Last Saturday, on a rainy day across entire metropolis with Typhoon Lando bound to hit Luzon bringing heavy rains and gusty winds over the horizon. It was an opportunity for me to do something I haven’t done in the last three years. Watch my beloved UST Growling Tigers live in action.
It has been two months since I last wrote something in this blog. When I was reeling from the heartbreak one guy from Portland, Oregon named Damian Lillard ended the playoff run of my beloved team the Houston Rockets. But yeah, I moved on from all of that. Plenty of things happened since. Now, I’m back with a new name and a new look for this blog.
Starting today, this thought ladder I built for the last two years will now be called Manila Red Nation. It’s a simple name but speaks well of who I really am. A Filipino fan of the Houston Rockets. Of course, my blog will not always talk about basketball. It will always be about my thoughts on different things happening in my life and the world around us. As with this entry, it’s a catch-up of what happened since I last wrote here.
As for Lillard and his Portland Trail Blazers, they met their Waterloo in a five game defeat to the eventual NBA Champions, the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs dethroned the two-time NBA champions Miami Heat, also in five games to claim their fifth NBA title in franchise history. Though my team failed to win it all this season. At least, the team I picked in the Finals won.
Then the 2014 NBA Draft happened. The Cleveland Cavaliers would pick Kansas forward Andrew Wiggins #1 overall in the third time they picked #1 in the last four years. Then LeBron James decided to come home and once again play for his beloved Northeast Ohio when he made his decision to return to the Cavaliers after four years in South Beach where he led them to two NBA titles. That move set off a domino effect on the other free agents across the league. Players moved teams, while some stayed. Notable moves so far were Pau Gasol to the Bulls, Paul Pierce to the Wizards, Jason Kidd to coach the Bucks, Lionel Hollins to coach the Nets. While notable hold-overs were Miami’s Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh and New York’s Carmelo Anthony.
As for the Rockets so far, Chandler Parsons left for the Mavericks, Jeremy Lin was traded to the Lakers, Omer Asik was traded to the Pelicans. While some former Rockets returned to the fold with Trevor Ariza (from the Wizards) and Joey Dorsey (last played for FC Barcelona in Spain) returning to the fold. They will also bring Dorsey’s FC Barcelona teammate in Greek player Kostas Papanikolau which the Rockets also hold the rights for. Still, it was painful when Chris Bosh who was deemed to join the Rockets after LeBron’s move decided to stay with the Heat. So far, it’s a strikeout, the team has yet to get a possible third piece to truly contend for the title. But the off-season is far from over. Who knows what may happen.
With LeBron James coming home, it’s an opportunity for me to rekindle the time I supported “The King” during his first stint with the Cavaliers. I admit I was one of those guys who did not like see him leave Cleveland for Miami. For four years, I rooted against him and the Heat. But now that he’s back, apart from the fact that the Rockets will always be my #1 team to root for. I would love for him to lead Cleveland to an NBA championship that has been long overdue.
With NBA off-season in full swing. We also witnessed the first PBA Grand Slam in 16 years with the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers win all three conferences this season. UAAP basketball is back, in my first year to root for the UST Growling Tigers as an alumnus. I do hope the long overdue UAAP basketball title will come to España this year. And our national team Gilas Pilipinas are making their preparations for the upcoming FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain and the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea. A must-watch will be “The Last Homestand” as Gilas Pilipinas will battle the Fibr All-Stars composed of NBA stars like Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, Blake Griffin, James Harden, Paul George, Damian Lillard, Kyle Lowry, and many more and will be spearheaded by former NBA coach John Lucas coming up tomorrow at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Well, that’s enough of the basketball talk, over the last month, I watched the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil to get a taste of what the world’s #1 sport is really like. We’ve seen it all. The defending champions Spain getting knocked out early, Countries from the Americas having a field day in the group stage. The US team winning American hearts. Luis Suarez’s bite costing Uruguay. Colombia’s new ace in James (pronounced Ha-mes) Rodriguez. Brazilian star Neymar getting hurt. The host nation giving up 10 goals in their last two games to settle a disappointing 4th place behind the Netherlands. Argentina’s Lionel Messi winning the Golden Boot. But the tournament belonged to Die Mannschaft as Germany knocked off Argentina for their fourth World Cup title at the world famous Maracaña Stadium in Rio de Janeiro as Mario Götze becomes the 2014 version of Andres Iniesta with an extra time goal that propelled the Germans to the title and denying Argentina the pleasure of winning a World Cup on the soil of their eternal rivals in Brazil.
