Category Archives: uaap finals

A championship series to remember. Well played Tigers and Archers.

I’m writing this blog entry with an heavy heart. After all that happened today and all the heartbreak and bittersweet thoughts that I have over the past couple of hours, as the basketball season of UAAP Season 76 all came down to one game. As the UST Growling Tigers battled with the De La Salle Green Archers for the right to be crowned the new UAAP men’s basketball champion in 6 years.

But before we got to that moment, let’s look back at the events that led to this moment. 

UST came in as the 4th seed in the Final Four after finishing 9-5 in the elimination round where they were hampered with injuries and tough losses. But they peaked at the right moment after they picked up a huge win over the FEU Tamaraws in double overtime, then surviving three knockout games which included a win that dethroned the defending champion Ateneo Blue Eagles to end the elimination round, and defeating the top-seeded NU Bulldogs twice to become the 1st #4 seed to knock out a #1 seed in the UAAP Final Four thus returning to the Finals for the second consecutive season.

As for La Salle, they struggled in the first round of eliminations finishing only at 3-4, but they found their groove in the second round as they finished with a 7-0 sweep to give them a 10-4 record, since they were tied for 1st place with NU and the FEU Tamaraws, NU got the top seed due to the quotient system. So the Archers and Tamaraws battled for 2nd place and a twice-to-beat advantage in their Final Four matchup. La Salle won that game handily, then when the Final Four began, the Tamaraws fought hard, however the Archers pulled off the breaks to book their ticket to the Finals for the first time since 2008.

Once the dust settled, UST and La Salle were left standing for all the marbles. One thing that made this matchup special is the battle of the Teng brothers as older brother Jeric of UST battles his brother Jeron of La Salle in what would be their first and last battle in the UAAP Finals. Aside from that, it’s the battle of the coaches with very contrasting personalities as the emotionally charged Pido Jarencio of UST went to war against the calm and calculated Juno Sauler of La Salle.

In Game 1, UST won by a solitary point 73-72 after Karim Abdul blocked the possible game winner of LA Revilla in the winding moments of the game. While in Game 2, La Salle won by 7 points 77-70 led by their twin towers of Arnold Van Opstal and Norbert Torres which set up this moment. Game 3 between the Tigers and Archers, one game for all the marbles.

As the game went along, both teams played with everything they have. The Tigers started hot in the first half while the Archers struggled to score baskets. King Tiger Jeric Teng and Karim Abdul led the charge for the Tigers in the first half and the Tigers went in with 8 point lead at halftime. Then in the second half, the Tigers kept on scoring big against the Archers, but everything changed as the Archers mad a furious rally to take the lead before John Sheriff bailed the Tigers out with a shot at the buzzer to keep the lead heading into the fourth. In the 4th quarter, both teams traded baskets. With the game tied at 65, the Tigers had a chance to win with 6 seconds left. But Aljon Mariano, missed the shot. Thus we went into overtime. Fatigue came into play as both teams struggled to score baskets. Then Jeric Teng gave the Tigers a two point lead with over a minute to go. Jeron Teng got into the lane and drew the foul where he split his free throws but Mariano who got the rebound turns the ball over setting up a clutch jumper by Almond Vosotros to give the Archers a one point lead. Then LA Revilla split his free throws to extend the lead to 2 for La Salle. The Tigers had their chances to tie or win the game. But Abdul missed on a tough trey as the Archers survived and won the game 71-69. The Archers win the title for the first time since 2007 and La Salle coach Juno Sauler did what UST coach Pido Jarencio pulled off in 2006 by winning the title as a rookie coach in the UAAP.

It was an emotional moment, as both the Teng brothers went through a lot of emotions, especially Jeric Teng who played out his final game in a Tigers uniform in the UAAP and the fact that he will not walk away with the championship. Jeron would win the Finals MVP trophy and had some nice words for his older brother. One special moment after the game was when the runner-up trophy was given to UST, the Lasallian faithful in attendance went on to cheer “Go USTe!” and when La Salle got their championship trophy, the Thomasian faithful went on to cheer “Animo La Salle!”. Well this shows, that the DLSUST friendship is alive and indeed true.

