Not 100%, KR still suited up
The Animo was willing, but the plays were weak. That most probably sums up the lethargic start of the six peat seeking Ateneo Blue Eagles when they went up against a well-oiled machine named National University and even though the five time defending champs eventually found their range the game was already beyond recall and it was too late the hero for the fabled Hail Mary squad. The last time the NU Bulldogs won against the five time champs was in 2007 which was the most publicized win of the Bulldogs for that win eventually spelled doom for the Blue Eagles then. This time around, the Bulldogs were the veteran team as they whooped the katipunan squad 64 – 54.
Juami Tiongson on the drive
The match was highly publicized since it was 2-time MVP Bobby Ray Parks final opener against the man highly touted to take the MVP away from him – Kiefer Ravena. Unfortunately for the Blue Eagles, Ravena suffered a freak accident days before the game that hampered his usually explosive first step. Ravena missed all four of his three pointers and as a consolation scored only two points. Unlike Ravena, Parks made notice that he is up to get a third consecutive MVP as he coasted along to score 22 points along with nine rebounds and four assists. Parks doused cold water to the rally of the Blue Eagles as he sank a three pointer with two minutes remaining to give the Bulldogs a 64 -51 lead that broke the hearts of the blue and white faithful.
The turning point
Leading the way for the Blue Eagles was five year veteran Juami Tiongson who scored all his 13 points in the second half. Igniting the Blue Eagle rally was fourth year guard Nico Elorde who was previously sent back to the bench after getting hit by Jeoffrey Javillonar in a loose ball scuffle. With the Bulldogs up by 24 points (59 -35) with 5:33 left in the game, Elorde scored 8 points in a blistering 16 -2 run that saw the Eagles trim the lead to ten 51- 61 with two minutes left until Bobby Ray Parks happened.
Ryan surveying the field
Looking at the roller coaster ride of the Blue Eagles you can sense some good points but unfortunately there were many bad points. First was the field goal shooting which saw the Eagles shoot a whopping 20 of 72 (27.8%) with 7 of 33 (21.2) coming from beyond the arc. It was also evident that the Blue Eagles were outrebounded 29 – 53 by the Bulldogs with most of the rebounds resulting into put backs which eventually widened the lead. The only bright spot was that the Eagles forced the Bulldogs to 23 turnovers which shows the kind of defense the Men in Blue employ.
JP Erram is back
This game marks the first time the Blue Eagles played completely. JP Erram is slowly getting back to form, Gboy Babilonia played limited minutes, Von Pessumal showed some spunk but was visibly bothered and Gwyne Capacio showed some brilliance but was still tentative. Another veteran playing his last year this year is forward Ryan Buenafe who started out the first quarter with 8 points but unfortunately scored just two more points after. Buenafe was content in taking jumpers and three pointers but made some nifty assists to teammates. Finally, rookie Chris “Awesome” Newsome debuted and scored 9 points after he showed some signs of being aggressive mostly in the final quarter. It’s a long climb for the Blue Eagles and we hope the pieces will slowly come together and the team will come out stronger in succeeding games. Next stop – the FEU Tamaraws.
National University (64)
Parks 22, Mbe 14, Villamor 13, Javillonar 5, Alolino 4, Rosario 2, Khobuntin 2, Alejandro 2, Rono 0, De Guzman 0
Tiongson 13, Elorde 10, Buenafe 10, Newsome 9, Erram 4, Ravena 2, Pessumal 2, Golla 2, Capacio 2, Tolentino 0, Babilonia 0
QS: 15-10, 33-21, 48-32, 64-54
thanks to Yahoo Sports for the images