Ateneo and San Beda are still unbeaten as they survived breathtaking matches in the 2013 FilOil Flying V Pre-season cup yesterday which was held at San Juan Arena.
San Beda toppled the JRU Heavy Bombers,67-55, Ola Adeogun and Rome Dela Rosa combined for 30 points for the Mendiola squad to keep
their place on top. Bombers leading scorer Paolo Pontejos, a former Red Lion, surprised his former team as he exploded 18 points. Help came from newbie Marco Balagtas, who tallied 12 points for the Bombers.
Another unbeaten team, the Ateneo Blue Eagles were able to maintain their record as they vanquished the hopes of San Sebastian Golden Stags, 75-70. Kiefer Ravena and his partner in crime, Chris Newsome, frustrated the Stags with the duo’s play.
UE scored their first win under their new head coach Zamar, they thrashed SWU Cobras, 81-62.
A triple-header beckons for basketball fans this weekend, with the seventh season of the FilOil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup opening on April 13 at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan. Defending champions National University will face the reigning NCAA champions San Beda to kick off the action at 2pm. UAAP losing finalist University of Santo Tomas faces La Salle at 4pm, while closing out the tripleheader at 6pm is guest team Southwestern University facing the reigning UAAP champions Ateneo. NU won't have Jul-Ashri Ignacio, Ajeet Singh and Henri Betayene (who will miss the upcoming UAAP season due to a knee injury), but will have newcomers JJ Alejandro and Alred Arogo to fill the gaps. The Bulldogs of Coach E will still have the two-time MVP Rayray Parks to lead them. For San Beda, they will have a new coach, as Ronnie Magsanoc was replaced by Boyet Fernandez, who handles the NLEX Road Warriors in the PBA D-League. The Red Lions will have the Semerad twins back after missing last season due to a failed attempt to transfer to Ateneo. The two will attempt to provide experience and depth with the graduation of Jake Pascual, Anjo Caram and Melo Lim. The 2nd game will feature a Green Archer team seeking to reclaim recent glory, with the acquisition of St. John's Institute of Bacolod standout Kib Montalbo joining forces with the likes of Jeron Teng and Norbert Torres. Meanwhile, the Growling Tigers virtually will retain the same core that went toe-to-toe against Ateneo in the UAAP Finals. The last match in the tripleheader will feature an Ateneo team preparing for the virtually unprecedented attempt to secure their sixth straight UAAP crown. Losing Norman Black and a set core of veterans in Greg Slaughter, Justin Chua, Nico Salva, Oping Sumalinog and Tonino Gonzaga, it will be up to Ryan Buenafe, Kiefer Ravena, Juami Tiongson and new head coach Bo Perasol to keep that title run going. They will face the CESAFI champions, whom they previously have faced in the 2012 PCCL Final Four. The Cobras won't have Ben Mbala, as the big man has since transferred to La Salle, but they will have a 6'10" center Siewe Armel to fill in those big shoes. The Premier Cup will have a juniors division, with twelve teams (Group A: LSGH, Letran, NU, UST, San Beda, UP; Group B: Arellano, Ateneo, DLSZ, FEU-FERN, Mapua, San Sebastian) taking part. They open play on April 17, with UST against Letran. Another new wrinkle in the Premier Cup will be the debut of the women's division. Ten teams (Adamson, Ateneo, CEU, CSB, La Salle, FEU, Lyceum, NU, UP and UST) will participate in the inaugural edition, which will also kick off with UST against FEU on April 17.
Divisional Champions were revealed this past weekend, as the 30th season of the
SeaOil Metro Manila Basketball League came to a close at the San Beda College Gym in
On Saturday, Faith Academy secured the MMBL Division II crown 83-79 against Xavier’s
Team B. Neil De Cleene led the way with 21 points, Luka Van Opstal had a
double-double with 11 points and 14 rebounds and graduating senior TJ Hardemann
finished with 18 points, while leading the way for Xavier was Tyler Tio, who scored
a game-high 35. The Vanguards win their 2nd title in the last three years.
On Sunday, Hope Christian High School added the MMBL Division I title by beating the
San Beda Red Cubs, 93-87. The Tiong Lian side relied on Clint Doliguez and his 46
points to secure the win over the NCAA Juniors Champions. They already earned a
title late last year with the inaugural Philippine Secondary Schools Basketball
Championship by beating the NCAA runners-up San Sebastian Staglets.
San Beda finished the day 0-for-3, as their C and D-squads lost their respective
finals matchups as well. The Colegio de San Benildo Blazing Wolves defeated San Beda
C, 77-64 to take the Division III crown. Under-16 prospect Jordan Sta. Ana led the
way with 24 points, as skipper Gabby Alvendia had difficulty against San Beda big
man Vince Saquian. Jayson Cervantes scored nine points in the final four minutes for
the Christian Coronel-coached side.
Meanwhile, Team D went down against National University’s Team C, 80-58 in the
Division IV final. A 23-9 fourth quarter outburst by the Bullpups sealed the Red
Cubs’ fate. Oliver de Guzman scored 12 of his 18 in the final canto to lead his
team, with Karl Peñano and Paul Pujante each adding 13. Shawn Velarde scored 23
points and John Mark Lagumen added 20 for San Beda.
According to the MMBL’s Ato Badolato, San Beda coming out empty-handed this year
meant that the competition has improved, thanks to better coaching and training of
fundamentals. It also encourages the growth of the league, knowing that domination
by the NCAA powerhouse is not a guarantee.