 Photo ©InterAKTV

It’s an heartbreaking yet bittersweet moment for myself, heartbreaking with the fact that I will not get to experience the celebration of a championship for UST as a student, added to the fact that I wasn’t watching the game live at the Mall of Asia Arena which meant that I wasn’t able to watch a single game this UAAP season. While, it’s bittersweet since I said to myself that even if La Salle wins the title. I would still be happy for them. 

At the end of the day though, it was indeed a championship series to remember, and I will always be proud to go all in for the BLACK GOLD, BLACK WHITE!

Congratulations to the De La Salle Green Archers, you deserve the championship.

A big kudos to the UST Growling Tigers, you’ve been through a lot of challenges this season and you made it a series to remember. To the graduating players Jeric Teng and Clark Bautista we will miss you putting up a UST jersey in the UAAP.

All hope is not lost though, we still have the chance to defend our PCCL title this year.
But for now, UAAP basketball for 2013 draws to a close.

Go USTe! Animo La Salle! Thank you for a great series.
K-Smoove

In VICTORY or DEFEAT, WE are PROUD of OUR HEROES.

After 5 days of all the verbal battles off the court, even controversies shaking the relationship of both schools (even La Salle was involved in the mix). The action resumed at the Smart Araneta Coliseum for Game 2 of the UAAP Finals between the UST Growling Tigers and the Ateneo Blue Eagles.

But before the action, there was an awarding ceremony for all the individual award winners of the UAAP season. Where the Rookie of the Year award was given to Jeron Teng of the DLSU Green Archers. The Mythical Five included FEU’s Terrence Romeo, DLSU’s Jeron Teng, NU’s Ray Ray Parks, ADMU’s Greg Slaughter and UST’s own Karim Abdul, and the season’s Most Valuable Player Award once again went to NU’s Ray Ray Parks for the second straight season. One cool thing about was when Jeron Teng was awarded with the Rookie of the Year, the UST Yellow Jackets played the “Animo La Salle” cheer. Showing the respect and camaraderie between UST and La Salle.

After the awarding ceremony, it’s GAME TIME! It was a tightly-contested game as both teams battled out of the gates trading baskets and leads. At halftime, the game was tied at 29. Both teams also kept in step in the 2nd half taking leads and making comebacks for control of the game. However, all the breaks in the end game went to the Eagles as 4th year guard Juami Tiongson delivered heroics both on offense and defense where he made a big shot with under 2 minutes left in the game, and with the game at 62-65 with 7 seconds left in the 4th. the Tigers having a chance to tie the game with a three pointer he intercepted Clark Bautista’s pass intended for Jeric Fortuna as the Blue Eagles melt the clock to secure a five-peat winning over the Tigers 62-65, and also redeeming their loss to the Tigers in 2006.

Box score:

UST (62) –  Fortuna 20, Teng 9, Lo 8, Abdul 8, Ferrer 7, Bautista 6, Mariano 4, Vigil 0, Pe 0, Afuang 0
ADMU (65) – Ravena 25, Slaughter 15, Tiongson 10, Salva 8, Chua 6, Gonzaga 3, Sumalinog 1, Golla 0, Elorde 0, Buenafe 0

The 5th championship trophy for the Blue Eagles also marks the end of an era in Ateneo basketball. As head coach Norman Black, after spending 8 seasons with the Blue Eagles bids farewell with a resounding “BANG!” as he secures his 5th UAAP title and leaves the team to come back to the PBA to coach for the Talk ‘n Text Tropang Texters. He also surpassed the feats of legendary UST coach Aric Del Rosario who led the Growling Tigers to four titles from 1993 to 1996 and also the legendary DLSU coach Franz Pumaren who led the Archers to it’s version of a four-peat from 1998 to 2001. However, he will not be able to surpass the feat of the legendary UE coach Baby Dalupan who led the Red Warriors to seven straight UAAP titles from 1965 to 1971(including the 1967 season where they were named co-champions with UST). It is also a sweet farewell for Nico Salva who wins his second straight Finals MVP trophy in his final season with the team, Salva alongside Justin Chua, Tonino Gonzaga and Oping Sumalinog as they are the four players who were there from the beginning of their five-peat in 2008 until this season. Also bidding their farewell for the Blue Eagles are Greg Slaughter and Ryan Buenafe as both menwill not be back next season due to eligibility. However, Buenafe leaves the UAAP with four UAAP titles including a Finals MVP award which he won in 2010, and Slaughter will leave the Eagles with two UAAP titles, and yes, there will be another Bonfire for the 5th straight season in Katipunan.

