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!
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The UAAP has reached its halfway point and here are the names who I thought did enough to help their team and at the same time make heads turn.
Game starts now.
20 – LA SALLE / LA REVILLA
10.7PPG • 4.7RPG • 3.8APG
Injuries continue to plague this big time playmaker but at least their roster has improved.
19 – LA SALLE / YUTIEN ANDRADA
7.4PPG • 7.6RPG • 1.9BPG
Absent most of last season, Andrada will resume his role the team’s hustle guy off the bench.
18 – FEU / ANTHONY HARGROVE
8.7PPG • 8.3RPG • 1.7BPG
Hargrove is a beast in the middle and he needs to protect the paint to make it accessible to their guards.
17 – UST / JERIC TENG
16.0PPG • 5.8RPG • 1.3APG
Missed a couple of games because of an injury… but look for him to explode once he comes back.
16 – UST / JERIC FORTUNA
8.9PPG • 4.3RPG • 5.0APG
He is not scoring as much this season, but at least he’s getting his teammates involved.
15 – ATENEO / KIEFER RAVENA
13.7PPG • 4.3RPG • 2.3APG • 1.0SPG
People know he is not a patsy which could be one of the reasons why his averages haven’t been as big as they were last year.
14 – FEU / RR GARCIA
12.6PPG • 4.6RPG • 3.9APG
His MVP performance two seasons ago hasn’t been repeated yet but look for his game to improve in the following games.
13 – ATENEO / NICO SALVA
14.6PPG • 5.4RPG • 1.9APG
The combo forward is still an inside-outside workhorse and look for him to provide the intangibles to give Norman Black the proper sendoff.
12 – UST / ALJON MARIANO
12.0PPG • 6.7RPG • 2.0APG
After resting last season, Mariano has been on a tear and has been responsible for a lot of the Tigers’ comeback wins this season.
11 – UP / MARK LOPEZ
10.4PPG • 6.1RPG • 2.1APG • 1.7SPG
Mark Lopez is doing a yeoman’s job giving the Maroons lift as Mike Silungan, Alvin Padilla, and Jett Manuel continue to struggle.
10 – LA SALLE / NORBERT TORRES
9.0PPG • 9.9RPG • 2.0APG • 1.7BPG
Once he develops an improved inside game look for this double-double magnet to become the face of DLSU’s basketball future.
9 – LA SALLE / JERON TENG
16.7PPG • 7.4RPG • 1.7APG
Speaking of DLSU’s basketball future, Jeron Teng with his numbers is a cinch to clinch the Rookie of the Year Award.
8 – ADAMSON / ERIC CAMSON
13.0PPG • 8.6RPG • 1.4APG • 1.0BPG
Camson and Roider Cabrera are the players left of last year’s super force and their win-loss record is something new to him.
7 – NU / EMMANUEL MBE
13.1PPG • 10.6RPG • 1.1BPG
His numbers are impressive as usual. Again the problem of NU is just like last year. It is the Parks and Mbe Show and Eric Altamirano needs to build their other players.
6 – ADAMSON / RODNEY BRONDIAL
11.3PPG • 9.0RPG • 1.1APG • 2.3BPG
Last season he was saddled in the bench but with most of the core gone, Camson struggling, and Alex Nuyles out of commission, now is the time for this guy to step up.
5 – UE / ROI SUMANG
16.6PPG • 4.6RPG • 3.7APG • 1.7SPG
The only bright spot in UE’s current UAAP campaign, if he can’t change his team’s fate, he could pad his individual accolades so he’ll do well once he takes his game to the next level.
4 – ATENEO / GREG SLAUGHTER
14.9PPG • 8.9RPG • 2.0APG • 2.9BPG
I can’t stress how important this guy is to the Ateneo chagrin. The guy could have had Bobby Ray Parks numbers if he played in a team that’s not as talented as Ateneo.
3 – FEU / TERRENCE ROMEO
16.7PPG • 6.3RPG • 4.3APG • 1.7SPG
Remember when this guy scored 83 points against UP as a FEU junior? Well this menacing scorer I believe has what it takes to claim a Mythical 5 citation and lead his team to a respectable campaign.
2 – UST / KARIM ABDUL
17.6PPG • 13.6RPG • 1.6APG • 1.6SPG • 1.6BPG
He is currently leading the MVP polls of the UAAP thanks to his workhorse efforts in UST’s remarkable first seven games (VIVA SANTO TOMAS). He may be the first foreigner to win in the award since FEU’s Anthony Williams in 1981.