Familiar names dominate the different divisions of the 30th season of the SeaOil Metro Manila Basketball League (MMBL)
Familiar names dominate the different divisions of the 30th season of the SeaOil Metro Manila Basketball League (MMBL), led by perennial high school powerhouse San Beda.
The NCAA juniors champions under Britt Reroma own a 6-0 record in Division I-A, while the UAAP juniors champions Far Eastern University is in second place with a 5-2 record, a game ahead of Chiang Kai Shek.
Division I-B is the only division in the MMBL where its teams tote a blemish on their record, with Hope Christian High School and National University share the lead with a 4-1 record. A half-game back is Xavier with a 3-1 record.
Hope Christian High School ended the year toting two trophies that will certainly boost their confidence for the 2nd half of the MMBL season, recently bagging the juniors’ division of the Fr. Martin’s tournament, as well as winning the first-ever Philippine Secondary Schools Basketball Championship (PSSBC) last month against the San Sebastian College-Recoletos in The Arena in San Juan.
Meanwhile, the B-squads of San Beda, NU and the University of Santo Tomas lord over Division II. The Red Cubs own a 7-0 record, which leads Division II-A, with the Bullpups a game back with a 6-1 record. The Tiger Cubs lead Division II-B with a 6-0 record, followed by Xavier’s B-team with a 3-1 record.
It had been announced late last year that the MMBL’s champions for Division II will join the top three teams of Division I as NCR’s representatives for the NBTC National High School Championships, or more familiarly known as the Elite League.
Completing the cast of division leaders are College of San Benildo-Rizal (Division III-A), San Beda College-Alabang (Division III-B), National University’s Team C (IV-A) and Xavier’s Team B (IV-B).
In the inagural girls division, Chiang Kai Shek owns a 7-0 record, with La Salle-Zobel in second with a 5-1 win-loss slate.
The MMBL matches will resume this month at these venues: San Beda College, International School-Manila, St. Stephen’s High School and the PhilSports Arena.
The standings as of January 3, 2013:
San Beda College-A 6-0
Far Eastern University-FERN A 5-2
Chiang Kai Shek College-A 4-3
Colegio San Juan de Letran 3-2
De La Salle Zobel-A 3-2
Our Lady of Fatima University 1-3
University of Santo Tomas A 1-3-1
Adamson University 0-7
Hope Christian High School 4-1
National University 4-1
Ateneo High School 2-2
San Sebastian College Recoletos 2-3
Malayan Institute of Technology 1-4
University of the Philippines Integrated School 0-4
San Beda College-B 7-0
National University-B 6-1
Faith Academy-A 3-2
De La Salle Zobel-B 3-4
Far Eastern University-FERN B 2-4
Arellano University 1-2-1
Chiang Kai Shek College-B 1-4
Uno High School 0-5
University of Santo Tomas-B 6-0
San Sebastian College Recoletos-B 3-2
Emilio Aguinaldo College 2-2
St. Stephen’s High School-A 2-3-1
International School Manila-A 2-3
Kings Montessori School 0-6
College of San Benildo-Rizal 7-0
San Beda College-C 5-1
Escuela de Sofia of Caloocan 4-1
St. Jude Catholic School 2-4-1
Trinity University of Asia 1-4
Southridge School-A 1-5
Gymnazo Christian School 0-6
San Beda College Alabang-A 7-0
Colegio de San Agustin-Biñan 4-1
Reedley International School 4-2
Lourdes School of Mandaluyong 3-2
St. Andrew’s School 3-3
International School Manila-B 2-4
Southridge School-B 0-3-2
Australian International School 0-6
National University-C 7-0
Chiang Kai Shek College-S 4-2
La Consolacion College-Manila 3-4
Southridge School-C 2-5
Dominican College Sta. Rosa 1-4-1
St. Stephen’s High School-B 0-7
Xavier School 6-0
La Salle College-Antipolo 5-1
San Beda College-D 5-1
St. James Academy 4-2
The Seed Montessori School 2-4
Faith Academy B 2-5
Our Lady’s Angels School 0-6
Quezon City Science High School 0-5
Chiang Kai Shek College- 7-0
De La Salle Zobel 5-1
La Salle College-Antipolo 4-2
Uno High School 3-3
Faith Academy 2-4
Casimiro Ynares Memorial School 1-3
St. Jude Catholic School 1-6
Hope Christian High School 0-4
The Metro Manila Basketball League turns thirty this year, and will celebrate its anniversary with a kickoff of its tournament on November 10 at the Ynares Center in Pasig.
Now known as the Seaoil Metro Manila Basketball League (MMBL) thanks to its tie-up with the Filipino independent petroleum firm, it is one of the longest running high school basketball tournaments in the country.
Formed by the legendary coach Ato Badolato of San Beda HS, the MMBL served as a means for high school basketball players to play on after their own respective league conclude in October, like the NCAA or the UAAP. Some of the players that have played in this league include current San Beda College assistant coach Benjie Paras, UAAP basketball analyst Kirk Long and current collegiate standouts Kiefer Ravena and Kevin Alas.
From the original seven, eight or nine teams that heralded the league in its early years, the MMBL has now grown into a massive collection of schools, with 70 teams overall. 62 of those 70 are entered for the boys, with the competitive field spread out into four divisions. They also have eight schools for the newly-created girls division.
The divisional concept had been developed after schools backed out when they learn that powerhouse schools like San Beda, Ateneo or La Salle were participating. It also served as a opportunity for players from lesser known-schools to be seen by coaches and recruiters for the different collegiate leagues.
