Friday, August 22, 2008


As the season progresses the UE Red Warriors become hungrier and focused on beating the Ateneo Blue Eagles. After that Chris Tiu jumper in the NSL and first round loss to the Eagles, the Red Warriors thought that this was one game that won’t slip away until Ateneo got its act together just in the nick of time to eke out an ugly 61-57 overtime win over UE. This is as ugly as any game could get as the Blue Eagles crawled back from an eight point deficit and shooting slump to nail four three pointers in the payoff period to beat the hard fighting and hard defending Red Warriors.

The first quarter started with both teams scoreless for almost two minutes as Mike Baldos found the bottom of the net with a lay up off the UE press with 8:10 to go. Ateneo led 4-0 until UE leveled at 6-all when Paul Lee who did not play in the first round against Ateneo and James Martinez sank two consecutive triples to level the count. Both teams were electrified on defense as the Eagles were forced to four early turnovers while the Red Warriors got five offensive rebounds but no putback points. The Chris TIu paced the Eagles with 6 first quarter points as Rabah struggled because of the immediate double team on him by the Red Warriors as the quarter ended with the Warriors on top 13-12.

The second quarter saw defense settle in with a lot of turnovers and missed shots. The Blue Eagles averaged 14 turnovers per game but was forced into 15 turnovers in the first half alone. Credit it to the intense defense of the Warriors. The only thing that kept the Eagles in the game was their ability to get inside, get some fouls and score on the line. The Blue Eagles lead the league in most free throws attempted while in contrast the Red Warriors are the last in that department. The period ended with the Warriors still on top 22-21.

In the third quarter, Ateneo threatened to pull away by erecting an eight point lead 30-22 mainly through the efforts of Nonoy Baclao< style=""> The third quarter ended with the Warriors still on top 42-36.

Ateneo has never trailed a game going to the fourth quarter, the only time they did not was on a 47-all tie with guess who – the Warriors. As the game progressed it was looking like an upset in the making. The Warrior’s zone defense has done wonders since Ateneo was shooting 0 of 11 from beyond the arc. After Eric Salamat scored on a drive Marcy Arellano scored four consecutive points to give UE an eight point lead 46-38 which signaled another Ateneo timeout by Coach Norman Black. After that timeout the Blue Eagles were a different team as they uncorked their own run courtesy of the two three pointers by Captain Chris and another one by Ryan Buenafe that suddenly saw the Eagles cut the UE lead to one 47-48 with 2:59 left to play. The most crucial play of the game came when Chris Tiu got the ball, almost lost it, dribbled past two defenders off a screen, faked the shot and nailed the three pointer from beyond the professional three point line and tied the score 50-all to send the game to overtime.

By the time the overtime came, Captain Chris cramped out as his muscles took its toll after playing for nearly 40 minutes. After he left, Rabah, Ryan and Nonoy took matters in their own hands. Rabah scored four, Nonoy four and Ryan the most important three points of the game most specially his dipsy doo over three UE defenders that gave the Eagles back the lead 59-57 with 21 seconds left. After Nonoy stamped his defense over the high flying Elmer Espiritu by bothering his shot, he scored the insurance baskets with two free throws to give the Blue Eagles a league leading 10-1 slate.

MVP candidate Rabah Al-Husaini experienced a rough night but still scored 19 pts and pulled down 11 rebounds. Nonoy Baclao also had a double by scoring 10 pts hauling down 13 rebs and getting 2 blocks. The win was really an ugly one since the Blue Eagles shot an excruciating 29 % from the field, the worse FG % to win a game in the UAAP. As they say, a win is still a win however ugly it may be. Nesxt stop, the UP Maroons, GO Ateneo. Thanks Nono for the pictures.

1 comment:

Densio said...

I was wondering which felt worse, when we lost to FEU or this game when we almost lost to UE!