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Posts tagged “ADMU Blue Eagles

A Chance At Legitimacy

The UP Fighting Maroons will be going up against the FEU Tamaraws tomorrow afternoon, their second straight game where they will be fighting for separation in the standings, and against the team touted as the “heavily favored team” during the beginning of the standings.

This FEU squad is the same squad who won double-digit victories over ADMU and DLSU. And before we forget, this team has the next least rookies in the league, as well as the next most holdovers from last season, where they were runners up to the NU Bulldogs.

Guess which team they are second to in terms of least rookies and most holdovers?

Yes, to UP.

But what does that mean?

None so much really.

Because when these two teams take on each other tomorrow afternoon, the only thing that will matter is that by the end of the game, one team will be 3-1 (tied at first with Ateneo and UST), and the other will be 2-2.

As of this writing, the only team sporting a winless record is Adamson University. The NU Bulldogs finally earned a victory, and in convincing fashion as they defeated the previously unblemished Growling Tigers. Just a couple of days ago, the standings were quite unfamiliar to many who are not used to seeing teams like Ateneo, NU at the bottom, and UP at the top.

Now, things seem to be back to normal.

Unless… the Maroons have a different agenda.

A win by UP tomorrow will bring them a more secure spot on the top half of the rankings, together with UST and Ateneo. After the Tamaraws, the Maroons will be tackling Adamson, NU and Ateneo. UP will only need one win out of those three for the Maroons to end the first half with a winning record of 4-3. The last time the Maroons had such a record ending the first half was… Anybody old enough to remember when?

But before we get ahead of ourselves with the possibilities, first things first.

Tamaraws. Tomorrow.

It’s not really a question of whether the Maroons can or cannot defeat the Tams. They showed in their last three games that they can. Beating a UE team that is now 2-1 also in the standings and riding on the heroics of rookie Edson Batiller, a Jeron-Teng led DLSU squad that boasts of landing prospective ROY Andrei Caracut, and giving the league-leading Tigers a scare during their previous tiff, the Maroons are capable of upsetting the heavily favored Tams.

The question is… How?

Head coach Rensy Bajar gave his boys 24 hours after their loss to lament their defeat to UST.

That was a week ago.

For sure, the Maroons’ lead tactician have already laid out his game plan to his ballers. They must have burned hours of practice time to simulate all the possible scenarios when they take the Morayta squad on the floor tomorrow. Each of the guys who will suit up for battle tomorrow have all their work cut out already by tomorrow. They must have done a checklist of sorts on what to do with who, on such and such a moment of the game.

But the sketches on the drawing board and the stench of your opponent on the open court are two different things. When the Diliman squad steps on the battle field tomorrow afternoon, they will have to set aside thoughts about the other three games ahead of them. They will have to ignore the possibility of getting into that press conference after sealing a victory. They will have to stop imagining how the headlines will be on Monday in all the sports columns of the broadsheets and tabloids. And they will have to tear into pieces anything “on paper” about the FEU’s team.

When the play ball tomorrow, what they have in front of them is an opponent that must be defeated.

But if there’s one thing the UP Fighting Maroons can put their minds into when they take on the FEU Tamaraws, it is this…

…this game is a chance at legitimacy for them.

That’s simply all there is to it.



Can the Maroons Slay The Giants?

Can the underdog beat the big shots?


A lot will say yes.


So can the UP Fighting Maroons defeat the other teams come Round 2 of the UAAP?


A lot will say no.


But who cares about the “lot” anyway?


If you want answers ask these three guys:


Mikee Reyes. Mark Juruena. Moriah Gingerich.


The three most veteran players of the UP Fighting Maroons carry with them more than just the battle scars of past defeats. They’re not merely survivors of multiple winless seasons. And surely they’re not just the hapless victims of criticisms thrown against a team that perennially inhabits the cellar of the standings.


They are witnesses.


Witnesses of a time when the underdogs prevailed over the champs.


Flashback: UAAP Season 72. The Maroons were coming off a 3-11 record from last year. They endured a 0-14 record two years earlier. They were entering the season as losers of their last three games of the previous one.


A little bit fast-forward: the fourth game of the season. Guess who the Maroons were playing…


The Ateneo Blue Eagles.


And how much of a giant was Ateneo? Well, just the previous year they won their first championship under the tutelage of Norman Black. And on their roster were players like Rabeh Al-Husseini, Nonoy Baclao, Jai Reyes, Eric Salamat, and Chris Tiu. Coming into the game against UP, they haven’t lost for six straight games since last season. UP, on the other hand, had lost six straight.


