Sunday, July 18, 2010

Blue Eagles outlast Growling Tigers

At center, #18 Justin Chua

Three years ago, Ateneo head coach Norman Black took notice on a junior center playing in the Tiong Lian league as this center led his team to the finals and eventually the title. Playing for the Chang Kai Shek Dragons that center scored 29 points, grabbed 19 rebounds and blocked 10 shots in game 1 and had another triple double in game 2 with 17 points, 13 boards and 10 blocks as they dethroned the defending champion Xavier Stallions.. His outstanding performance earned the nod of Ateneo head coach Norman Black who eventually got him to play for the Blue Eagles in the 71st season of the UAAP. Unfortunately, that was the last time Justin Chua was heard off as he languished on the bench as Rabah Al-Husaini's back up and the expectations on his game died out.

Chua blocks Jeric Teng's shot

Today, against the UST Growling Tigers, Chua emerged from his slumber and gave led the Ateneo Blue Eagles to a 68 - 56 win as he scored 17 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and swatted away 4 shots. He is slowly but surely coming into the mold of a long line of Ateneo centers that have played under Coach Norman, to boot he is now next in line and will be alongside the names of Doug Kramer, Ford Arao and Rabah Al-Husaini. Chua together with the other centers, Frank Golla and Jumbo Escueta combined for 29 points which is right around the point production of Al-Husaini last year.

Eric Salamat still contributed
even if he has not fully recovered

The Tigers were a tough nut to crack as the two Jeric's - Teng and Fortuna kept the Espana dribblers on top with their no nonsense play. Clark Bautista also waxed hot early as he led a 12 -2 run that gave the Tigers an early 27 - 20 lead in the second quarter. The Eagles through main man Nico Salva came back as the Kobe clone scored on jumpers to keep the Blue Eagles at bay. Just as the Tigers were about to close out the Blue Eagles with a 5 point lead, Eric Salamat closed the first half with a four point play. At this point in the season Eric is still recuperating from a contusion he suffered in the FEU game.

Nico Salva scored 10 first half points

Both teams battled through the third quarter with the Blue Eagles getting a five point lead after Frank Golla and Art dela Cruz joined hands with Jumbo Escueta as the Blue Eagles pounded the shaded lane. Chua's heroics came in the fourth quarter as he scored on three jumpers and a lay in as the men in Blue and White shut down the Tiger's offense and their offense went to full blast. It was the second win of the Blue Eagles and this one was won through sheer focus in the 4th quarter, good defense and finding the person with the hot hand. Next stop - the Green Archers.

Frank was straight to the point

The scores:

Ateneo 68 – Chua 17, Salva 14, Monfort 8, Golla 7, Salamat 7, dela Cruz 6, Escueta 5, Austria 2, Long 2, Buenafe 0, Tiongson 0.

UST 56 – Bautista 11, Teng 10, Camus 8, Fortuna 7, Mariano 7, Afuang 4, Pe 4, Aytona 2, Marata 2, Daquioag 1, Lo 0, Mamaril 0, Tinte 0, Wong 0.

Quarter scores: 15-14, 31-32, 51-46, 68-56.

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