Friday, October 9, 2009

Ateneo Blue Eaglets 2009 Juniors Back to Back Champs

The Ateneo Blue Eaglets,

2009 UAAP Juniors Basketball Champion

The Blue Eaglets were leading by seven points with less than three minutes left and was ready for the victory against the De La Salle Zobel Junior Archers. Unfortunately, the Eaglets were forced to turnovers, bad shots and eventually lost in overtime 98-92 as the de La Salle Zobel Junior Archers won their second UAAP Juniors title. That was the end of season 70 which was two years ago and that was the game that was still in the back of the minds of sophomore relievers Ael Banal, Al Bugarin, Tim Capacio and Freshman phenom Kiefer Ravena. That year, Ateneo was out to defend its title and win back to back while DLS-Z was back to get some respect since they did not play in the 2006 season.

Back to Back

The Blue Eaglets of season 70 was out to win the title against a gritty DLS-Z squad but unfortunately, overconfidence got the best out of the Blue Eaglets who beat the Junior Archers twice in the eliminations. Hard to say but the Junior Archers got the better ending. Come season 71, both squads were hyped to meet once again in the finals as both schools ended the eliminations with the Blue Eaglets in the number one spot while the Junior Archers occupying the second spot. The Blue Eaglets have leaned their lessons and were ready to exact revenge, but alas, the Junior Archers were beaten by the no. 3 seeded FEU Baby Tamaraws which eventually lost to the Blue Eaglets in two games in the finals. Fate has a different way of showing things since their first finals encounter was suppose to happen in the 2005 season but the Blue Eaglets lost out to the UPIS Junior squad in 2005 which paved the way for the first title of the DLS-Z Junior Archers. After the 2008 season, Juami Tiongson, JV Dumrique, Ivan Enriquez and Kevin Gamboa graduated as winners but still carried the burden of not having the chance to avenge their 2007 loss to the Junior Archers.

Elorde wants to be an Eaglet

Come Season 72 the Blue Eaglets and the Junior Archers were predicted to meet in the finals once again. This time the favorite to win was the team from Alabang who is returning with a rejuvenated squad that featured 6-3 forward Gwyne Capacio, 6-7 center Arnold Van Opstal, 6-3 Center-Forward Aiki Herrera do it all point guard Nico Elorde and sweet shooting Luigi dela Paz. In their first encounter at the start of the season, Gwyne Capacio scored 29 points and hauled down 11 rebounds to give the Junior Archers an 80-58 win. After that loss, the Blue Eaglets were clawed by the UST Tiger Cubs 82-73. The Eaglets definitely regrouped, racked up the needed wins against the other squads and more importantly beat the undefeated DLS-Z Junior Archers 84-78 for their seventh straight win. This win gave them the needed confidence that was not there in their game 1 loss to the Junior Archers. The Eaglets marched on to the final four and faced the only team they have not beaten, the UST Tiger Cubs. The Eaglets needed to beat them twice and twice they did as the Blue Eaglets became the hottest team to advance to the 2009 juniors finals.

Van Opstal on the move

The Blue Eaglets won game 1 and lost game 2 and all they needed was to remind them of the heartbreaking setback they had in 2007 that gave the DLS-Z Team their first double championship. Kiefer Ravena scored 20 points in that game and Ael Banal never found his range. This time around Ael Banal was given something most people want whenever we experience setbacks, and that is a second chance. Banal made sure that when Kiefer was having a hard time with his game that he can be counted on to deliver. Banal scored 16 points and most it came in the first half with the rest of the Eaglets helping out on defense and also on offense. Paolo Romero and Von Pessumal, the two other national team players of the Blue Eaglets came in the clutch to help out an offense starved Kiefer Ravena.

Coach Joe Silva egging on the team

Romero for his part was seldom used in game 1 and was error prone in game 2 but when he was needed In the clutch he definitely delivered. Romero scored six of his 12 points in the last three minutes as Ravena played decoy and fed off his team mates who delivered well for the Blue Eaglets. Pessumal on the other hand shackled Gwyne Capacio who was held down to only 15 points and had a hard time with the Blue Eaglets defense.

The Junior Archers have fallen

The Blue Eaglets has done it. This victory is for the 2007 team that needed a chance to redeem themselves and it was sweeter than ever since it was done in the fashion that most Ateneans are famous for- triumph of the competitive spirit against the toughest adversity. To the 10 Senior Blue Eaglets, your contributions will never be forgotten and you will forever be remembered as the Green Slayers in Ateneo High School history. For the Blue Eaglets who will return next year, Kiefer, Von, Paolo and Chucky – the journey begins once again for another historic feat.

Coach Jamike Jarin, Back to the Back

The scores:

Ateneo (61)

Banal 16, Romero 12, Pessumal 10, Ravena 9, Sinco 3, Pe 3, Capacio 3, Dumrique 2, Bugarin 2, Reyes 1,

DLS-Z (56)

Capacio 15, de la Paz 14, Van Opstal 9, Elorde 8, Herrera 6, Roxas 2, Park 2, Sevilla 0,

Quarterscores: 14-8, 22-all, 42-41, 61-56

thanks to Aaron Vicencio and the ASS for the pictures

1 comment:

dr.oolala said...

Haha!Cool! The pictures came from a Vicencio. Nico Elorde's a Vicencio!:))