Kirk credits participating in the league as to how Norman Black discovered him back when he was still playing for Faith Academy. His father, Jeff, served as Faith Academy’s athletic director and brought him around the games, where he had seen Yancy and Ranidel de Ocampo dominate back then as standouts for St. Francis of Assisi. The MMBL also is where the newly-minted TNT head coach discovered then-Chiang Kai Shek standout Justin Chua. The big man not long after became part of all five UAAP title teams under Black’s regime.
Kiefer and Kevin both noted the importance of the MMBL in improving their games, noting that the league serves as a “stepping stone” to the next level and an opportunity to step up for those who normally would not receive the necessary playing time with their mother league/s.
For its 30th anniversary, the MMBL has tied up with the National Basketball Training Center (NBTC) to serve as the NCR wing for the NBTC National High School Championships, a.k.a. the Elite League. The top three teams in Division I as well as the champion of Division II get the slots allotted to Metro Manila in the competition, which also has slots for teams in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
The kick-off will be at Ynares Arena in Pasig, but games will also be played at other venues, like the PhilSports Arena, St. Placid’s Gym in San Beda and St. Stephen’s High School.
Participating high schools include Adamson University, Chiang Kai Shek College, Colegio de San Juan de Letran, De La Salle Zobel, Far Eastern University-FERN, Our Lady of Fatima University, San Beda College, University of Santo Tomas, Arellano University, Faith Academy, National University, UNO High School, College of San Benildo Rizal, Escuela de So?a of Caloocan, Southridge School, St. Jude Catholic School, Trinity University of Asia, Gymnazo Christian School, La Consolacion College
Manila, Dominican College Sta. Rosa, Espiritu Santo Catholic School, San Beda College Alabang, St. Stephen’s High School, Casimiro Ynares Memorial School, Hope Academy, Ateneo de Manila University, Hope Christian High School, Malayan Institute of Technology, University of the Philippines Integrated School, Xavier School, Emilio Aguinaldo College, International School Manila, Kings Montessori School,
Australian International School, Armanda College, Colegio San Agustin Biñan, Lourdes School of Mandaluyong, St. Andrew’s School, La Salle College Antipolo, Our Lady’s Angels School, Quezon City Science High School, St. James Academy, and The Seed Montessori School.
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Just like in the UAAP, there is a Dominican team in the NCAA Finals.
Just like in the UAAP, there is a MVP-backed team in the NCAA Finals.
And just like in the UAAP, the MVP-backed team will whoop ass on the Dominican team and will finish the series with a nerve-racking Game Two win.
Oh hell no!
Despite the current slump of Kevin Alas and the overexcitedness of his dad, Stone Cold Steve Austin (aka Louie Alas’ Undertaker/Steve Austin hand gestures), the Letran Knights have made this a series against the dynasty-seeking San Beda Red Lions.
Welcome to my play-by-play of this season’s climax! For those who watched this live… good for you. But for the guys who failed to see it and the its repercussions in the future, this is your chance!
Who will take their 17th crown?
Game starts now!
The atmosphere in the Smart-Araneta Coliseum is awesome. Ola Adeogun had the loudest cheer for SBC while Kevin Alas had it for Letran.
First quarter is underway. Baser Amer scores the first basket and then Anjo Caram steals the ball en route to a shot. And then my fiance called me on the cellphone and all I see randomly was an Adeogun alley-oop and a Kevin Alas’ floater. The Lions are up 7 to 5. Ola makes it a four-point lead after an offensive board putback. Aljo Caram looks and plays like Borgie Hermida and drains a triple. This is looks like a kid even if this is his final year of eligibility.
Ryan Gregorio is so enthusiastic!
12 to 5 San Beda!
Caram steals the ball and fortunately for Letran, Ola gets slapped with an offensive foul. Kevin Alas is on a tear right now dwindling the SBC lead to five. Raymond Almazan fouls Ola… and the big guy sinks both.
Timeout! Beda still leads 14 to 7.
By the way, a sucky stat here. Kevin Alas is the only player that has scored for the Knights. Sorry misses from the Knights and thankfully it didn’t translate into points. But Amer says otherwise with a triple to extend the lead to 17 to 7 with less than three minutes to go in the first. An Almazan drive gives Ola his second foul. The free throws are killing Letran but Almazan thankfully makes the second shot. Beda leads 17 to 8. Letran was forced to a bad play but Beda messed up on their own with a minute left. Kevin Racal and Raymond Almazan combined for four of the five shots via offensive rebounds but to no avail. Arthur Dela Cruz splits his charities to make it 18 to 8. Almazan finished the quarter strong by taking an offensive rebound en route to a footback and then sending away a San Beda shot.
Quarter one is over with San Beda leading Letran, 18 to 10.
Anjo Caram starts the second salvo with jump shot. Meanwhile, Mark Cruz was called for a ward. San Beda is up 20 to 10… and Caram’s nine points makes it 22 to 10 via a floater. Wow! Baser Amer nails an almost fast break three! This is the highest lead so far with 24 to 10 and it forces Letran to call a timeout.
Kevin Racal nails one of his two free throws to send the game to a 24-11 visual. Baser Amer gets a foul and makes both free throws to make it 26 to 11 in favor of Beda. Now it’s 28 to 11 thanks to Jake Pascual’s hit. Kevin Alas finally breaks their five minute field goal drought and then Jam Cortes gets a rare fast break opportunity to force Ronnie Magsanoc to a timeout with the Lions still leading 28 to 15.
