UST is the first fourth seed to play in the UAAP Finals!

September 28, 2013 by  

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I got to hand it to my UST Growling Tigers. The NU Bulldogs played tough but in the end, their championship savvy prevailed over the top seeds.

UST is the first team in the Final Four era to beat the top seeds.

Pido Jarencio cried and the game wasn’t even over yet. When he realized the feat he just accomplished, seeing him with that reaction is almost inevitable. After all, Jarencio almost relinquished his duties after the 2012 UAAP Finals loss. Against the Ateneo Blue Eagles, the Tigers succumbed to one mental lapse after another mental lapse. With a virtually intact lineup (losing Jeric Fortuna and Melo Afuang) and with the expiry date set on Jeric Teng and Clark Bautista, Pido Jarencio will stop at nothing but to give his boys a big time finish.

Well played sir. Well played.

With Bobby Ray Parks moving like a madman and NU wanting to break their almost half-a-century drought should have been the story here. The last time the NU Bulldogs won was in 1954. To give you a heads up on how long this drought has been, Ramon Fernandez is born on October 3, 1953.

Yes… it has been THAT long.

But the thing is – there’s another story worth mentioning… and that is the rivalry between Jeric Teng and his brother Jeron Teng. The elder spawn of Alvin “The Robocop” Teng has stated that his motivation to succeed is to play his last game in the UAAP against his brother. While we expect the trash talk to unload in the Teng household, it is evident that there is something UST that NU doesn’t.

Now don’t get me wrong. I was actually shocked on how good the other NU players are. Sad to say I haven’t seen a lot of NU basketball lately and the only time I saw one of their games was when Jeric Teng got trampled by a rampaging Jeff Javillonar. Dennice Villamor is a streaky shooter, Gelo Alolino will continue to shine and Nico Javelona deserves more playing time.

But as mentioned, NU has been in the bottom end of the UAAP hierarchy for almost like… forever. Even the time when Danny Ildefonso and Lordy Tugade ran the show they just can’t buy any wins. Even the Harbour Centre duo of Edwin Asoro and Jonathan Fernandez couldn’t stop the Bulldogs’ Final Four famine! NU had one trip prior to this season and the hardworking roster led by Froilan Baguion and Jefferson Napa finished fourth – no thanks to Renren Ritualo, Mike Cortez, Macmac Cardona, Joseph Yeo, BJ Manalo, Adonis Sta. Maria, Carlo Sharma, Manny Ramos, Willy Wilson, and the rest of the top-seeded DLSU Green Archers of 2001.

In the last three minutes of the NU-UST game, it was evident that the Bulldogs don’t have any experience on those big game moments. Even Parks, a notably calm performer, got too excited during a fast break moment and his pass to Villamor wandered in the sidelines. Then there’s the ill-advised decision-making of Alolino, the big shots of Kevin Ferrer, Aljon Mariano, Sheak Sheriff, and Karim Abdul, and the silence of Parks. Parks was almost unheard of in the dying seconds that the most significant moment we got called by his attention was when he got hurdled with cramps.

And that pretty much was the white flag of the Bulldogs.

Eric Altamirano has been awesome in instilling a winning tradition to the Bulldogs and it’s only a matter of time before they get to the Finals.

But now I’m going to talk about my Tigers.

I can still remember Clark Bautista from last year’s debacle and while I will cheer on every triple he detonates, this Sheriff kid is a nice addition. While the only thing I hate about him is he looks scared to shoot an outside shot (reminded me of Japs Cuan) but Abdul’s mini-me played that game with all heart. Meanwhile Ferrer’s dagger bombs were awesome and even if with Mariano’s offensive struggles, Aljon Mariano unearthed the damage when it mattered. Jeric Teng exploded in the third canto and while he barely saw action in the decision quarter, his heroics paved the way for his teammates’ own awesomeness.

And while we have expected Abdul to take down all NU comers, the significant support made by Paolo Pe must never be forgotten.

Like the Tigers, the Archers defeated the FEU Tamaraws in their own post-elimination round battle to reach the Finals. This should be a good one.


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