Next season, a lot of questions are in the air for the Blue Eagles, with MVP (Manny V. Pangilinan), Ateneo’s then-devoted sports patron cutting his ties with the university and coach Norman Black’s exit from the UAAP. Who will call the shots for the Blue Eagles? and how will Kiefer Ravena fare next season without Salva and Slaughter? Ateneo, would still haveplayers from this championship season. Yet they will be coming in next season very young as 6 of their veterans will leave the team at the end of the season.

As for our heroes the UST Growling Tigers, despite falling short this season. They overachieved and exceeded expectations, as most critics thoughtthe Tigers would just be in the mix for the Final Four. Nobody outside the players, the coaching staff and the Thomasian community thought the Tigers will make it to the Finals. This is a very huge learning experience for our heroes, and I’m sure they will be better next season. 

However, this is the last game for two of our heroes in the UAAP, “The Captain” Jeric Fortuna, who was the steady court general who orchestrated UST’s offense and the one delivered some of the biggest baskets this season for the team. Another player who played his final game was Melo Afuang who was a steady rebounder despite his lack of height at the power forward position. Both Fortuna and Afuang went through the ups and downs of the Tigers for the last five years. They were there when times were rough when the Tigers failed to make the Final Four in 2008 and 2010 (in which they ended the season at 4-10). They were also there when the Tigers made their resurgence last year and this season. I wish them the best of luck on their future endeavors. The chants of “Fortuna!” rained down the coliseum as the Thomasian crowd on hand at the Big Dome showed their love for the court general who led his team through every challenge that stood in their way and considered as one of the best players to ever wear a UST uniform.

THANK YOU JERIC! THANK YOU MELO!

As for the other players who will be back in the fold next year, players like Jeric Teng, Aljon Mariano, Clark Bautista, Karim Abdul, Kevin Ferrer, Kim Lo, Louie Vigil, Paulo Pe and the rest of the team. We’re sure that they will gain from this experience of being in the Finals of the UAAP, and doing it against no less than the reigning champions is something in itself an achievement. They will be back stronger and more inspired next season, as their quest to bring the glory back to España will have to wait for at least the next season. Finally to Coach Pido Jarencio, who has been marred in controversy for the past few days. He did a great job this season, because he led UST to it’s first 10+ win season since 1999 where they also finished in 2nd place in the standings before falling short in the Finals against the De La Salle Green Archers in three games. He also kept his players in check and has served as an inspiration, not only to the players, but also to the entire Thomasian community for his humbleness and humility which has won the hearts and support of the whole Thomasian community over the years. I hope he stays for next season to lead the Tigers back to the promised land. At the end of the day, In victory or defeat, we are still proud of our heroes.

Photo ©Karl Carandang

Watching the UAAP Finals this season, has been a rewarding one for me personally. Even though, the story-book ending I wished for did not happen this year. It was a great feeling to be in one with the Thomasian community inside the arena, showing their support for our heroes. From the yellow ballons on the cheer of “Go USTe!” to the fansigns and bobbleheads, to the loud cheers, and to the crowd wave which was a flashback moment from the 1990’s during UST’s legendary run of four championships. Either we celebrate in VICTORY or suffer in DEFEAT. Nothing beats the UST crowd showing their full support for the team. Even Ateneo coach Norman Black quotes:

“I coach for Ateneo but I’m in love with the “Go USTe” cheer! I hear it in my sleep.”