By the way, Ai Dela Cruz has a nice voice while Rizza Diaz sounds like she’s shouting.
A Sudan Daniel sighting. Where’s Sam Ekwe?
Wow! Seconds after Adeogun entered, he was called for his third foul and Mark Cruz loves this development as he successfully drove to the basket. And then Letran forced San Beda to a possession violation. Kevin Alas gets a steal but missed a floater. They are getting the opportunities but they need to work on their shot selections. Letran calls a timeout and they are behind, 28 to 17.
Almost 18,000 people are in Araneta right now. The Reds and Blues are making this game highly enjoyable. Cortes starts the timeout play with a turnover and Jake Pascual smacks a jump shot to make the lead 13. Almazan made an adorable play to no avail but on the other side, Jake Pascual made another basket to make the lead 32 to 17. And then Ryusei Koga storms the other side and hits the and one play but missed the and one play…. and the other play after that.
It’s halftime and the pro-Beda crowd is loving the action with their boys up by 17 – 34 to 17.
Anjo Caram is the half’s best player with 9 points and 5 rebounds.
Mark Cruz starts the quarter with two back-to-back hits. Letran is now down with 13 points. Mark Cruz then drops the dime to Jam Cortes. The lead goes down to eleven, 34 to 23. Timeout by San Beda. Hopefully this Letran run leads to a better match.
Jake Pascual stops the bleeding for the Lions with a leaner. A loose ball play sent Kevin Alas to the sidelines and shows a grittier side of their defense but Jake Pascual somewhat scores in a gimme that made Kevin Alas seriously pissed at his teammates. Kevin Racal scores in a jumper but Anjo Caram continues to shoot the lights off Araneta with a booming triple. Letran takes a timeout with a 41 to 25 deficit.
Jake Pascual already 8 points and 7 rebounds.
Arthur Dela Cruz mades up with the air ball by stealing Kevin Alas’ pass. Letran is struggling because they can’t mesh properly. Jonathan Belorio made a sorry play by fumbling a gimme because he travelled. Almazan then blocks a shot but on the other end, Alas and Cortes missed the baskets. Meanwhile Ryusei Koga puts in a baseline drive to send the lead to 43 to 25.
Who needs Ola at this point?
Almazan swats another shot – this time it’s Amer’s. Kyle Pascual missed the putback but the second chances are with the Lions. Jaypee Mendoza gets on the scoring fray thanks to a Jake Pascual handoff.
And this ends the third quarter.
25 points at the start of the fourth quarter? It’s not even a worthy second quarter stat!
Baser Amer continues with his charge by giving San Beda a 22-point lead, 47 to 25. With the way Letran is playing, this is the proverbial nail in the coffin. Kyle Pascual then makes a thunderous putback to make it 49 to 25! Anjo Caram gets fouled en route to the basket and he will have the chance to double Letran’s output.
He does when he splits his charities.
Sorry Letranites but this is NOT the game that I wanted to see.
Jam Cortes gets fouled and he makes both free throws. Ola Adeogun returns to the game… as if he’s needed. Him sitting out is the only good thing Letran did all game long. Ola then passes it to Rome Dela Rosa for an uncontested fast break. Caram wants to give it again to Dela Rosa but then he gets fouled. Letran calls for a timeout. Lead is 52 to 27.
Coming off the timeout, Dela Rosa makes both charities to make it 54 to 27. Mark Cruz gives the Knights their fourth point in the quarter and then Ronnie Magsanoc signals a timeout. Beda is dominating with a 54 to 29 lead.
With six minutes to go, Ola Adeogun is the fresh man prying on the disappointed Knights in the offensive rebounding department. A Jake Pascual fast break resulted into a foul and Pascual makes both free throws. Ola badly passes it to Caram after a rebound… and it resulted to a Mark Cruz shot. Then Cruz steals the ball but Kevin Alas can’t sink the ball. Baser Amer then scores a banda triple to make it 59 to 31!
The Reds are up on their feet and an Anjo Caram three doubles the Letran output! A few ticks later, Letran has made it 62 to 33 and Raymond Almazan can’t hit his free throws. Anjo Caram missed one of his free throws to make the lead 63 to 33. Someone in Letran scored to make it 63 to 35. Carlo Lituania scored and Melo Lim is closing the series.
All is Red now… especially with San Beda wearing their championship tees.
And it’s over!
San Beda solidifies their dominance 67 to 39!
San Beda Lions repeats their three-peat and they are now the winningest team in NCAA history! Ronnie Magsanoc highlighted their sacrifices to the top and this I think is a wonderful start on their quest to the top. There is no question that after the Super Six first game leading to their title win, he is a fitting choice to win NCAA Coach of the Year. The Season 88 Most Valuable Player in the Finals is none other than Baser Amer. He is said to be Kiefer Ravena’s counterpart in the NCAA and he played extremely well all conference long.
My hat’s off to San Beda for their dominance but I was expecting a lot from Letran. 67 to 39 is like Beda game against a lowly NCAA college. Still, Letran did shock a lot of people by defeating Calvin Abueva’s and San Sebastian’s monster season. No one saw the Knights defeating the Pinatubo Trio.
I hope the Dominican teams will destroy the MVP-backed teams next season especially since UST will have an easier time defeating MVP’s newest team, the UP Fighting Maroons.
Congratulations to San Beda!
