UAAP: Salva, Ravena help Blue Eagles bounce back, beat Falcons late
(Updated 5:04pm) Eric Camson has been the best power forward in the league, carrying an ailing Adamson University Soaring Falcons squad on his shoulders. But based on this game, Nico Salva may have something to say about that title.
Salva scored 12 of his 24 points in a crucial fourth quarter performance to help lift the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles over Adamson, 79-72, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday, in the 75th season of the UAAP.
“[The loss against UE] reminds us that we aren’t there yet. We have to continue working, to continue pushing,” said Salva, who had been mired in a second-round scoring slump prior to this game.
After the win, the Blue Eagles now hold a 10-2 win-loss record, a game ahead of the UST Growling Tigers, with two matches left to play, including the elimination-round capper against that same team. Adamson on the other hand, had been booted out of Final Four contention even before this encounter, but they wound up slumping to a 2-10 card.
The 6’4” Salva hit a jumper at the three-minute mark to snare the lead for good for Ateneo, which tailed Camson’s Soaring Falcons for most of the game. That jumper made it 72-71, and signaled the end for Adamson, as the Falcons went without a field goal in the final 3:51 of the game.
Two charities by Kiefer Ravena made it a three-point game, until a split at the foul line by Roider Cabrera got it back down to two, 74-72. Ravena made a split of his own at the stripe, before he and Salva scored on consecutive drives to arrange the final tally.
Coach Leo Austria and his Falcons led until the third quarter, 59-55, owing to an efficient showing from three-point range. Adamson scattered eight triples in three quarters, with Camson, who had 24 points of his own, making half of the total from three-point land.
Roider Cabrera hit back-to-back triples to steal Ateneo’s lead early in the third quarter, making it 49-46 with 6:04 remaining on the clock. The Blue Eagles had trouble finding a steady offensive rhythm as Adamson kept their perimeter players in control. ADMU stole the lead for a brief moment late in the quarter, but more three’s from Cabrera and Ryan Monteclaro retrieved their advantage, 59-55, headed into the final period.
Come the fourth quarter, Ateneo did a better job of finding the open man in half court sets and on the break. The Eagles delivered 19 assists all-in-all to dismantle the Adamson Falcons defense.
“We go back to the last game, we actually had good looks against UE, but we didn’t make them. [This time] execution was quite good. Passing was much better, players were sharing the ball,” said coach Norman Black, contrasting this game with Ateneo’s loss last Thursday.
The Falcons distanced themselves early, going on a 13-8 spurt before Norman Black was prompted to call for time. Ateneo raced within a point late in the first quarter after Ravena flipped the ball in after a fast break possession, 22-21, but Camson responded with a three to keep them apart, 25-21.
Adamson confused Ateneo’s defense by playing an inside-outside game anchored on Camson, who utilized both his post-up and outside game, giving Nico Salva and other defenders fits. Camson finished with 10 points in the first quarter, going 3-of-4 from long range.
Camson continued his shooting barrage, scoring five points in five second quarter minutes for the Falcons as the Blue Eagle defenders still had a hard time defining their defense. Other players like Allen Etrone and Rodney Brondial kept them honest with their own jumpers, forcing coach Black to call for time at the five-minute mark, still trailing 34-28.
The Blue Eagles leveled the game at 38-all by the half, closing the first twenty minutes on a 10-4 run. After lay-ups by Brondial and Ryan Monteclaro, the Katipunan-based squad relied on reserve guard Nico Elorde to level the playing field, as the former La Salle Green Archer dropped five quick points. Two missed free throws by Ravena, however meant they had to settle for a tie entering the intermission.
The Falcon frontline managed only eight rebounds by the half, as Ateneo had the clear edge, with 17 rebounds. Adamson however capitalized on Ateneo’s clouded passing, making 10 points off 12 turnovers.
Camson and Salva were engaged in a shoot-out the entire game, with Camson having the upper hand in the first half. Camson already had 16 points after the first half, while Salva had 10. When the dust settled, Salva finished with 24 points, matching his career-high, while Camson scored 26, to establish a new best mark.
Salva, a former San Beda Red Cub, made 11 out of 14 field goal attempts to constitute almost a quarter of his team’s points. His stat line read 24 points, four rebounds, and four assists.
Ateneo had three other players in double figures. Greg Slaughter posted an imposing 16 points and 12 rebounds on 8-of-12 shooting, Kiefer Ravena added 15 markers and three swipes, while Nico Elorde came off the bench to pour in 10.
Rizal Technological University-transferee Jericho Cruz added 14 points in support of Camson, along with five assists, while Roider Cabrera chimed in with 10 markers.
Still, the win didn't come without a cost as Ateneo reserve forward JP Erram was hurt after taking a hard fall at the end of the third quarter. As of writing, the status of his injury was not yet known, but he did not play the rest of the game after being taken out. - AMD/OMG, GMA News
ADMU 79 – Salva 24, Slaughter 16, Ravena 15, Elorde 10, Chua 6, Tiongson 3, Buenafe 3, Sumalinog 1, Erram 1, Gonzaga 0, Golla 0
ADU 72 – Camson 26, Cruz 14, Cabrera 10, Brondial 8, Monteclaro 8, Rios 4, Etrone 2, Trollano 0, Petilos 0, Agustin 0
Quarter scoring: 21-25, 38-38, 55-59, 79-72
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