Also, I got to watch these games with my blockmates and friends which is a great thing for me. Knowing the fact, two years ago and last year, I never expectedto watch a basketball game with them, because back then, they do not share the same love of basketball as I do. Thank God, it happened this year, and I hope by next season, we’ll be there to watch the games again this time with more friends coming along with us.

So that concludes another season of UAAP Basketball.
Once again, congratulations to the Ateneo Blue Eagles for winning their 5th straight title.

Congratulations as well to our heroes, the UST Growling Tigers for a great season nonetheless.
See you next season!

Go USTe! One for UST! Viva Santo Tomas!
Go Ateneo! One Big Fight!
K-Smoove

A good game that could have been great.

A dream was realized by the thousands of Thomasian students and alumni, as for the first time in six years. The UST Growling Tigers are back in the UAAP Finals for Men’s Basketball, and they faced off against no less than the team they defeated the last time they were in this scenario, the current four-time reigning champions, the Ateneo Blue Eagles. The players may have been different from the time these two teams last faced off in the Finals, but the feeling is still there. It was a dream for me to see the Tigers on the hunt for the UAAP title in my Thomasian student life. I’m happy it has finally happened on my third year at the university.

I was one of the lucky 20,686 in attendance at the Mall of Asia Arena who got to witness the very first game of this great series. Even though I was seated in the General Admission section of the arena, I still had a good view of the game and it was all worth the three hour wait that me and my friends had to go through to get tickets for the game. Notable people were there as former UST and Ateneo players from their battle in 2006 were featured. People like UST’s Dylan Ababou, Jervy Cruz, Japs Cuan, Jojo Duncil as well as Ateneo’s JC Intal, Doug Kramer, Macky Escalona, Chris Tiu to name a few. Even La Salle’s Jeron Teng came out to support his older brother Jeric.

The game was a treat, a beautiful game from the start as in the 1st half, the Tigers were bringing their A-game on the Eagles and at halftime, UST was leading 38-31. However, in the second half the Eagles went on a 17-0 blitz to take the lead heading in to the 4th quarter. In the 4th, the Tigers living up to their moniker as the “Comeback Cats” of the UAAP made another comeback from a 10 point deficit at the end of the 3rd, Taking a 64-63 lead on a Karim Abdul dunk. However, the Eagles would not be denied from that point despite a furious run by the Tigers, as the Eagles escape with a Game 1 victory 83-78 taking them to a 1-0 lead in the series and a victory away from their 5th straight UAAP title in men’s basketball.

Nico Salva had a career night for the Blue Eagles scoring 30 points on an excellent shooting night for the graduating forward and last year’s Finals MVP. Kiefer Ravena only scored 13 points, however he sank the dagger shot which sealed the victory for the Eagles. Guard Juami Tiongson added 12 points and Ryan Buenafe scored 10 points.

Jeric Teng led the Tigers with 25 points, while Aljon Mariano added 22 points and 11 rebounds. Kevin Ferrer scored 13 points. While Karim Abdul was only limited to 9 points before fouling out in the final seconds of the game. On a side note, forward Melo Afuang was sidelined at the hospital and missed the game.

Box Scores:

UST (78) – Teng 25, Mariano 22, Ferrer 13, Abdul 9, Fortuna 4, Lo 3, Pe 2, Bautista 0.

ADMU (83) – Salva 30, Ravena 13, Tiongson 12, Buenafe 10, Chua 9, Slaughter 5, Gonzaga 2, Elorde 2, Sumalinog 0, Golla 0.

Quarter-by-quarter scores: 24-18, 38-31, 51-61, 78-83

With these great statlines and moments, the game’s finish was marred with controversy. The last two calls of the game, one was about Karim Abdul’s fifth and final foul which was shown on the replay drew flak among the UST gallery on had at the venue as Abdul had a clean swipe of the ball on Kiefer Ravena who selled the call well, and the second call in which Jeric Teng shot a three pointer over Ryan Buenafe in which the referee signaled for a foul, yet no free throws were given. As the final buzzer sounded off, UST coach Pido Jarencio showed his disappointment with the calls of the referees and the whole UST gallery inside the arena were jeering the referees. Let’s make that clear, the UST gallery were not jeering the Blue Eagles and the Ateneo gallery inside thearena.

