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Nieto, Ravena late spurt falls short against reigning champs Canada

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By Mark Patriarca

Time was not on the side of Ateneo Blue Eagles as their 2nd half scoring spurt was not enough to score an upset against last year’s champion Canada, 86-78, in the 2018 William Jones Cup, at the Xinzhuang Gymnasium in New Taipei City, Taiwan.

Ateneo Pilipinas was down 41-14 in the first half, but Filipinos are not known to back down from adversity. They clawed back their way to erase the 27-point deficit and provide a scare against the powerhouse Canadian squad.

It almost looks like Ateneo was dispirited coming into the second half trailing by a double dozen points, 51-27. But a surging Matt Nieto and Thirdy Ravena caught fire in the second half to keep Ateneo in contention.

In the 4th, Ateneo is still down with a more manageable lead, 68-54, when Thirdy and Nieto provided the needed spark for the collegiate squad.

They were able to bring it out to just six points, 84-78, but with 39 seconds on the clock, it was almost certain that Ateneo is destined to lose the game.

Matt Nieto scored 18 big points on 6-of-11 shooting clip, while Thirdy Ravena posted 12 points and nine boards.

The road doesn’t get any easier for them as they face Japan next, July 18, 5 p.m. as they try to bounce back from two consecutive losses.