History has been made, as the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles proceeded to do what was perceived to be the unthinkable. By sweeping the postseason, they became the first team to win five straight UAAP Men’s Basketball championships. (Before you raise a howl, yes, the University of the East won seven straight from 1965-71, but in 1967, they shared a championship with the University of Santo Tomas, mainly because both teams’ coaches decided to not reveal their 2nd half starting fives to the officials).
How did Ateneo assert themselves in the Finals? How did they secure the championship in sweeping UST?
Before the Finals, I wrote my thoughts on my own sports blog my own snippets of how the Finals would turn out. It would be a good idea to revisit these and see how things went based from that prism.
1. Baseline action. Look for Pido to do some PnRs with some baseline plays akin to what Gee did with Yutien Andrada on Greg Slaughter during the Final Four, taking advantage of the slow-footed behemoth.
I thought Ateneo did enough defensively to make the necessary adjustments on the baseline. How do I know? Well, I don’t remember really how UST took advantage of it.
2. Juami Tiongson / Nico Elorde on Jeric Fortuna. There is a huge drop on playmaking productivity from Jeric (5.5 assts in 33.8 minutes) to his deputy, streak-shooting Clark Bautista (1.9 assts in 24.2 minutes). It’s up to the point guard tandem to put pressure on him, maybe even force him into foul trouble.
This was very apparent in Game 1, as the Blue Eagle Point Guard Corps shut him down. Jeric shot 1/11 from the field, producing just four points and two assists in a whopping 38 minutes of action. Game 2 was a different story altogether, as he poured in twenty points in what turned out to be his final game as a Growling Tiger. You can probably say he went down fighting, that he went out in a blaze of glory with 20 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists (and zero turnovers) in 35 minutes.
3. 2006 = 2012?. In 2006, Pido had a group of versatile forwards supporting Jervy Cruz. From Allan Evangelista to Dylan Ababou to Mark Canlas to Francis Allera. Can Aljon Mariano, Melo Afuang and Kevin Ferrer be able to live up to being the versatile forwards supporting Karim Abdul?
Melo Afuang was sorely missed in Game 1, as he missed the game due to dengue. He was able to return in time for Game 2, but it was clear he was not at optimum playing capacity. He played 11 minutes in what turned out to be his final game as a Growling Tiger, with three rebounds (all on the offensive end) and an assist and missing his only attempt from the field. Aljon Mariano was crucial in Game 1, trying to match Nico Salva, point-for-point, finishing with 22. But he was effectively shut down in Game 2, shooting 2/10 for just four points. Kevin Ferrer had his hands full trying to be Kiefer Ravena’s main defender, with the Phenom limited to 13 points in Game 1, but he took over in Game 2 with a game-high 22 points. Kevin did manage to get himself to score 13 in Game 1 and 7 in Game 2.
4. Rebounding. Even with Slaughter around, Ateneo has not really shown itself as a team that would dominate the boards (last in offensive boards, partly due to being the best shooting team in the UAAP). With Abdul around and his capability for 20-20 nights visible for the first time since Jervy, being able to keep him in check would be a plus. In addition, UST is the best when it comes to offensive rebounding. Need to box out.
Ateneo overwhelmed UST in Game 1, a +10 edge in rebounds (+4 in offensive end), while in Game 2, they virtually even (47-46), although the Growling Tigers owned the offensive boards, doubling the Blue Eagles 20-10.
5. Poise. Pido prides on his 3 P’s. But does he and the Growling Tigers have the necessary gumption when the situation calls for it? We have seen time and again how the Blue Eagles during this string of success when the chips are down. They have prided on their clutch-ness this season.
Need a basket? Someone from Ateneo will get it for you, whether from Kiefer Ravena slashing through the lane, or a medium-range jumper from Nico Salva, or huge shotgun-cocking three from Juami Tiongson. Need a key rebound, Ryan Buenafe gets the key tip. Or Greg Slaughter using his size to get the ball first. You’d see Ryan Buenafe issue a nifty assist or a issue the pass that eventually becomes a key bucket. That’s how years of championship experience get you ready for these situations, not to mention the collective high basketball IQs of the team, led by Coach Norman Black. This is true, especially on the defensive end. The Growling Tigers committed eleven turnovers, but two were especially costly, a 5-second inbounds violation that doubly hurt because it came off a timeout, and the final play of the game with Tiongson intercepting the Clark Bautista pass to Jeric Fortuna, effectively handing the championship over.
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I wrote this piece at least four hours after the “One Big Baha” in Espana, Manila which means the hurt is somewhat gone and I can’t help but wonder the future for my UST Growling Tigers.
I guess if there’s one person I need to blame, it’s got to be the persons behind the Varsitarian article.
Thomasians were raised respectful and not spiteful and will not point fingers at other communities whose moral issues conflict ours.
My UST Growling Tigers succumbed to the Ateneo Blue Eagles in Game Two of their best-of-three finals showdown, 65 to 62, thus enabling Ateneo’s sweep of the Finals and at the same time scoring a UAAP record of five straight titles. Only the University of the East Red Warriors had more titles with UE winning seven from the 1965-66 to the 1971-72 seasons.
Anyway, the Comeback Cats of Espana crumbled in the end game, no thanks to Karim Abdul’s ankle breaker on himself, Kevin Ferrer’s “statuesque” inbound, and Clark Bautista’s pass to Juami Tiongson.