At the post-game interview, coach Pido Jarencio showed his disappointment over the bad calls. Here are some quotes from his interview.

“I’m not against Ateneo. Pero bakit ganun? Unfair naman sa min, dahil UST lang kami ganun ang tawagan? Sana ayusin nila. Kundi baka magkaroon ng people power dito.”


“Sa akin, basta kami nag-e-enjoy lang kami. We enjoy the game. Ako positive ako sa team namin. Binigyan namin ng magandang laban ang Ateneo. Pero wag naman ganun. Sa atin lang, parehas naman tayo lumaban. Sana kung tinuturuan ko yung mga player na saktan mo ito. Saktan mo iyan, duraan mo ito, duraan mo iyan. Tayo fair and square ang laban natin. Yung mga players, kaya mahal ako niyan at kaya mahal ko rin sila, kung ano yung tinuro ko, yun ang nilalabas nila. Walang kalokohan. Walang bahid na pagdududa sa mga tinuturo ko. Kaya yung mga players ang puso buong buo.”

“Second coming. Tapos na nung elimination, may pangalawa na naman. Ganito na naman. Nakakasawa rin”

“No, walang complaint. Basta ako umakyat ako, bumunot ako ng referee as sinabi ko sa kanila. Physical game ito Let the players decide the game not the referees.”

“Ang ninipis ng tawag, ang kakapal ng mukha. Sana marinig lang din nila ako. Eh kasi naaawa ako sa mga estudyante babayad 250, pipila madaling araw. Ala una ng madaling araw nandyan na para mapanood lang kami. Mapanood Ateneo-UST game tapos gaganunin lang. De-deprive kami ng fair officiating. Bahala na sila. Ma-ko-konsensya din yang lintik na yun.”

People had mixed reactions with Coach Jarencio’s statement, some showed sympathy with him. While others called him a “sore loser” for the statement he made with the media. But as we know, coach Jarencio did not have complaints on officiating until this game which has higher stakes than a elimination round game.

Coming off from a perspective of a Thomasian student who watch the games for the love of basketball. Even though the game did not end in UST’s favor, It was still a “good” game. Both the Tigers and the Eagles gave their hearts out all game long and the fact I still have a lot of respect for the Ateneo community knowing I have friends having their education with the university. However, the game could have been “great” if not for all the bad calls whether the game ended with an Ateneo victory or a UST victory. What all Thomasians want is “One Clean Fight!”and we hope that in Game 2 when Ateneo is just a victory away from a five-peat and UST hoping to force a winner-take-all Game 3, we get a clean and great game. I’m sure if Ateneo ended up in the same situation, they’ll also show their disappointment with the outcome.

Game 2 of the UAAP Finals will be played at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on October 11, Thursday. TV coverage begins at 3pm on Studio 23. If the Blue Eagles win, they will clinch their 5th consecutive UAAP title. However, if the Growling Tigers win, they will force a winner-take-all Game 3 on October 13, Saturday back at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Remember, the Tigers this season had not lost at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. They are at 7-0 which included their 71-70 first round victory against the Blue Eagles, and in the 2006 UAAP Finals. Ateneo took Game 1, but UST came back to win the next two games on their way to their first UAAP basketball title since 1996 when they capped of their version of a four-peat with legendary coach Aric del Rosario who is now calling the shots for the Perpetual Altas of the NCAA.

Ironically, I was in 1st year high school when UST and Ateneo squared off in the UAAP Finals in 2006 and I chose the Blue Eagles to win the title. But as we know, fate had other things in mind. Now, six years later, I’m a Thomasian student rooting for the Tigers to win this season. We know that these guys have what it takes to bounce back from adversity.

BELIEVE! KEEP THE FAITH! NEVER SAY DIE!
Go USTe! One for UST! Viva Santo Tomas!
We are Fueled for UST!

K-Smoove