1 – NU / BOBBY RAY PARKS
20.7PPG • 6.4RPG • 5.0APG • 1.9SPG • 1.4BPG
Stat-wise, the reigning MVP title holder leads Abdul. The thing is in this season we are seeing Parks playing the backcourt positions and with his height and his talent, it’s a scary sight for his foes. Now if only the Bulldogs can transform their other players to help Parks and Mbe better…
So there you have it, this is what the rankings look like at the halfway point of the UAAP’s current season.
Check this out in two weeks time!
The UAAP has launched and the pressure is on the athletes of Ateneo, La Salle, and FEU to bring home the championship.
How bad do these schools, both the players & fans, want to win?!
They can prove it on and off the court with the *Nike RUNUAAP challenge.*
Both athletes and student runners must run and clock in their miles with the Nike+ GPS App http://gonike.me/nrapp. Total distances will be tracked
during the UAAP season and at the end, we see which school syncs in the most miles.
Download the Nike+ Running App for *FREE *on iPhone or Android. Dedicate your KMs and prove your passion. Tag your runs with #gameonworld #PH #team name (ADMU, DLSU, FEU). School with the most KMs gets bragging rights.
On their 1st face-off for the UAAP 75 played at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, UST Growling Tigers clipped ADMU Blue Eagles’ wings. Final score is 71-70.
ADMU soared in the 1st half from the efforts Kiefer Ravena and Nico Salva, scoring 13 points and 11 points, respectively. UST was down in double-digits early.
But UST growled in the 3rd quarter, it was a tie game at 52. Mariano and Teng sank back-to-back easy baskets for UST that gave them their 1st lead of the game, 58-54. Aljon Mariano, the player of the game, poured 21 points, 13 rebounds and 2 assists.
After 12 consecutive losses against ADMU, coach Pido Jarencio said that “darating din yung araw na liliwanag ang araw sa amin. At eto na nga yun”
Aljon Mariano, who missed playing last season, said that “Pinaghandaan ko yung game namin. Pinatunayan ko na dapat paghandaan ako. Sobrang pinaghandaan ko yung season na ito.”
UST will be back on Saturday to face the UP Fighting Maroons at 4pm while Ateneo will be seeing in action on Sunday at 4pm where both games will be held at MOA Arena.
Kudos Smart Gilas Pilipinas! Despite the so-called “National Heartache” that you’ve given us according to one overzealous writer, it would never account to the sense of pride and happiness that you’ve delivered to Filipino basketball fans when they saw you competing and beating some of the best basketball teams in Asia.
But if there’s one thing that I would agree with Mr. Trinidad’s column, it’s that we really came up short. In the semi-finals, we were beaten in the end game by a clearly superior and hungrier Jordan team. In the last medal game, we lost a won game by again breaking down in the end game against Korea. While I look at our recent setback in a positive manner, it really wouldn’t take an ultimate nay-sayer to say that there are still a lot of things to improve on in order for us to reach the most elusive Olympic dream.
But unlike Mr. Recah Trinidad who keeps on blabbering about the failure of the system without actually giving better alternatives, the proper response to this setback is to stick with the program, retain coach Toroman and prepare for the 2013 championships because I truly believe that not every loss should result into a total revamp of the system.
What would happen to Manny Pacquiao if he sacked Freddie Roach after losing to Morales and settling for draw against Juan Manuel Marquez? Would a four-peat be even possible if Ateneo parted ways with Norman Black after their heartbreaking loss to UST in Season 69?
The thing is, what the nation needs to understand is that losses do happen and success stories doesn’t happen overnight. What Rajko Toroman did was to turn a slumping system, which finished 8th and 9th respectively in the last two qualifiers, into a winning system. Yes, they did break on two of the biggest games of the tournament, but that doesn’t mean that it warrants an automatic curbing of the whole program.
The most logical solution here would be to carry on with what Toroman started, retain him as coach, and well, retain most of the players which played in Wuhan this year. With the addition of some of the best collegiate players today and some pro-cagers, we could have a formidable lineup by 2013.
So with that being said, here’s my proposed 12 man team for FIBA ASIA 2013.