Honestly when Abdul tripped at the ball, I shouted “benta”. I can’t believe the guy who should have been doing the moves that Jervy Cruz executed en route to the 2006 victory was getting the basket too far from the ring. We have seen this with Marcus Douthit and now we saw it with Abdul… centers should stay inside the paint and leave the dribbling to the point guards and slashers! You can see in Abdul’s eyes that while he can body Greg Slaughter, the fact that Justin Chua and Frank Golla are getting the better of him is terrorizing his psyche. I bet next season he will learn to play aggressive… minus the gigil.
As for Kevin Ferrer… aside from his mental lapse I thought the other four Tigers in the court did a poor job and making their selves open. They were actually just standing in their spots. Throughout the ballgame their fluidity was lacking. That was why the entry of Kim Lo brought harmony to the squad in the first quarter… although Lo saw no action in the second half… or at least that’s how I remember it.
And then there was Clark Bautista’s meltdown. Jeric Fortuna and Jeric Teng maintain grace under pressure for the Tigers and I would rather see any of these two miss… than having Tiongson have his John Havlicek-like moment.
UST was called the Comeback Cats for a reason and more than their clutch plays… they played with a lot of heart and unfortunately it was not enough to topple a fearsome Ateneo squad.
Fortuna, playing his final game in the UAAP, was the only Tiger to hit the double digit mark. Fortuna scored 20 points for the Tigers after hitting just three in the first game. Aljon Mariano can’t buy a basket in Game Two while Jeric Teng found it hard to get the ball in his hands with the Karim Abdul hogged it. Yes Abdul hogged the ball and it disrupted the offensive flow and like in the Smart-Gilas’ games, always giving the ball to Douthit sets up tentativeness followed by total desperation to hit the big baskets. Abdul finished the game with 8 points and 12 rebounds but you have to count the number of baskets he flubbed in the course of the fight.
Meanwhile the Ateneans maintained their poise especially at clutch. Tiongson scored a leaner after the Abdul trip while the Ferrer’s inbound fail resulted to a Jordanesque Kiefer Ravena jump shot. Even if Nico Salva’s 30-point first game was enough to warrant him the Finals MVP award, Ravena even as a marked man still delivered for the Blue Eagles. He made the big second half shots in both series and he made up when Slaughter got flustered from UST’s stifling defense.
There’s this Twitter joke that ever since Ravena got himself circumcised, he has allegedly never lost a championship.
For the rest of the world… it’s the other way around.
And how about Ateneo’s supporting crew! Salva averaged 17 points in the Finals. Nico Elorde, Justin Chua, Frank Golla, and Tonino Gonzaga did well in limited stanzas. And as I mentioned in my first game review, you have to get weary of Ryan Buenafe. He is not the scoring phenom he was in the early stages of his UAAP career but the former NCAA MVP from San Sebastian is a force to be reckoned with in terms of making smart decisions and clutch bombs.
Fortunately for UST and the rest of the UAAP, Slaughter, Salva, Chua, and Norman Black have played their last game in the UAAP. Black will now pursue a PBA career as he tries to ellipse the amazing feat Chot Reyes made as coach of the Talk N Text Tropang Texters. Slaughter and Salva will then try to fill up the gap Calvin Abueva and Chris Hodge left at the NLEX Road Warriors. Slaughter could be the top pick of the 2013 PBA Draft and Black will be a lucky man if he can land Slaughter in the TNT jersey.
Ateneo will have Ravena leading the rest of the old squad as well as the two foreigners that were tapped to fill up the void left by Slaughter in the middle… but things might change following the departure of Ateneo patron Manny V. Pangilinan. Former Powerade coach Bo Perasol was initially tapped by MVP to replace Black as Ateneo coach is said to be on his way to become a UP Fighting Maroon coaching consultant. Also in the rumor mill, Dave and Anthony Semerad, two former San Bedans that transferred in Ateneo, might move back to San Beda.
For UST, things are not much different. Pido Jarencio is on the verge of tapping out as UST mentor to concentrate on his duties with the SMC where he is currently employed as Petron’s assistant coach. Also while UST’s starting unit is virtually intact, there is a reason why Jarencio rotated just eight to ten men. The maturity of his bench mob and the search for Jeric Fortuna’s replacement should be on top of UST priorities.
This would have been a different piece if I wrote this after Game Two. It sucks but I think the better men won today. Ateneo deserved the spot they are in at the moment and no bad referee call can spoil it. I hope Abdul, Teng, Mariano, Ferrer, Bautista, and the rest of the Growling Tigers learned from this championship experience because they will need it in the next season. Hopefully the Comeback Cats will start strong and finish stronger… just like what Norman Black was preaching his boys.
Congratulations Ateneo… for now.
… and VIVA SANTO TOMAS!
Of Advantages and Disadvantages: Reasons For Winning
5 Reasons Why Ateneo Will Win It All on Thursday
1. Nico Salva: This man has made the UAAP Finals his show the past 2 years. After winning last year’s Finals MVP, Salva again showed why he’s money in the postseason by posting a career high against UST. With the Tiger’s insistence on double teaming Slaughter, this has left Salva with a lot of scoring opportunities and he’s made good on that by draining every open jump shot he had. With a game highly dependent on confidence, Salva’s performance has been erratic the past few games before Game 1. But after dropping 30 on a tough UST team, that confidence must be way up there right now. And that right there is bad news for UST.
