Sunday, June 30, 2013

Blue Eagles drop UAAP opener

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
Ateneo (54)
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

"ANIM OH ATENEO!" - The Fellow-SIX of the RING.

Awaiting the sixth

What is it with men and basketball? The wife of my friend once said “don’t you get tired of watching basketball? Friday, Saturday, Sunday and weekdays all you do is watch the same sport!” Some people just don’t understand it.  A lot of people say that it’s a world wide phenomenon but for me its something that started almost thirty years ago when i was a freshman in High School.  First I fell in love with the Ateneo Blue Eaglets who at that time were coming off a second place finish in the 45th season of the UAAP. Eventually the Eaglets would win four straight junior UAAP titles, all of them in my 4 years in high school.  After four seasons watching the Blue Eaglets, I eventually moved on to become one of the most ardent fans of their Seniors counterparts – the Blue Eagles.

Twenty five years has passed and the result was eight seniors crowns and ten juniors titles to which  most i witnessed  happen.  At the same time I have become friends with a lot of Blue Eagles and more importantly, the core of our barkada who I went to watch the Blue Eagles then are still alive and kicking in supporting the Men in Blue.  Like what we always say, this is the tradition that we were immersed to when we were teens and this is now what we carry on and pass to the next generation of Ateneans.

Whenever me and my friends get together, the never ending topic thru the years is who is the King Eagle for the year. This decade we are very lucky to have lots of them specially now that the Ateneo team has so many fans who are not Ateneans which was caused by the fact that the UAAP games are shown on tv. There’s Chris Tiu, Rabah AL-Husaini, Greg Slaughter, Nico Salva and lately its a consensus that the Blue Eagles top man is Kiefer Ravena. Teaming up with Kiefer is someone who has the same basketball IQ and will definitely play big this year,  the 2010 UAAP Finals MVP Ryan Buenafe.  We had the rare opportunity to talk to Ryan as our barkada gave him a send off for his last playing year.  It was a nice opportunity to hear the latest stories about the team, the coaching staff and the preparations for this season. In the past season, our barkada was always seen eating at the Adriatico restaurant after every game at the Araneta Coliseum. Ryan and at times some Blue Eagles would always pass  by to share some laughs.  

Six is it

This season, the Blue Eagles are not favored to win it all. But to the team, what is on paper does not necessarily translate to the heart and soul of the team. Backing up Kiefer and Ryan are our bigs, the vastly improved Frank Golla, the comebacking JP Erram and former Youth campaigner G-Boy Babilonia.  Kris Porter will sit out this year because of his knee problems and former Blue Eaglet Ivan Enriquez will take his slot, there is also rookie Vince Tolentino who will be around to contribute while the wings will be covered by often injured Gwynne Capacio, the vastly improved Von Pessumal and the second coming of Mr Excitement – Chris “Awesome” Newsome.  The guards will be led by a 5-peat seeking Juami Tiongson, the defensive demon Nico Elorde, the much improved Isaac Lim Team B call ups Earl Murphy and Fran Asuncion and rookie three point specialist Anton Asistio. The team is a mix of battle tested veterans and just the right up and coming players who will be able to contribute just enough for the team.  In the UAAP Press conference the Blue Eagles were seeded sixth which to the fans is an insult but to the Coach is a challenge.  Coach Bo Said, whatever happens the Ateneo community demands a lot from  me to excel this year. 

This is what we still do in during the games

Favored to win it all this year is the National University Bulldogs who will have 2 time MVP Ray Parks, mythical 5 selectee Emmanuel Mbe and a solid supporting cast that includes another African player Alfred Aroga. The University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers still have the troika of Jeric Teng, Karim Abdul and Aljon Mariano. The University of the East Red Warriors have one of the best point guards in college Basketball in Roi Sumang and a beast in middle with Charles Mammie who will be backed up by old reliables in Chris Javier, JP Noble and Lord Casajeros.  The Far Eastern University Tamaraws on the other hand will parade a new coach in Nash Racela who is tasked to make RR Garcia and Terrence Romeo produce good music together. The DLSU Green Archers who made a lot of noise during the off season has become badly depleted that they just submitted a 13 man line up for this season.  Leading the Archer’s  is the slippery LA Revilla,the sweet shooting Almond Vosotros, rookie of the year Jeron Teng and big men Arnold Van Opstal and Norberto Torres. To wrap things up, the UP Fighting Maroons had a lot of veterans leave but are optimistic with their new acquisitions.  The Maroons will have Center Chris Ball to lean on while the comebacking Sam Marata will most probably be the focal point of their offense.

Good luck..bring the sixth

There are teams that play hard, play with pride and play with heart. What separates the Blue Eagles from all their counterparts is that all of them have all those qualities which eventually translates to wins and hopefully another Bonfire in Katipunan.  This year, the "felllow-SIX" of the ring for a  six- peat is quite harder for this team, its even harder than the 2010 conquest but as Ryan said it is doable and not impossible, they just have to believe in themselves to will it to happen.  To my barkada, its the UAAP season once again, let the ticket hunting begin. Good luck to the Ateneo Blue Eagles, we are still belieVIng that we will win it all and we pray that at the end of the season we will all be cheering ANIM-OH ATENEO!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

STI signs MOA with PSC

“There will come a time that our athletes will retire from the sport they love and will no longer be fit to compete. That is the time that the value of an education comes in.” This was what the STI Education Services Group Inc. President and CEO Mr. Monico V. Jacob said to the media after presenting the Ten Million Peso scholarship grant that STI College will be giving to the Philippine Sports Commission.