The team on top of the food chain versus the bottom dweller–get the picture.


It seemed the Eagles would have its way against the Maroons.


As it turns out, UP would pull the biggest upset of that season.


Here’s a look back to that game:



But that didn’t end there. On that same season, UP outlasted the DLSU Green Archers. Mikee Reyes knows and remembers this game very well.



Together with their win over NU, UP won only 3 games that season. By reason of point differential, UP dropped to 8th spot that season. Ateneo won their back-to-back championship that season. La Salle was ousted of the Final Four for the first time in the Franz Pumaren era.


Just so you know, ADMU’s record was 13-1 that season. The one blemish they endured came from UP.


Just so you know, DLSU’s record was 5-9 that season. The one loss that cost them the Final Four slot came from UP.


That’s right. From the 8th seeded UP Fighting Maroons.


And Juruena, Reyes and Gingerich were there.


So if you ask them, they’d most definitely say yes.


That underdogs can slay giants

Ateneo Bags Fourth Straight Crown

As the clock wound down to its dying seconds, the score on the tally board said it all–a FOURgone conclusion.

The Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles convincingly edged the Far Eastern University Tamaraws, 82-69, to claim their fourth straight title in the senior men’s basketball tournament of the UAAP Season 74.

Recently named Rookie of the Year Kiefer Ravena exploded for 18 points to lead the Blue Eagles to their fourth consecutive trophy, a feat that only three other teams–UST, La Salle and UE–can brag about. Nico Salva trailed “the phenom” with a phenomenal performance of his own with 15 points, and was adjudged MVP of the Finals, most notably for his 100% clip from both free throw line and field goal area during game one of the series.

The win was also the last for the backcourt duo of Emman Monfort, Kirk Long, and Bacon Austria, all members of the three previous championships of Ateneo. This also places Norman Black among the list of four-peaters, namely Baby Dalupan for UE, Aric del Rosario for UST and Franz Pumaren for La Salle.

FEU’s Aldrech Ramos finished his college ball career with 20 points and 13 rebounds. Along with him, JR Cawaling, Pipo Noundou, Jens Knuttel and Chris Exciminiano will be exiting from the Tamaraws basketball program that saw them go through playoff heartbreaks and two finals appearances. A rebuilding season for FEU is expected to revolve around RR Garcia, Terence Romeo, and the supporting cast of Arvie Bringas and Mike Tolomia.

Awards were also handed out to players before game two kicked off. Bobby Ray Parks of NU was hailed MVP for this season, and was named to the Mythical Five team, along with Greg Slaughter, Ravena, Ramos and Alex Nuyles of Adamson. UP’s Jett Manuel earned this year’s Most Improved Player of the Year award.

Ateneo Aiming For Trophy, FEU Aiming For Clincher

What looked like a tight game during the first half ended up a massacre by the defending champs.

The Ateneo Blue Eagles trampled the FEU Tamaraws, 82-64, and is one game away from achieving a rare four-peat in seniors basketball tournament in the UAAP.

In the history of the UAAP basketball, only UE and UST have won four straight titles in the senior men’s basketball competition. Ateneo will look to become the third team with such bragging rights.

Nico Salva led all scorers from both teams, unleashing 24 points in a 100% shooting performance, 8-for-8 on the charity line, and 8-for-8 in field goals. Terence Romeo kept the game close for FEU, scoring 23 points. The only other Tamaraw in double digits was Russel Escoto with 12. The usual suspects Aldrech Ramos, RR Garcia and rookie sensation Mike Tolomia scored only a combined figure of 20 points, a far cry from the output they made when they eliminated the twice-to-beat team of Adamson during the playoffs.

Game two will be tomorrow October 1.

Should FEU push for the clincher, game three will be on October 4. If FEU wins it all, they will join UST as the only teams to have beaten Ateneo in the series after Ateneo took game one. As for Ateneo, they will join UE with the most number of championships won on the year they hosted the UAAP. UE won the basketball championship in the same year they were the hosts twice, in 1958 and in 1969.

UAAP Season 74 Finals Preview: Ateneo vs. FEU

photo courtesy of

If you think the return trip for these two teams to the finals is already dramatic, you ain’t seen anything yet.

The Ateneo De Manila University Blue Eagles and the Far Eastern University Tamaraws are back in the loftiest stage of UAAP basketball for a rematch of last year’s finals. The Blue Eagles are out to chase history with a four-peat, while the Tamaraws are aiming to end the championship drought and give Bert Flores his second championship belt since he last mentored an FEU roster that boasted Arwind Santos.