2. Greg Slaughter: Despite the underwhelming performances put in by Slaughter against LaSalle in the Final Four and UST in Game 1, Slaughter brings intangibles that no other team has. He gives Ateneo and ever present post threat, despite only 5 points in his last game he consistently drew double teams which left Nico Salva open to drop 30 points on the heads of UST. The same couldn’t be said for Karim Abdul whom Slaughter held to a stalemate. Abdul cannot command double teams because Slaughter and the other Ateneo bigs can cover him one on one. Slaughter is also a high rate rebounder and seems to get every miss during the end game. But the biggest advantage is literally his size; no team has an imposing presence on offense and on defense like Greg Slaughter. He doesn’t only block a number of shots but also changes more than he gets credit for. Look for Greg to bounce back in Game 2.
3. Kiefer Ravena: The Phenom deserves his title by carrying his team on his back the past few games. Scoring 28 points to kick out DLSU and hitting for 13 points in the second half (including the dagger in the dying seconds) is no small feat for a college sophomore. His game evokes one of elegance and beauty but burns like an inferno when it comes down to winning time. This guy can create shots out of nowhere, find open teammates even if he isn’t looking and seems to score at will when they need a basket. Short of unstoppable, you can only hope to slow him down. He’s a very good rebounding guard and triggers fast breaks which are usually finished by a Salva lay-up or a Slaughter dunk. These 3 guys will tow Ateneo back to the top on sheer will power.
4. Norman Black: Probably the greatest coach of the modern UAAP era. You cannot question 4 straight championships and a program blooming with talent. One can argue that he has had an easier task because of the talent level of his teams, but as a coach you know that it’s harder to make that talent work together and win a title. 4 rings, don’t complain.
5. 2006: A team with this much pride and championship experience will never let something like 06 happen again. I’m sure Coach Norman is making doubly sure that they now what happened and how it felt after.
X-Factor: Ryan Buenafe: Never leave this guy alone in the last 2 minutes. He’s proven every single time that he can kill you in the clutch. EVERY SINGLE TIME.
Last Thoughts: Ateneo has used experience and championship savvy to get them through their toughest challenges and Thursday will be the same; they are too experienced and too wary of what UST can do to let the Tigers catch them off balance.
5 Reasons Why UST Will Win:
1. Karim Abdul: This guy is the best center in the UAAP. Stats wise, he is way ahead of Greg Slaughter and any other competition. Skill wise, he as a much more diverse skill set; being able to put the ball on the floor, the athleticism to drive around and finish in traffic, an improved mid-range game and the high rate of rebounding and shot blocking makes for a multi-threat nightmare for Ateneo. His defense will be challenged because of Slaughter’s size but he’s proved that he can battle with the giant many times. Look for him to bounce back in Game 2 after an underwhelming performance.
2. Aljon Mariano: A terrific two-way forward, no 4-guy can keep up with him and no 3-guy can deal with his size. UST is at their best when running their offense thru this walking mismatch; he dropped 22-12 and 5 on Ateneo in Game 1. If not for Salva’s 30 points, that game would’ve belonged to Aljon and the rest of the Tigers. This guy can just flat out play basketball. He has the handles of a point guard with the breakdown moves of a scorer in the size of a post guy. This post-perimeter hybrid does not only create scoring opportunities for himself but also for his other teammates. His apparent strength is also the greatest source of his weakness, he cannot guard the more traditional back to the basket guys like Salva in the post. However, his overall skill and talent negates that disadvantage, giving the Tigers’ attack a lot more bite to it.
3. Jeric Teng: Much like Nico Salva, Teng’s game relies a lot on his confidence. 25 points in his first Finals game is not a bad confidence boost. His scoring kept UST in the game until the end (two straight clutch 3’s) and that will carry over unto Game 2 for sure. Even if he’s missed 20 shots in a row, you can bet that this guy is going to take the biggest shots in the end for UST. He’s never afraid to chuck it up there and more often than not, it ends with him whipping out those pistols of his.
4. Pido Jarencio: With his choice comments about the game and the officiating, Coach Jarencio has drawn the ire of the Atenean community. But like the crafty veteran that he is, I’m sure that he’s spinning this right now as motivation for his team to steal Game 2 and maybe the championship. This guy is very confident in his team and in what they can do and as they’ve done all season long, they’re looking to stage the biggest comeback of their careers.
5. 2006: Back in 06, Ateneo won Game 1 in amazing fashion after a close game throughout. This year’s Game 1 was no different. UST is hoping that the script is going to repeat itself, pulling the rug out under Ateneo to steal Game 2 and take their chances in Game 3. 06 was a banner year for UST where they made the Final Four as the last seed and upset the top seed in the Finals. It’s the classic case of Destiny vs. Dynasty.
X-Factor: Progressive Fatigue and Bench Depth: Coach Jarencio has basically used a 7-8 man lineup the whole season with the starters logging in heavy minutes. Will this huge demand take its toll on UST right when they need strength the most? Is Coach Pido willing to dig deep in his bench to give his starters some key minutes off? The lack of apparent bench depth has been UST’s bane this season. Now with Melo Afuang out, they have been forced to play Mariano more (he cramped up at the end of Game 1) and even Ferrer had time as a 4 guy. Afuang may not be a huge contributor stats wise but his presence as a capable backup and his toughness was missed by the Tigers in the last game.
Last Thoughts: UST’s combo of post-perimeter hybrid players in Mariano and Ferrer has given them a distinct advantage in quickness inside and length outside. This was very apparent with Ferrer shutting down Ravena in the first half and Mariano wreaking havoc on Ateneo’s defense. What was most lacking was contributions from seniors Jeric Fortuna and Clark Bautista. With UST’s frontline trying its best to negate Ateneo’s advantage inside, UST wasn’t able to squeeze anything from their two lead guards. With their UAAP careers on the line, Jeric and Tata are sure to bounce back in Game 2.
