of an eye the score was back to square with the game tied 74 – all. It was at this juncture that the two rookies conspired once again to close out the game as the Keifer Ravena show was unveiled with the Phenom draining successive fade away shots that climaxed with that alley-hoop dunk to Slaughter. The funny thing was that the game looked like it was the third game of the championship well in fact it was only the first game of the pre-season.
Ateneo de Manila (90)
Slaughter 26, Ravena 25, Salva 21, Gonzaga 7, Erram 5, Long 3, Golla 2, Austria 1, Monfort 0, Chua 0.
San Beda College (87)
Adeogun 30, Lanete 15, Lim 10, A. Semerad 8, Marcelo 6, Daniel 5, Amer 4, J. Pascual 4, de la Rosa 3, Pontejos 2, Villahermosa 0, Caram 0, K. Pascual 0.
Quarter scoring: 18-18, 41-39, 68-58, 90-87