As for my personal life. Well, I’ll be looking for a job very soon. I just need some inspiration on what I will do in my life in the future. I need a few more stops to get a feel for what I need to do in life. I’d be looking forward to register for the 2016 national elections after failing 2 years ago since I made my move very late. To cap everything off, I’m looking forward to actively blog here once again especially with the new look and new inspiration I’m getting with the name change.
So with all that I have written today. I welcome you to the new face of my thought ladder that is Manila Red Nation.
This blog entry is dedicated to my late grandmother Juliana “Inay Laki” Deriquito-Reyes who passed away last June 13 at the age of 89.
Coming off the shelf!
I was browsing through Facebook, when I saw an invite to an event for Tuesday, when I read it, I was pumped up! Because the man behind the book “Pacific Rims” and the National Geographic Channel documentary “Pinoy Hoops” Rafe Bartholomew is coming back to the Philippines for a book signing at his old stomping grounds while he was in the country to write his book in the Katipunan area of Quezon City.
So with no hesitation, I went half-day for work on Tuesday, took the LRT from UST to Katipunan and I went straight to the venue which was Gino’s Brick Oven Pizza just across the campuses of Miriam College and Ateneo de Manila University. Since I didn’t have lunch prior to getting there, I took time to eat my lunch there, and their pizza was very delicious and I’d be happy to come back if given the chance. Then at mid-day the man finally arrived. When the book signing was about to start, a crew from ABS-CBN came along with former UST courtside reporter Tina Marasigan to conduct an interview with Rafe, which took awhile. Afterwards, the owner of the place who happens to be a close friend of Rafe opened up the day with a question and answer part. I threw in a question to him where I asked about the chances of Gilas Pilipinas in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain. Where the best case is that they’ll get to pass the second round while the worst case is that they fail to win a game in the tournament, but he also said the team could be one of the darlings of the tournament. I also happen to give him a suggestion on a possible second season of Pinoy Hoops where they should look at the college game, not only limited to the UAAP and NCAA, but also to other parts of the country where I mentioned Cebu who also has a rich basketball history.
Afterwards, the book signing began. Since I came in first, I got to have my copy of his book Pacific Rims signed up first. Since I happen to follow him on Twitter, I was surprised he read this blog especially my articles about Gilas Pilipinas and my NBA Global Games experience. He also happens to know my obsession for the Houston Rockets, which gave a huge smile on my face. Best part of it all was we got to converse in Filipino of which he’s fluent for a little while.
It was a unique experience for myself, I really hope that my friends can come in and jump the train with me the next time he comes back.
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.
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.
My recent illness the past couple of days has been keeping me on the shelf, as much as I tried to come to school to finish the week off, the illness still bugs me today. Even so, I’m writing this entry today to regain my confidence back and to write again after a long hiatus due to my schedule loaded with a lot of schoolwork. Besides, I’m getting better with every hour.
Picking up from where I left off, the journey through this whirlwind of a semester went through a massive detour once the results of the preliminary examinations came out last month, and it wasn’t a pretty sight as the struggles I endured during the first half of the semester finally showed up. Despite the setback, there is still another half of the semester to bounce back and recover. I’m not giving up and will give everything I can to finish the semester strong so that we can move forward into taking up practicum at a tourism establishment.
In addition, once the preliminary examinations were done, my training resumed for the competition at hand which is the Final Round of the 5th PHILTOA Tourism Quiz Bee. The bad weather prior to the competition took out most of my training time as class suspensions came along the way. But, I just had enough training to get me prepared for the big day. Then on September 7, it all came down to one afternoon at the SMX Convention Center as I competed with 10 other contestants in the Final Round. I was happy that my family and friends were there to support me in the competition. It was a tightly contested battle, the questions as expected were pretty tough especially those involving manual computations. Apparently, I almost won the event. However, I ended up in 2nd Place since the champion was able to answer a difficult question which was worth more points. Despite that, I’m happy with what I achieved in this competition, especially the fact that last year, I didn’t made it to the Final Round and in the semi-finals this year, I barely made it through the Top 10. To quote Mr. Cesar Cruz, PHILTOA President: “Bumawi ‘tong bata na to.” “This kid came back.” The following day, I came back to receive the award and winnings that came along with the victory.
