Monday, September 22, 2008

Blue Eagles win game 1

STOP Rabah Al-Husaini and Chris Tiu! This was the battlecry of the de La Salle Green Archers as the defending champions covered the two Ateneo stars with everything they had and somewhat succeeded with limiting the Ateneo Team captain to just two points. Unfortunately for them, Chris played decoy most of the game as MVP candidate Rabah Al-Husaini showed why he is called the Rabeh-lation as he scored 31 points and pulled down 10 rebounds to lead the Ateneo Blue Eagles to a 69-61 win over their arch rival and defending champion de La Salle Green Archers.

The Blue Eagles trooped to the court with Black warm ups with a big letter A in front and the number 24 at the back. This shirt is a tribute to Coach Norman Black who wore that number as a player. The highly anticipated match featured the contrasting defensive philosophies of both teams and the usual angst that goes with every Ateneo – La Salle ball game. Coach Norman has won championships with his half court defensive style while Coach Franz has pocketed a lot of UAAP Titles with his full court pressure defense in full throttle. The game saw both teams employ their defensive philosophies but the key factor was the adjustment that Ateneo made in handling the pressure defense of La Salle taht led to their win.

Ryan Buenafe started the ball rolling as his first attempt to the basket found the bottom of the net. Then the Eagles were forced to three turnovers before Ryan found Rabah free under the basket after getting the offensive rebound. Then DLSU came back with JVee Casio but unfortunately with 6:15 left the Green Archers were whistled for their 4th Team foul. James Mangahas, the third scorer in the Green Archer’s offense had two fouls and was benched by Coach Franz. Ryan Buenafe carried the offensive load for the Blue Eagles in the first quarter as he added two free throws and a three pointer. The feeling your opponent mode was evident in the first quarter as Rabah missed a lot of shots as he was triple teamed and made to shoot outside his comfort zone. The Blue Eagles took the first quarter with a 15-12 lead after Mike Baldos followed up a three point miss by Eric Salamat. Unfortunately the Blue Eagles had 8 turnovers and Chris Tiu and Nonoy Baclao was whistled for two personal fouls.


The second quarter started with Jai Reyes nailing a three pointer. Jai teamed up with Rabah Al-Huisaini and Ryan Buenafe to stem the tide for the Blue Eagles. Jai's field goal came at the 7:02 mark which shows that both teams defended well as DLSU forced Ateneo to three turnovers before that shot. The triumvirate more than made up for the slack that Chris Tiu left because of his foul trouble.

Rabah and Ryan kept the Blue Eagles on top as the two combined for 12 points since Chris Tiu was benched the entire second quarter. With Tiu on the bench, the Green Archers came back from an 23-18 deficit to a 29-26 lead which was predicated on the Green Archers press that JVCasio took advantage as he stripped Yuri Escueta of the ball and scored on him plus a foul to boot. The Blue Eagles were not rattled with that DLSU comeback as they uncorked a 10-0 bomb that started with Kirk Long and Ryan Buenafe’s five free throws. Rabah then scored on the fastbreak and the quarter ended with Ryan Buenafe passing the ball to Jai Reyes who sank another three pointer to give the Blue Eagles a 36-29 lead at the half.

As mentioned, the game is a contrast of defensive strategies as the Green Archers forced the Blue Eagles to 15 first half turnovers that gave the Greenies 11 pts off those turnovers. On the other hand, the Blue Eagles forced the Green Archers to take bad shots as evidenced by the 24% field goal percentage of DLSU as they shot 8 of 25. Ryan Buenafe scored 12 points, grabbed 8 rebounds and dished out 5 assists in the first half.


The third quarter started with Rabah Al Husaini flexing his muscle as the wily center scored 4 straight points after DLSU gave him only one Archer to cover him. There was color that brewed in this quarter as Eric Salamat and James Mangahas were each whistled with technical fouls after Eric fouled Mangahas on a fastbreak. After that skirmish Mangahas was whistled for his fourth foul which was an offensive foul that brought him back to the DLSU bench. On the other end, Rabah drove to the basket, missed the shot but Nonoy Baclao was there to follow up the miss and Ateneo surged ahead with a 42-32 lead. DLSU sues for time and responds with a JV Casio three point play. The big story of the third quarter was the 12 points of Rabah Al Husaini who was a man possessed when he scored on a three point play to give the Blue Eagles their biggest lead of the ball game 51-37. He reacquainted the Green Archers about the fact that in College basketball, the word Rabah means unstoppable! Unfortunately, after that three point play, he was whistled for an unsportsmanlike foul which the Green Archers capitalized on by scoring three points. The Green Archers forced another BLue Eagle bad shot which paved the way for a JV Casio three pointer to put the lead down to 8, 51-43. Rabah then took matters into his own hands once again as he scored four points to give Ateneo a 55-45 lead at the end of the third canto.

The fourth quarter started defensively once again, both teams had a hard time getting points until Bader Malabes scored four straight points. The stingy DLSU defense was so effective that Ateneo scored its first basket with 5:50 remaining by who else but Rabah Al-HUsaini. The Green Archers vaunted fourth quarter come back was checked by the Blue Eagles as Nonoy Baclao took over defensively. The team game of the Blue Eagles came into play as Rabah got the points, Chris and Ryan the assists plus rebounds for Ryan while Nonoy took care of the block shots. Just ask James Mangahas and Rico Maiefhoffer who most probably are still feeling the effects of the human flyswatter. Rabah capped his game long brilliance by scoring another eight points in the payoff quarter as the Blue Eagles doused cold water on the final fourth quarter comeback of the Green Archers to take Game 1 of the best of three series.

Eric Salamat and Chris Tiu never really got their games going as both players were saddled with fouls and just scored two points each. Ryan Buenafe and Jai Reyes stepped up big time as the two scored 12 points each to offset the scoring woes of Chris and Eric. Rabah scored the most points of a Blue Eagle in a championship eclipsing the mark set by LA Tenorio who scored 30 points in game 3 of the 2001 championship. Nonoy Baclao stamped his class as he blocked 7 shots in the game. Game time for Game two is 4pm at the Araneta Coliseum. Get ready for the Ateneo Bonfire..it's coming soon.


ATENEO (69)

Al-Husaini 31, Buenafe 12, Reyes 12, Baclao 5, Long 3, Tiu 2, Salamat 2, Baldos 2, Austria 0, Escueta 0, Nkemakolam 0, Salva 0,

LA SALLE (61)

Casio 20, Maiefhoffer 17, Malabes 6, Barua 6, Mangahas 5, Revilla 3, Ferdinand 2, Villanueva 2, Atkins 0, Bagatsing 0, Walsham 0,

Quarter Scores: 15-12, 36-29, 55-45, 69-61

1 comment:

Erwin said...

Galing mo Mhel! One Big Fight!