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First of all…
VIVA SANTO TOMAS!
For my Atenean readers: I have friends in Ateneo. Hell my boss is from Ateneo. But the UAAP Finals is the time of the year where school loyalty is at an all-time high so bear with me! Besides, this is a not-so-biased take of what’s in store for the Tigers and the Blue Eagles in the coming UAAP title showdown.
The 2012 UAAP Final Four came and went.
First of all, I would like to thank the UAAP Board for reversing the rule of UAAP Commish Ato Badolato. If it wasn’t for your meddling, FEU would have been the in the Final Four. I hate the board belittling the commissioner but it resulted to UST’s return to the finals so… I’m good with this.
FEU with the Terrence Romeo / RR Garcia is a team that’s so hard to beat and if the board didn’t reverse their decision, NU would have played DLSU for the right to enter the Final Four AND UST and FEU would have battled for the other twice-to-beat advantage! As expected NU lived and died with Bobby Ray Parks and taking him out of the equation is game death for the Bulldogs.
So here it goes. Two or three games of collegiate hell on earth. The Pontifical Tigers of Espana will battle the… Four-peating Eagles of Katipunan. In the two games these teams fought, the decisions were split. UST shocked everyone in Game 1 and they were on the route to mirror that performance had not for a couple of unfortunate events.
Jeric Fortuna versus Juami Tiongson.
Jeric Teng versus Kiefer Ravena.
Clark Bautista versus Chris Sumalinog.
Kevin Ferrer versus Ryan Buenafe.
Aljon Mariano versus Nico Salva.
Karim Abdul versus Greg Slaughter.
Pido Jarencio versus Norman Black… part two.
The Fireman and the guy from the Burlington Socks Halftime Report (aka Mr. 100) had their first taste of each other (eww) in the 2006 UAAP Finals. UST, barely reaching the Final Four, shocked the odds when they dismantled the UE Red Warriors by winning twice in their twice-to-beat affair. Now the outcome was in fact shady since then-King Warrior Bonbon Custodio was said to be under the influence of a lot of money because he allegedly got bribed (the Final Four series was the last time Custodio would wear the UE colors). However, there was nothing shady with the UST win over Ateneo in the finals – with Dylan Ababou, Khasim Mirza, Japs Cuan, Mark Canlas, Francis Allera, and the immovable Jervy Cruz spoiling the sendoffs of JC Intal, Doug Kramer, Macky Escalona, as well as the plays of Rain or Shine rookie Chris Tiu and GlobalPort slotman Rabeh Al-Hussaini.
This time the Blue Eagles will depart with their long-time coach as well with a couple of Eagle bets led by Salva, Sumalinog, and Justin Chua (Chua needs to have a good PBA D-League if he wants to play in the PBA). I would like to give Black the best swan song available but… 1) It’s my UST we’re talking about here and 2) they already tied UST’s four-peat and I’ll be damned if Coach Jarencio would give Ateneo a five-peat without a fight.
The four-peat that was helped nurtured by Dennis Espino, Bal David, Estong Ballesteros, Edmund Reyes, Patrick Fran, Udoy Belmonte, Siot Tanquingcen, Dale Singson, Henry Ong, Christopher Cantonjos, Angelo Velasco, Gerard Francisco, Chandler Donaldson, and Aric Del Rosario was one of the best things to ever happen in the Espana-based school. Classes were suspended… merrymaking commenced… and in some residence along the Diliman area, it prompted one kid to choose UST as his school… or bust.
That kid is me.
If there’s one player they need to limit, it’s Ryan Buenafe. I know Slaughter, Salva, and Ravena will produce the numbers but anything you get from this guy is special. Buenafe is one of the last links from the Ateneo championships of the distant past where Tiu, Rabeh Al-Hussaini, Nonoy Baclao, Jai Reyes, and others did their thing. Call this guy overweight and controversial according to rumors but he is a streaky scorer as well as a game changer.
And this guy is clutch… extremely clutch.
As for my UST Tigers, they need their outside shots to click. In their second game against Ateneo, the missing piece from their arsenal was Aljon Mariano’s scoring. Mariano is playing like what Chris Camus did in recent memory but the only difference is that he has an outside shot. He is the team’s game changer. Jeric Fortuna is also needs to propel his scoring because Kiefer Ravena is a combo guard that can swing positions. Ravena can duel against Fortuna and Jeric Teng and between the two, Teng needs to show he is not just an offensive player because while Fortuna is savvier on defense… he is a tad smaller than Teng. Kiefer Ravena is such a burden on defense because he knows why to push his luck in terms of attempts and oftentimes he is right on the money. Now unless injuries or foul trouble arise, the battle on the inside between Karim Abdul and Greg Slaughter will be a stalemate and it will be a furious dogfight. Both guys confuse their selves as collegiate versions of Marcus Douthit and both guys will do whatever it takes to test the mettle of each other. Clark Bautista and Kevin Ferrer who played big in limiting Parks 12 points (or 8 below his normal output) are important to the cause as well.
If the two games in the eliminations serve as an indication to what people should expect in this game, then we are in for a treat. Good luck to both teams and hopefully it turns out to be a pretty wicked series.
Oh I almost forgot.
VIVA SANTO TOMAS!