Ateneo-Philippines avoids another loss, nips Japan in Jones Cup


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MANILA, Philippines – Ateneo De Manila University is now back on the winning track as the Blue Eagles clawed Team Japan, 80-74 on Wednesday, July 18, 2018 at the Xinzhuang Gymnasium in New Taipei City.

Thirdy Ravena Jones Cup 2018
So far so good. Thirdy Ravena has been consistent in this tournament and made some big plays and huge defensive stops in a win against Japan | Photo Credit: Chinese Taipei Basketball Association

Ateneo-Philippines might be coming from a two-consecutive losses. One from South Korea and one against the defending champions, Team Canada. Despite those heartbreaks, the Blue Eagles are confident more than ever in this tournament as they almost brought the champs down.

SEE ALSO: Ateneo-Philippines in Jones Cup 2018: Livestream, schedule, result and standing

It was more of a balance team scoring for the Blue Eagles in this game. They led Japan too early and sustained the advantage all throughout even though Thirdy Ravena and Matt Nieto, Philippines leading scorers, spent most of their time on the bench.

The discrepancy in turnovers was also one of the key factors why Philippines had the edge over Japan. The Filipinos were able to convert majority of the loose balls into fast break points that served as their bread and butter.

The Japanese are just the same height and as quick as the Filipinos. Comparing to Blue Eagles’ last 2 games where they made a living from the three point territory, this game became a transition offense showdown between the two squads as the players leveraged on their agility.

The transition offense duel however, favored the Japanese as they were able to cut the lead of the Blue Eagles to just 5 from as high as a dozen. Coach Tab Baldwin made a quick adjustment as he switched to back door and pick-and-roll plays.

Coach Baldwin’s quick fix to his team’s plays paid bigtime as they reinstated their double-digit lead and forced team Japan to call some mandatory timeouts.

If there was one thing that Philippines had the ultimate edge over Japan, that would be Angelo Kouame’s hefty and lengthy size. The shaded lane got too clogged for Japan due to Kouame’s inside presence that made its players took their shots from the outside.

The Blue Eagles relied heavily on Kouame’s defense in the shaded area that they almost forgot how deadly the Japanese are from the rainbow arc. That lapse firedback as team Japan took the lead under a quarter to go.

Thirdy Ravena and Gian Mamuyac stepped-up in the latter phase of the final canto to bring the lead back to their side and to ensure that they’re not going to lose three-in-a-row. Ravena made some good defensive stops while Mamuyac made the crucial baskets.

Team Japan had its chances to tie the game but missed those golden opportunities and let Philippines savored its 2nd win at William Jones Cup tournament, 80-74.


Ateneo-Philippines improved its record to 2-2 and will face team Indonesia tomorrow, July 19, 2018 at 1 PM.

— Joey Boy Capos, The Summit Express


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