Ateneo’s demolition of Far Eastern University last Wednesday seems to be an indication that the Blue Eagles have completely regained the form that made them win five straight UAAP championships.
Doomsayers were beginning to proclaim the end of the dynasty early in the season when Ateneo began with a 0-3 record that was compounded with the ankle injury of star guard Kiefer Ravena.
But the listless start has become a thing of the past as the Katipunan-based squad won six of its next seven games, including the last five outings to gain an inside track in the Final Four race.
The 92-73 rout of the league-leading Tamaraws, in a performance that was a considered as a statement game, brought the Eagles into a tie for third place with archrival La Salle at 6-4.
“I told the guys during halftime that it’s not about the lead (against FEU), but it’s the necessity to win and I think they have responded well,” said coach Bo Perasol, who survived an inauspicious start to his first season as Norman Black’s successor.
One of the main reasons for Ateneo’s success has been the superb play of Ravena. Now healthy, the former Rookie of the Year is averaging 15.6 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.4 steals during the five-game winning streak.
His climb back to top form has rubbed off to the rest of the Eagles, with starters Chris Newsome, Ryan Buenafe and Juami Tiongson maintaining their consistent plays. (Jonas Terrado)