Get That Ball

13 10 2007

Get That Ball


UAAP Board Has to Take Responsibility

23 09 2007

The De La Salle Zobel juniors’ basketball team stunned the favored Ateneo Blue Eaglets 76-74, to take the first game of their best of 3 finals. Unfortunately the story does not end there.

The UAAP hierarchy should once again be put under a microscope. It’s not because of some controversial decision that the board has promulgated but rather from a total lack of concern over the security of the lockers of the players. The La Salle Zobel players got their lockers ransacked and lost their wallets, cell phones and all their valuables.

Because of a similar incident during a preseason league where the De La Salle University senior basketball team experienced the same fate, the officials of the Ninoy Aquino Stadium had asked the UAAP to provide 2 security guards for each locker. The league officials had agreed but obviously did not do what they were supposed to. Based on the statement by the stadium officials, the whole unpleasant experience could have been avoided.

When a player, coach or even the fans behave in a manner that the UAAP Board finds offensive, they have a right to extend the sanctions that the Board sees as appropriate and do not hesitate to do so. Now that it is the league who obviously did not perform their obligations, who will sanction them?

First and foremost, doesn’t the league have an obligation to the players to provide security while they play? That’s the least they could do considering that the league earns money out of the sweat of the players. They have to protect them regardless of the division they play for or the sport they participate in.

Secondly, doesn’t the league have an obligation to determine if a venue meets certain basic standards for their participants to play in? The Ninoy Aquino Stadium and the Cuneta Astrodome are awful venues. The UAAP owes it to the players and to the fans that pay to watch the games to make sure that the venues provide adequate security. I have heard that there have even been snatchings just outside these 2 venues.

It is apparent that the people who run the Ninoy Aquino Stadium allow unauthorized people into the locker room area. I cannot believe that thieves were able to enter the locker rooms at exactly the right time, ransack the belongings and make a getaway, without anyone seeing them.

Thirdly, who is going to be held responsible for this “lapse in security”? Knowing that the UAAP had committed to provide 2 security guards outside the lockers; shouldn’t La Salle now bring the UAAP to task and demand that proper restitution be given? It is a consequence that they should impose on themselves in the same way that they mete out consequences to those that have committed infractions.

La Salle has taken all the consequences that the UAAP has thrown at it. It is now the turn of the UAAP board to write a public apology to La Salle for their irresponsibility? The UAAP cannot wash its hands and act as if nothing happened.

UAAP Weekly September 19, 2007

19 09 2007

Inboundpass .com UAAP Weekly podcast with Charlie Cuna, Kim Lesaca and Mike Abasolo talks about the Ateneo roadblock, the timely Green Archers , the spoiler – NU, the hopefull – FEU and the overlooked – UST.

Growling Tigers Title Bid on the way

17 09 2007

No upset.

Host UST, the reigning UAAP champs, prevented a Far Eastern University upset, scored a convincing 80-69 win to take the last semifinals bus seat of the 70th UAAP men’s basketball tournament last September 17 at the Araneta Coliseum.

The Growling Tigers, playing like a true champion, relied on their superb second quarter performance to deny the Tamaraws a chance in making it to the semifinals for the second consecutive year.

UST, with the important win, faces the loser of the Ateneo-La Salle playoff game set at 3pm at the big dome. Meanwhile, the winner, between La Salle and Ateneo will occupy the No. 2 spot.

“We are still alive,” said UST head coach Pido Jarencio. “This is not the real game yet but we are ready to face any opponent.”

The Growling Tigers outscored the Tamaraws in the second quarter, 22-6, to get an insurmountable 39-25 halftime edge.

FEU attempted for a 16-5 rally but fell short after UST leaned on its steady free throw shooting particularly by Jun Cortez and Cruz to seal all things up.

Leading MVP candidate Jervy Cruz, a 6-foot-6 MVP candidate, scored 17 points and 14 rebounds to pace UST in scoring, while guard Anthony Espiritu added 12 points.

“Everything turned out to be on our favor in the last three quarters,” said Cruz, who already had 13 points in first half. “They tried everything to survive but we were not going to give up also.”

“We lost to them earlier but we fought everything we’ve got today to win this crucial playoff game,” said Espiritu, referring to the Growling Tigers’ 84-73 lost to the Tamaraws last September 13.