 This aid is in support of National Athletes who are in the PSC’s pool but are unable to secure a good education because of their financial status.  Mr. Jacob thanked the Honorable Chairman Richie Garcia for the opportunity to serve the country as the Official Education and Technology Partner of the Philippine Sports Commission.  At the same time, Chairman Garcia expressed his heartfelt thanks to the STI Education Services Group for renewing their commitment to help Philippine athletes.  It was in 2004 when STI and the Philippine Sports Commission started this partnership but unfortunately after some changes in the PSC some athletes forgot the aid. Through the efforts of the PSC, the partnership was once again renewed and now deserving national athletes can avail of a four year college course.

Back in 2004 it was STI that set up the computer network infrastructure of the PSC and is again committed to support the PSC by helping out their employees.  The partnership also included discounts for PSC employees and their dependents. At the same time, STI is also committed to help out in training PSC employees who are not that skilled with regards to computers and information technology. STI will set up training sessions to help PSC employees improve their skills and knowledge in computer related topic. 

Also present in the MOA signing were PSC Commissioner Mr. Wigberto Clavecilla  and former national athlete Akiko Thomson – Guevara who is also one of the Commissioners of the PSC. STI’s Executive Vice – President and Chief Operating Officer Mr. Peter K. Fernandez and Vice – President for Communications Mr. Elbert L. de Guzman were also there to witness the MOA signing. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Heat win back to back NBA titles

The Big 3 celebrate

In the NBA there are two kinds of fans, the Miami Heat fans and the Miami haters.  Unfortunately for the Heat most of the hatred of their team were brought to Miami by their leader – LeBron James.  James decided to take his talents to South Beach after feeling that his team then, the Cleveland Cavaliers will have a long hard time to surround him with the talents needed for an NBA title which to him is the ultimate goal in playing in the NBA. By transferring to Miami his quest for an NBA ring suddenly became legitimate once again and after learning a lot from another frustrating title run in 2010, LeBron eventually got his second ring today as the Heat finally put an end to the gallant stand of the San Antonio Spurs in game 7 of the 2013 NBA Finals 95- 88 to win the both the Larry O’Brien Trophy. Le Bron put aside all the negative vibes hurled at him, focused and led the Miami surge with 37 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals as he bagged his second Bill Russell trophy  to cap his scintillating NBA Finals finish.

 Wade stuffs it in

 James teamed up with a resurgent Dwayne Wade who came out with a double -double performance as he scored 23 points and also got 10 rebounds.  The two other bright spots on the Heat’s surge was the play - off seldom used Shane Battier and Mario Chalmers. Battier sank 6 for 8 from beyond the arc to contribute 18 points while Chalmers outdid Spurs point guard Tony Parker by scoring 14 points. The only missing link in the Heat trio was Chris Bosh who went 0 for 5 from the field but pulled down 7 important rebounds had 2 assists and a block. Ray Allen, Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem went scoreless too. Tim Duncan led the Spurs with 24 points and 12 rebounds while Kawhi Leonard chipped in 19 points and 16 rebounds. Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker added 18 and 10 points respectively.

Duncan vs Wade

The 2012 – 2013 version of the Miami can be described as a Team that never gave up and played better when they had their backs on the wall. In the second round they were stunned by the over achieving Chicago Bulls, in the Eastern Finals they were pounded by the Indiana Pacers and in the NBA finals they were on the brink of losing the title but just like the previous year, they found ways to get together and eventually win the game and eventually the series. In game 6, with 28 seconds left and facing a five point deficit, hordes of Miami fans left the stadium, the court was being cordoned off in preparation for the awarding ceremonies and the Spurs were on the verge of celebrating a fifth title when the worst meltdown in NBA finals history happened. Credit that to the Heat’s resilience who never gave up and found a way to force a game 7.

Bosh was a flop on offense

To the San Antonio Spurs, you have nothing to be ashamed of. Coach Gregg Popovich is a class on his own as he figured a way to stop Lebron and more importantly devised innovative sets to be able to have his shooters come out shooting with guns ablaze. If there is one person who will always be remembered in this series it’s got to be Danny Green who has become the fourth weapon of the Spurs and is ready to take the spot of Manu Ginobli as a part of the new big 3.

LeBron went 5 of 10 from beyond the arc

Now that the season is over, a lot of teams will surely beef up their line ups for a chance to stop the Heat from getting a third straight title. The Pacers are a player or two away from that, Kevin Durant & Russel Westbrook will surely come back next year with vengeance, and don’t forget the Black Mamba. At the same time a lot of NBA stars will test the waters of free agency and a lot of trades will be done to be able to match the Heat who themselves need a  lot of tweaking to do in the off season.

Focus on the game and not what people say

It is a fact that a lot of people hated LeBron when he transferred to Miami. But for LeBron he would rather be criticized as a winner than praised individually but come out without  a ring.  After winning two titles with the Heat Lebron has proven his critics that he made the right decision. Unfortunately for the NBA he is only 28 years old and has lots of good years ahead of him. Who knows how many he will get when his career is done. For now, two titles will suffice and let’s congratulate the rest of the Miami Heat for helping Lebron achieve his dream for that is the reason he went to south beach, to be able to get the needed help to win. 

photos courtesy of NBA.COM