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Junior Archers force Game 3

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Jr. Archers stop Ravena, level series
By Alder T. Almo of UAAPSports.com

MANILA — Ateneo coach Jamike Jarin was right when he guaranteed that his ward, Raphael Banal, will explode in Game Two. However, he did not expect that his Game One hero, Kiefer Ravena, will play below par.

With this turn of events, the De La Salle Zobel Junior Archers leveled the series in the 72nd UAAP juniors basketball finals with a 57-53 win over Ateneo at the FilOil Flying V Arena.

Using an unwavering defense against Ravena, who was unstoppable with 33 points last Saturday, the Junior Archers kept the game close and made their move in the endgame.

Junior Archer Nico Elorde contained the bigger Ravena, limiting him this time to just six markers on an atrocious 1-of-18 shooting from the field.

Fil-German center Arnold Van Opstal of De La Salle Zobel (DLSZ) tied the contest at 53-all in the final quarter, and his teammates Raphael Herrera and Gwynne Capacio forced the Eagles into a deciding Game Three by making the marginal points at the stripes.

Banal lived up to Jarin’s expectation with 19 points, but Ravena’s lackluster performance led to Ateneo’s downfall.

Banal, son of former Eagles coach Joel, added 3 boards and 2 assists. He scored only six in Game One.

The Junior Archers were led by Capacio, who was cheered on by his dad, FEU Tamaraws coach Glenn, with 19 points and seven rebounds.

The 6’7” Van Opstal, who is in his last year for the Junior Archers, added 10 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks.

“I don’t think Kiefer (Ravena) can beat us all by himself. It was always about team defense,” said DLSZ coach Boris Aldeguer.

Elorde, who sacrificed his offense, scoring only nine, underscored his matchup against Ravena in the Junior Archers’ victory.

“Hindi lang ‘to about sa matchup namin ni Kiefer. Basta para sa team, gagawin ko ang lahat,” said Elorde, who is slowly emerging from the shadows of his grandfather, the Philippines’ legendary boxer, Gabriel “Flash” Elorde.

Aldeguer said he looks forward to steering the Junior Archers to their third title since taking over in 2004.

The Junior Archers and the Eaglets will meet for the championship match on Thursday at 11:30 a.m. at the Araneta Coliseum.

The Scores:

DLSZ 57 – Gwyne Capacio 19, Van Opstal 10, Elorde 9, Dela Paz 7, Herrera 6, Sevilla 4, Fortuna 2, Roxas 0, Park 0.

ADMU 53 – Banal 19, Bugarin 11, Ravena 6, Pessumal 4, Pe 4, Tim Capacio 4, Reyes 3, Romero 2, Tenorio 0, Sinco 0, Erazo 0, Dumrique 0, Alonte 0.

Quarters: 8-12, 23-32, 41-45, 57-53