Marcus Douthit – Unless we can actually find a younger, more athletic player with Marcus’ size, I say stick with him. Marcus’ performance in the recent qualifiers is MVP caliber. He led the league in points and rebounding and played a major role in intimidating opponents underneath. He might not be a Filipino by blood, but he damn sure played like one.
Japeth Aguilar – Much like in 09, he saw limited minutes in the court for whatever reasons. But I’m not ready to give up on this kid yet. He’s explosive, he can shoot, he can defend and he has ceiling. If only he could add a few pounds to his frame.
Greg Slaughter – This 6’11 prospect was already training with the team before his stint in Ateneo. Still a raw and undeveloped talent now, the whole nation is hoping that he would somehow develop into a reliable bigman under the tutelage of Coach Norman Black and he will be further polished under Toroman by 2013. With Asi’s age, he could be the perfect replacement as Douthit’s backup.
Joe de Vance – Now hear me out here. A lot of people aren’t really high on JDV but I truly believe that this guy flourishes under the right system. He posted career highs in points, rebounds and assists under Tim Cone and that goes to show you how he responds with the proper system and with proper coaching. He’s the type of guy who could stretch the defense all the way to the three point line, can put the ball in the floor and finish on the break. Ideal 4 guy for Smart Gilas right here.
Marcio Lassiter – In most games in the last qualifier, Marcio Lassiter was the second best player of the team. He’s by far their best on ball defender for Team Philippines and he’s probably also the best finisher of the team. On half court sets, he can create off the dribble and take threes. Perfect fit.
Kelly Williams – While Kelly played the role of a scapegoat after missing two crucial foulshots against Korea, we should never forget what kind of impact Kelly made in the concluded qualifiers. Kelly should not be too old by 2013, and he’s just the type of swinger Gilas needs, a 6’7 guy which can play both forward spots.
Arwind Santos – Arwind is someone who truly deserves a spot in the national team roster. His versatility on both offense and defense could be utilized well under Toroman’s system. He’s quick enough to guard the likes of Rasheem Wright and Cho Seong Min and long enough to guard agile power forwards.
Ronald Pascual – This shouldn’t come off as a surprise if you’ve been following NCAA basketball. Ronald Pascual deserves a spot in the 2013 Gilas team. Probably the best shooter in college ball today, Pascual is having an MVP season with the yet to be defeated San Sebastian Stags, averaging 20 points a game, 5 boards and 3 assists. But let’s forget about his actual stats right now and look at his potential. This guy is 6’4, can jump out of the gym effortlessly and can nail down long bombs. Just exactly what this team needs.
Chris Tiu – He’s no flashy scorer but I think his decision not to join the PBA speaks a lot about his dedication to this team. As cliche as this may sound, Chris is the heart of this team. He’s the leader of the previous delegation to Wuhan and should be the leader of the team in 2013. With his defense, timely shots and leadership, Chris Tiu should be a vital cog come 2013.
JV Casio – With injuries slowing down JV Casio in the recent qualifiers, I say this guy deserves one more shot at the team. JV of course is a deadshot from beyond the arc which could improve more after his stint in the pro league.
Keifer Ravena – Now, it’s time to give some young blood the exposure that they need. Keifer should be the youngest member of the team in 2013 but with the rate that he’s going now, he should be ready by that time. A smart player with a knack of taking over during big games, Keifer could definitely be the future of Philippine Basketball.
Bobby Ray Parks – The reigning UAAP MVP will play for our national team, one way or another. So why not put him in by 2013? Bobby Ray Parks is just what the national team needs. A scorer who could put the ball on the floor, pull up in the perimeter, take set threes, attack the basket and penetrate and kick-0ut. He’s the type of player who could take over when the offense is going nowhere. He’s the type of player that the previous team was missing.
Now that’s my 12 man team. I know a lot of previous players who played well in the previous qualifiers got booted out but that’s the way it goes. Injuries and basketball-politics aside, I see this team making it big in 2013 with the proper system and the proper support hat it deserves from Philippine Basketball Tycoons and Philippine Basketball fans alike.
Let’s go Team Pilipinas! Never stop dreaming, we’re almost there.
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A 29-game, decade-long mastery over.
The stepladder format scratched.
Worst beating this season.
The Adamson Soaring Falcons finally proved that they are worthy for attention by defeating the erstwhile undefeated Ateneo Blue Eagles, 62 to 46.
Alex Nuyles was on fire and the rest of the squad delivered. The Falcons has been burning hot and cold in the season.
