Enzo Joson, shades of Jun Reyes & LA Tenorio
" Racela has the ball and he passes it to Mendoza. Mendoza is on the low post, is double teamed and he gives the ball to Nieto. Nieto fakes a shot, drives to the middle, is met by two defenders and he passes the ball to Ravena who gives a no look pass to Black who is under the basket for an easy lay up!"
Sheik Cariño, steal and fastbreak
Wait a moment...Ravena was not a part of the 1988 Ateneo Champion team, he played for the University of the East remember and at the same time Norman Black was with San Miguel then!?? So how could this be? First of all we are not referring to that 1988 Ateneo Seniors team, we are referring to the 2008 Ateneo Small Basketeers of the Philippines team which beat Xavier 45-44 for the SBP Title.
Dejavu - its just like seeing Jet Nieto all over again,
the low post presence of the Ateneo team Michael Nieto
Olsen Racela, Albert "Saint" Mendoza and Jet Nieto helped the Ateneo win back to back titles in the 80's and are still not finished, they have brought their sons to the Ateneo and more importantly teamed up with the son of one of their former 80's foe Ferdinand "Bong" Ravena and current Ateneo senior's Coach Norman Black. Rafa Racela, Martin Mendoza, Matthew Nieto, Michael Nieto, Thirdy Ravena and Aaron Black came from families with great basketball backgrounds and they helped give the Ateneo Grade School back to back Small Basketeers of the Philippines titles. Joining them are other exciting players ages 9 to 11 with the son of good friend Donnie Puno (Sandro Puno), Jolo Mendoza - son of former UP Maroon Jigs Mendoza and the most important part of the team is Sheik Cariño.
The MVP Sheik Cariño with the Real Norman Black, that's not me guys
Ateneo started the game with Aaron Black and Matthew Nieto doing most of the damage as they erected a 16-3 lead which Xavier had a hard time breaking the pressure defense of the Ateneo. In the second quarter it was Sheik Cariño who jumpstarted the Ateneo offense as they continued to pour on the points in the wake of a Xavier comeback. The third quarter saw the Xavierians come together as a team as their main man Anton Lapez helped them come back to trim the lead to four points coming into the pay off period. Former Blue Eagle gunner Jet Nieto was quite emotional and pissed when his son Michael Nieto, the big boy who had great inside presence, fell down and hurt his forearm. Dr. Jet came to the rescue in aid of his son to ice the forearm so that he can go back to the game. Michael teamed up with his twin brother Matthew, Enzo Joson, Thirdy Ravena and Sheik Cariño to turn back the last ditch effort of the Stallions to salvage the win. In the end it was heart and defense that spelled the difference.
The Back to Back SBP Champions
Basketball runs in the genes of all these players, specially the ones who have fathers who played in the PBA. But none was prouder than the father of Sheik Cariño who was judged as tournament MVP. Aside from the proud dad was a proud uncle who is an avid basketball fan - ME! Congratulations to Sheik for being the MVP and more importantly the whole SBP basketball team together with head Coach PJ Navarro who is the younger brother of my classmate Allan and son of former Grade School professor Ulpiano Navarro.
Rafa Racela - #17 Matthew Nieto (12)
Michael Nieto wearing his father's # 7 and Martin Mendoza # 10
Obviously their parents were present in the stands, Blue Eagle Yuri Escueta and San Miguel Point Guard Olsen Racela rooting for Rafa, Blue Eaglet Keifer Ravena with mom Mossy Ravena rooting for Thirdy, former Blue Eagles Jett Nieto cheering on his twins Matthew and Michael while Albert Mendoza was there for son Martin Mendoza as was Blue Eagles head coach Norman Black. A lot of Blue Eaglets were also there supporting the team while former Lady Eagles assistant coach Joey Mendoza. On the other part of the stands were Donnie Puno together with his dad Atty. Dong Puno.
Hope springs eternal for the Ateneo for these kids will most probably be the team of Ateneo 2016-2020!!! One Small Fight for the young ones in Blue and White.