After three deadlocks early in the second quarter, UST did the crucial breakaway at the five-minute mark after dropping a crippling 18-2 bomb capped by Dylan Ababou’s lay up with 56 seconds left for a 39-23 bubble before halftime.

“We altered our defense in the second quarter, so we were able to give them a different look,” said Jarencio.

UST carved the game’s biggest lead, 59-35, with Khasim Mirza firing a trey, with still four minutes to go in the third quarter.

FEU narrowed the gap as it unleashed eight straight points to move closer, 43-59, with 1:36 minutes remaining in the third quarter. But the Growling Tigers pulled away again, 67-47, early in the fourth quarter after Mark Canlas banged in a jumper.

The Tamaraws uncorked a 19-8 bomb capped by a three-pointer from guard Paul Sanga to cut down the lead to 66-75, with still 1:46 minutes remaining. FEU, though, never made it anymore as time wasn’t on its side.

Reil Cervantes, who was ejected due to two unsportsmanlike fouls, led FEU with 17 points with nine boards, while Mac Baracael added 15 points.

Anton Montinola, the FEU board representative to the UAAP, told that they accepted this loss and guaranteed to return stronger next year.

“UST played like a true champion today,” said Montinola. “We played bad in the second quarter and we paid the price.”

The six points scored of FEU in the second period is a season-low. The Tamaraws ended the season in fifth place.

Individual Scores:

UST (80) – Cruz 17, Espiritu 12, Ababou 11, Mirza 11, Cuan 8, Cortez 8, Taylor 7, Canlas 6, Dizon 0, Allera 0.

FEU (69) – Cervantes 17, Baracael 15, Sanga 9, Cawaling 8, Ramos 8, Fernandez 4, Abaring 3, Adolfo 3, Cabagnot 2, Alisbo 0, Barroca 0, Knuttel 0.

Quarter scores: 17-19; 39-25; 63-43; 80-69

The Best UAAP Season in a Long Time

16 09 2007

This UAAP season will be one for the books. So many twists and turns have made Season 70, one of the most memorable in recent history.

UE wins 14 straight and UP loses 14 straight. I don’t think this has ever happened simultaneously either the UAAP or even the NCAA. UE is in a class all by itself. In the start of the season 6 out of the 8 teams had a a good chance of making it to the Final Four. With that in mind, UE’s unbeaten regular season record is even more amazing.

This year turned out to be a Final Five rather than a Final Four. After the last game of the regular season, the standings from 2 to 4 have still not been determined. Defending champion UST, who had a number of impressive victories, including a come-from-behind win against La Salle, were stymied by a rookie-laden FEU squad.

La Salle had 2 straight heartbreak losses to Ateneo and UE but still finds itself with a chance to get the much coveted twice to beat 2nd place. Losing 4 out of their 5 games in the last 2 minutes, La Salle now has a chance to live up to their pre-season hype that so far has not been seen.

Many thought that Ateneo would definitely take the number 2 spot, but no one seems to have told the NU Bulldogs that. The Bulldogs played their last game with the desire to end it with a bang, in what otherwise would have been a forgettable season.

Ateneo has to re-group and hope that they do not duplicate their first round performance, where they lost 3 straight after they beat La Salle. But Ateneo has shown that they have what it takes to win and the Blue Eagles may just use their loss to NU as a rallying point.

The FEU – UST game is going to be as good as the La Salle – Ateneo game. UST, being the defending champion may have the edge since they have the more experienced players and were in a similar situation last year, where they beat both heavily favored UE and Ateneo twice. Coach Pido knows how to motivate his team and on paper have a more solid team.

For FEU, it would really be a feather in their cap if they beat UST. Team manager Anton Montinola’s decision to disband last year’s team, after being the first team to win a championship one year and not make the Final Four the next, would pay off. This is an FEU team that can’t be taken lightly. They have beaten Ateneo, UST and played a great game against UE.

UE is just waiting. Will the long break be a blessing or a curse? They have to practice without knowing who their finals opponent will be. The problem is that all the 4 contending teams play differently which means they cannot use the break to focus their preparation on the style of one team. But then again, they aren’t unbeaten for nothing. They will be ready for anyone. On the other hand, with the way this season has shaped up, anything can happen.

