Jai Reyes got the ball and dribbled the length of the court and his last halfcourt heave did not even touch the ring as the Eagles lose the championship after winning game 1….Chris Tiu did not play in the final two minutes of the game and JV Casio took over as the de La Salle Green Archers beat the Ateneo Blue Eagles...
For the first time this season the de La Salle Green Archers started strong as Bader Malabes and Ferdinand scored the first four points of the game in the wake of the leech like defense of the thump and bump
The second quarter started with the league MVP on the bench with two fouls, that was the cue that Chris Tiu needed to come out with his A-game as he displayed a shooting clinic. Chris scored seven straight points in a span of thirty seconds. Tiu started by shooting two free throws off a technical foul on Rico Maierhofer for taunting Nonoy Baclao. He followed that up with a three point shot on their ball possession and scored again on a bank shot off a screen. In a wink of an eye the Blue Eagles were suddenly up by ten 27-17 which prompted Coach Franz Pumaren to call a timeout. The Green Archers got going with two three pointers courtesy of JV Casio and Hyram Bagatsing. Unfortunately for them, the Blue Eagles found another unlikely hero as Jobe Nkemakolam scored six points while the rest of the team chipped in to help the Warlock as the Blue Eagles raced to a 41-26 halftime lead. The Blue Eagles had an impressive 70% scoring clip in the second quarter as they showed that even if Rabah is sitting on the bench they can still have other people to carry the scoring load.
It’s JV Casio’s last year with the Green Archers and for him he has made ways to score as evidenced in the last game after he scored a measly five points in their second round encounter. Together with the rest of the Green Archers JV led his team to another round of non stop pressure defense as the third quarter started with him sinking his second three pointer. After converting JV stole the ball from Jai Reyes and he fed off a cutting Rico Maierhoffer who scored on a lay up to give the Green Archers five straight points in less than 30 seconds. In an instant the 15 point Ateneo lead vanished into thin air. JV was on fire as he teamed up with LA Revilla and James Mangahas to cut the 41-26 lead to just three after three quarters 50-47 as Casio sank three triples. The Ateneo relied on Rabah AL-Husaini who scored 7 of the Blue Eagles 9 third quarter points.
If the first two quarters showed that Ateneo can be awesome, the fourth quarter was a test of wills as the Blue Eagles went 0 of 8 from the field in the first 7 and a half minutes. On the other hand, they also shut down the Green Archers as they gave only a solitary field goal to the Green Archers in 11 attempts as both teams played ugly ball. The only bright spot for the Blue Eagles was their free throw shooting which started with Chris Tiu nailing three straight free throws after Bader Malabes fouled him while taking a three point shot. Those free throws gave the Blue Eagles more breathing space as they took a 53-47 lead. The Green Archers were still pretty much in the game even after Nonoy Baclao scored on a free throw for a 55-49 Ateneo lead with 3:02 left. Unfortunately for them and with 2:50 left in the game, JV Casio was whistled for an offensive foul which was his fifth and Casio was sent to the bench permanently, and together with him was DLSU’s hopes of back to back titles which went with the floods of
This is the first time that the Ateneo won a UAAP title with a non rookie coach. The 1987 Team - Cris Calilan , 1988 – Fritz Gaston, 2002 – Joel Banal were all rookie Coaches when they won their titles while Coach Norman is now in his fourth year . At the same time, the 16-1 record of the Blue Eagles this season is the best ever in Ateneo history. It surpasses the 14-1 season of the 1987 team (there was no final four then and ADMU was twice to beat then) and the 15-1 season of the 1976 NCAA Champion team (13-1 eliminations plus sweep of best of three). This marked also the third time in the UAAP that Ateneo has beaten DLSU in a championship match with the last two coming with DLSU as the defending champions. Like what Chris Tiu said, the best feeling is beating the defending Champions.
ONE BIG FIGHT FOR
THE 2008, UAAP MEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONS,
THE ATENEO BLUE EAGLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ateneo (62 )
Tiu 16, Baclao 8, Nkemakolam 8, Al-Hussaini 7, Baldos 6, Buenafe 5, Reyes 5, Salamat 3,
De La Salle (51 )
Casio 18, Walsham 8, Maierhofer 7, Revilla 5, Atkins 3, Bagatsing 3, Mangahas 3, Ferdinand 2, Malabes 2, Barua 0, Villanueva 0.
Quarter scores: 16-10; 41-26; 50-47; 62-51