This scenario would have been a totally different story just a week ago, when the Blue Eagles tasted their first defeat in their last game against the Adamson Falcons. Already being groomed to be the deserving team to oppose Ateneo, the Falcons needed to win just one over the number three Tamaraws to punch in the Battle of the Birds. But the Tamaraws proved they will not be denied, and proved a case against Adamson that they’re the team Ateneo should beat in the Finals.

And thus, we have the last two teams standing.

Before everyone rushes to the conclusion that Ateneo will win this one, let’s look at one simple logic here:

Adamson beat Ateneo.

FEU beat Adamson. Thrice.

Ergo: Ateneo can’t be sure with this one.

And, lest we forget, FEU did give Ateneo the first scare when round two opened, and Ateneo was the one playing catch-up before they forced an overtime win over the Morayta Squad.

But this is the Finals we’re talking about. Definitely a lot has changed.

And with word out that JR Cawaling and Christian Sentchu given the green light, things will not be getting easier for Ateneo.

Nonetheless, FEU will have to take it away from Ateneo before they can brag of anything yet.

I’m thinking this will go the distance. Ateneo will surely come out with guns blazing to win the first game. If there’s anything that Bert Flores knows as much as Norman Black, it would be on what it would take to win the title. In fact, one of the reasons why Flores was brought back was to put his winning stamp on a program that has long endured criticism and heartbreaking losses since he last led the Tamaraws to winning the crown. That the Tamaraws edged a twice-to-beat Adamson squad only proves they’re serious contenders.

But Ateneo is still the reigning champs, and there’s hardly any reason no to think they will still be after their square-off against FEU. If there’s anything that Norman Black has an edge over Flores, one would be the fact that Black has never lost back to back since losing to UST during their Finals match in 2006 (a correction I made from an earlier fact that was corrected by one of our readers, Dani. Thanks). He has built a system that can transform from one playing style to another. They’re lethal in fast breaks, just as much as lethal in set plays, and they’ve got two of the most sensational tandem of guard and center, a formula that has been the cornerstone of almost every successful program. The Blue Eagles are also fast learners from their past mistakes. Surely, with Adamson already vanquished, they will put to good use whatever lessons they’ve learned when the Falcons inflicted a loss upon them. And unfortunately, FEU will have to be the team to face that.

So far, three teams have tried to beat Ateneo in as many seasons, and Ateneo went away with the trophy all three times.

Will there be a fourth crown for Ateneo?

Or will the celebrations shift to Morayta?

Get ready.

Ateneo Survives FEU in OT

(I’m supposed to be blogging only about UP’s games, but I just can’t help but hit the keyboards on my laptop and blog about this cringing collapse.)

The only thing more painful than an upset is a win that slipped away in overtime.

Almost heading out of the Araneta Center with a win over the defending champs, the Far Eastern University Tamaraws lost to the Ateneo Blue Eagles in overtime, 74-67, for the opening salvo of the second round of UAAP Basketball.

Rookie phenom Kiefer Ravena became the late game hero in regulation time as he knocked down a trey that sent the game to overtime. There the defending champs did what they did not do in regulation, that is, control the game. For the rest of the four quarters the Eagles were playing catch up against the Tamaraws, who was bent on avenging their last loss to the same team during the first round. RR Garcia all of a sudden became RR Garcia, getting the important three-pointers draining down the net one after another to put the Tams ahead of the Eagles.

Unfortunately, the basketball gods seemed to frown on them, allowing Ravena a good look at the basket for a three that extended the tiff an extra five minutes. Coach Norman Black, ever the composed and scientific tactician that he is, drew up plays that helped the Blue Eagles clamp down on their opponents, and secure their eighth straight win in as many games.

FEU drops to 4-4.

Tomorrow, the DLSU Green Archers will try to secure their third place standing as they go up against the Adamson Soaring Falcons. UP and UST will have an immediate rematch as they face-off in game one of tomorrow’s double header, exactly a week since they met, with UST getting the better out of UP.

Ateneo Blasts UP, 77-57

Believe me, I had already written something about this a couple of minutes earlier. But the wi-fi just went down on me, and not even the “trash” tab was able to save the post. And it pains me to re-write something as painful as a 20-point loss by my alma-mater to our neighbor, the defending champs Ateneo.

So, please, just pardon me, when all I can say right now is…

Ateneo beat UP, 77-57.

In the tradition of fair blog journalism, this one is simply atrocious–to leave out on the details of how your team suffered its third straight loss in four games. Suffice it to say, I lost the will to blog on it right at the same moment the clear broadband signal betrayed me to allow me to post what I had already written earlier. Believe me, I had already written an honest-to-goodness, fair, detailed, objective account on how the Blue Eagles went on to improve to 5-0, while UP dropped to 1-3. But everything dependent on technical efficiency has its down sides, one of which is totally losing what you have already written.