The big winner in all these is of course league and most of all ABS-CBN. With the UST vs. FEU and the La Salle vs. Ateneo games played on separate days, ticket sales for both games combined could reach as high as P6 million. Advertising revenues will go through the roof and ABS-CBN will more than make up for the losses they incurred last season.

FEU stays alive, forges playoff vs UST for last F4 slot

13 09 2007

They just wanted to be in the big boys’ place.

Far Eastern University, controlling everything from start to finish, scored an important 84-73 win over reigning champion University of Santo Tomas to keep its flickering Final Four hopes alive in the 70th UAAP men’s basketball at the Araneta Coliseum.

The Tamaraws took the lead and withstood the Growling Tigers’ mighty comeback in the second half to tie UST in fourth with an identical 8-6 card at the end of their elimination campaign.

With that, both teams will collide in a do-or-die playoff match on September 20 for the last Final Four spot.

Despite the resistance of the host school in the third period, Riel Cervantes, a sophomore small forward, and rookie forward Ric Cawaling came up to their senses as they contributed to the Tamaraws fourth quarter 26-point outburst to seal the game.

The Growling Tigers lost their touch in the crucial fourth quarter, producing only 14 points because of the Tamaraws’ clogging defense.

“My players really worked hard today because they wanted to prove themselves as one of the big boys here in this league,” said rookie head coach Glenn Capacio. “We are now looking forward to the playoff game against UST next week.”

Cervantes, who shot 6-of-7 in the field to lead FEU with 14 points, scored on lay-up to give the Tamaraws a safe 78-67 advantage with 1:28 minutes remaining in the game.

Then, Marnel Baracael, who added 13 points and five assists, put the icing on the cake as he completed both free throws for the final count with few seconds left.

“Our good start benefited us in this game,” said Cervantes. “We just played the game although Jervy (Cruz) and the rest of UST almost came back in the fourth period.”

Paul Sanga produced 12 points, while Benedict Fernandez made 10 and Cawaling had nine also for FEU.

In the 1st quarter, FEU had an 8-0 run courtesy of Baracael, Cervantes and Ramos to take a 5-point lead after 8 1/2 minutes of play, 14-9. The 1st 10 minutes of aciton ended with FEU on top, 19-14.

In the 2nd quarter, UST’s Dylan Ababou, Kazim Mirza and Chester Taylor matched the efforts of FEU’s Fernandez and Cawaling from mostly from the perimeter to tie the ballgame twice at 23-all and at 29-all. The Tamaraws eventually closed the 1st half with a 9-point advantage, 39-30.

FEU failed to sustain the advantage in third period as the Tamaraws were outscored by the Growling Tigers, 29-19, and started the final quarter down by a point, 58-59.

Even if they were down, 63-60, the Tamaraws didn’t give up easily.

FEU dropped a crippling 20-8 burst midway the final quarter, capped by Cervantes’ 7 fourth quarter points, to regain the lead for good, 76-66, with still three minutes to go.

UST handled the rebounding department, 46-38, but couldn’t cash in its second chance attempts.

FEU registered 31-out-of-63 (49.2%) total field goals against the 26-out-of-67 (38.8%) of UST.

Jervy Cruz, although contained by FEU’s frontline due to early foul trouble, still paced and reached his usual double-double performance for the Growling Tigers with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Individual scores:

FEU 84: Cervantes 14, Baracael 13, Sanga 12, Fernandez 10, Cawaling 9, Ramos 8, Adolfo 7, Barroca 6, Alisbo 2, Abaring 2, Cabagnot 1, Tanauan 0, Knuttel 0

UST 73: Cruz 13, Mirza 12, Canlas 10, Espiritu 10, Taylor 7, Cuan 6, Allera 5, Ababou 5, Cortez 3, Gile 2, Dizon 0.

Quarter scores: 19-14, 39-30, 58-59, 84-73

UAAP Weekly with Charlie Cuna, Kim Lesaca and Mike Abasolo – Sept. 10, 2007

10 09 2007

Charlie Cuna, Kim Lesaca and Mike Abasolo talks about the standings picture, the possible Final Four candidates and more.