The Falcons have split their win-loss slates with the Eagles, UST Growling Tigers and the FEU Tamaraws and took another loss against the NU Bulldogs. People shouldn’t be shocked though that the Falcons won over the Eagles. Adamson formed this squad three years back and this is a bad as any other team there is in contention.
I mean, Adamson is not bad.
Ateneo is just that good.
So the Eagles get a reality check. Good for them. Maybe it’s time for them to get a loss now than get it later. But here’s the thing – the fact that we saw in the match is that with the exception of Greg Slaughter, none of Ateneo’s position guys favor the Falcons in terms of size. The Falcons have also a cohesive starting lineup unlike the Eagles who just got Kiefer Ravena and Slaughter this season. Finally, the Falcons have been hungry for recognition. The last semblance of a team the Falcons had was during the early 90’s when Marlou Aquino and Kenneth Duremdes led Adamson to the finals but lost to the Dennis Espino, Edmund Reyes, and Bal David-led Tigers.
With Ateneo ranked first and Adamson ranked second, the Final Four will be decided on the fate of the last playdate of the eliminations. My boys the UST Growling Tigers need to win against the NU Bulldogs and in some ways, plead for the DLSU Green Archers to snap out of their skid and hope they’ll win against the FEU Tamaraws.
Of course UST and FEU will battle it out to chase for the third spot. As big the reality is that the Eagles are beatable, the last thing both squads need right now is to the next round dealing with the Eagles.
11 games in and no one has still scratched the perfect record of UAAP three-time defending champions Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles. The closest that came to defeat the mighty Eagles were Adamson, during opening day, and FEU, at the start of the second round of eliminations. Will the Eagles go perfect? I do not know, but what I know for sure is they’ll be in the Finals. The sweep would be a blessing if it is granted.
Who can topple the Eagles from their roost? Talent-wise, rival DLSU had a shot, but we all know how that team turned out. But in reality, I see the FEU Tamaraws and the Adamson Falcons to be the best bet. Heck, even fans of the other teams have started rooting for the two when they went up against Ateneo. Not to mention, both these squads have motivation and personal reasons why they want to score the first loss for the Blue Eagles.
FEU nearly caught Ateneo’s number when they led by six, 57-63 with a minute and 16 seconds to go. But in true Morayta fashion, the team imploded when Emman Monfort and Kiefer Ravena willed the game into overtime. By far, this was the best showing of any team that fought Ateneo considering that FEU got demolished by 20 points in the first round. Also, the Tams have an axe to grind against the ballers from Katipunan. Having the best line-up in Season 73, the Tams got chased out of the then-Araneta Coliseum by the rampaging Ateneo squad en route to their third straight title. Take note, the Tams beat Ateneo convincingly in the eliminations in two wire-to-wire games but suddenly got skinned in the Finals.
Adamson, on the other hand, have came close to beating Ateneo for the past two seasons but just could not finish well in crunchtime. All games have been cardiac games, showing the mettle of the improved Falcons. But somehow, I do not understand why coach Leo Austria keeps on putting in Roider Cabrera during the important moments of the game. The guy only knows one thing when he touches that basketball whether it is the third pass or the first pass. Even with a hand in his face and no clear look at the basket, this guy will shoot, shoot and shoot. In all honesty, the reason Adamson lost that opening-day game against the Eagles will be because, with a seven point lead in tow, they decided to shoot threes when they could’ve padded the lead just by going for the deuce.
However, what’s going for the boys from Marcelino will be trying to break that 28-game losing streak against Ateneo. They haven’t beaten the Blue and White since 1997 when Gherome Ejercito still starred in an Adamson uniform. The closest they came in beating the Eagles was way back in the 2004 when Larry Fonacier suffered his season-ending ACL injury that destroyed the Blue Eagle faithful. Fortunately, LA Tenorio and JC Intal had other plans then and led a furious comeback at the turn of the second half. That step-back three-pointer from LA Tenorio to win the game is etched in my memory.
In anticipation of their September 10 date, has Adamson adjusted their end-game plans? Or will it be like last year’s second round match where the Blue Eagles just proved who was the better bird? Will the resolute champions hold fast in the face of a furious onslaught by Adamson if it comes to that or will the Falcons finally wound the proud Blue Eagles?
If Ateneo wins over everyone, the question to be begged in anticipation of next season, who can beat Ateneo?