And so, I’m just making up for the length of content I could have covered if only I started re-writing. But, whether you like it or not, I have lost the will to recount what I had said already. To write it up again would feel like shooting myself on the foot–twice. I beg of you, please just pardon my random ranting for now.

For now, here’s the news. UP lost to Ateneo, 77-57.


UAAP S74 Quick Review (Part 2)

Mike Abasolo, Christian Soler, and Sid Ventura, the three scribes from has finally come out with their respective analyses and predictions for the upcoming Season 74 of the UAAP.

Here’s a comparison of their predictions, as well as my prediction for the standings among the 8 teams after 14 games:

Christian Soler:
1. Ateneo de Manila University
2. Far Eastern University
3. De La Salle University
4. Adamson University
5. National University
6. University of Santo Tomas
7. University of the Philippines
8. University of the East

Sid Ventura:
1. Ateneo de Manila University
2. De La Salle University
3. Far Eastern University
4. Adamson University
5. National University
6. University of Sto. Tomas
7. University of the Philippines
8. University of the East

Mike Abasolo:
1. Ateneo de Manila University
2. Far Eastern University
3. Adamson University
4. De La Salle University
5. National University
6. University of Santo Tomas
7. University of the Philippines
8. University of the East

RC Cayanan:
1. Ateneo De Manila University
2. Adamson University
3. Far Eastern University
4. De La Salle University
5. National University
6. University of Sto. Tomas
7. University of the Philippines
8. University of the East

Our top one team and the bottom four team predictions are all exactly the same. When it comes to the three other teams–DLSU, FEU, and AdU–our predictions slightly differ. But I see no reason to change my forecasts. I’m quite satisfied with my own analysis on how the eight UAAP teams will end up by the end of the regular season.

Now, it’s time to give my analysis for each of the teams, starting from my predicted top one team, all the way to the eighth:

1. Ateneo De Manila University

Eric Salamat and Ryan Buenafe’s departure from the team will hardly be felt in a team with perhaps the most sensational incoming rookies among the UAAP teams. The trio of Kiefer Ravena, Gwyne Capacio and Greg Slaughter will be the constant source of headache for the seven other teams who have yet to solve the solidness that is Ateneo. The veteran presence of Kirk Long, Emman Monfort, Bacon Austria and Nico Salva will be the guiding light for the team’s fine rookie class when it comes to figuring out coach Norman Black’s time-tested system. Inserting the three rookies into the mainline starting scheme of the team is something Black will be very confident with. After cruising through their pre-season tourneys, you can shelf the chemistry issue. One thing for sure–they’ll be probably holding on to another year of bragging rights as a champion.

2. Adamson University

I have my reasons for saying that the Soaring Falcons will be team trailing the Blue Eagles at second. Sure, FEU has a relatively intact roster, and not to mention Bert Flores’ comeback. And sure, DLSU only lost four players, and has the most intact starting set, with their entire first five back from last season. But, I’ll give this to Adamson, simply because their starting five is just as intact as La Salle’s, losing only Michael Gallinato, who was relatively silent last year. Add to this their coach, Leo Austria, who’s been at the helm for the fourth straight system. If there’s any best time to contend for the Finals, now is that time for the Falcons.

3. Far Eastern University

Last year’s heartbreak team turns a new leaf with the return of Bert Flores, the last tactician to lead FEU to the promised land. Expect the team to adapt a winning system that saw the likes of Arwind Santos flourish and develop. Their first five from last year is still solid, which includes of course the reigning MVP RR Garcia. The only glitch in the team could be Pipo Noundou’s missing a few games due to a torn Achilles. JR Cawaling, Aldrech Ramos and Jens Knuttel will be the veteran star power of the team. But it will probably take some time before the old timers and their incoming rookies finally gel into one cohesive unit. When that day comes, FEU can finally exorcise the demons of their past defeats.

4. De La Salle University

Okay, so La Salle lost only four players from last season, gained a relatively unheralded set of rookies, kept intact their five on the floor, and, of course, has Dindo Pumaren. But that means they don’t have to go through a lot of modifications, which makes adjustments not a natural part of their system. The changes FEU and Adamson has gone through will require La Salle to make the necessary adjustments, but that is if the urgency would push them to do so. The first games will not do this purpose for La Salle. But, once the ball is finally running, La Salle will be expected to step in big time.

(continues next edition.)