This is my 200th blog entry since I opened this blog over a year ago. It’s been almost two months since I last wrote an entry here. Never did I think, that I’m writing this one in the middle of the monsoon rains that is caused by the typhoon up north in Taiwan. Well, the rains caused suspension of classes which opened up time for me to write this one. So yeah, as the title goes, it’s time for me to catch up on some of the things that happened from the time I wrote my last entry almost 6 weeks ago.
We start back on the week after the retreat, least did I expect that the lessons I got from the retreat would not kick in right away. I was hoping to come out swinging afterwards. But it wasn’t easy and I still had difficulty in catching up with things. But yeah, I was reminded that “storms” in our life will come after the retreat and so I calmed down and re-channel my attention on the important matters.
Then later in the week, another competition came along for me, the first one for the year which was the NLEX Tara Na Sa Norte Quiz Bee at the Atrium in Robinson’s Place Ermita Manila. I competed with a pair, which was my recruit from the third year Chamille. 9 schools competed in the competition. Well, it took awhile to finish the competition as there were a lot of controversies with regards with the questions. Despite that, it was a tightly contested battle. In the end however, we came out as champions by a mere solitary point. So we took home the cash prize of P5,000 which we later split as well as a certificate at the same time we had a celebratory meal at Yellow Cab. Then a couple of days later, our victory got put on a tarpaulin outside of our building.
The first semester of A.Y. 2012-13 at the University of Santo Tomas, has come to an end. This has been a semester full of stories. Stories that I will share with you in this blog entry.
First up I would like to call: “Winning for Santo Tomas.”
I competed in two quiz bees this semester representing the university at this year’s PHILTOA Quiz Beeand the International Tourism and Trade Expo Quiz Bee. As one of the three representatives of the university, it was a great privilege for me to compete for the university in competitions.
At the PHILTOA Quiz Bee that was held on July 11 at the Department of Tourism building in Manila, in which we competed individually. All of us made it to the semi-final round. Unfortunately, none of us made it into the Top 10 of the competition who would have competed in the Finals that was held in August. It was a very good learning experience for me, shaking off the jitters I had before the competition, knowing it’s been a long time
A few days after, we competed at the International Tourism and Trade Expo Quiz Bee at the SM City North EDSA Skydome in Quezon City. This time, we competed as one team. It was a tightly-contested competition. All of our fellow competitors put up a great show. In the end, Team UST came out on top. It was my first quiz bee victory as a college student.
The first semester was also marked with our Meetings and Events Management class. Where as one section, one 3T5. We came up with the event entitled “Silhouette: A Glint in the Dark, The Search for the Next Miss Tourism Ambassadress 2012”. As one section, we had to go through at the most, 3 months of conceptualizing, preparation and the final execution of the event itself. From practices, photo shoots, prep work, setting, promotions and marketing, pre-pageant, the event proper, and a lot of things in between, there were a lot of work put on by each and every one in the class. There were a lot of challenges along the way that tested the camaraderie of the entire section to pull off an event that will be remembered by many. Even I had to “play with fire” during the whole process, sharing my own suggestions, even to points where I get into disputes and play the role of a “Devil’s Advocate”.
But in the end, all the hard work was all worth it as on one Sunday afternoon on the 23rd of September. It all came down to this event and fortunately, the event was generally a resounding success! Even though the event is finished, my work is not done. As a member of the Documentation committee, my work still continues today until all the documentation work is done and well on their way to the record books. It was also a great learning experience not only for me, but I think of all of us in the class, despite some setbacks and times when it was bad, this experience is considered as one of the best memories of my college life. 3T5 indeed, WE SHINED IN THE DARK.
Next on the list I would like to call: “One For UST!”
As a huge basketball fan, this UAAP basketball season will be one in the record books, especially if you are coming from UST. The 75th season of the UAAP is in my opinion, one of the best years to be a fan of UST Growling Tigers basketball. Where the Tigers finished 2nd in the elimination round with 10 wins and 4 losses, marking their first 10 win season since 1999. They were also call the “Comeback Cats” of the UAAP as most of their victories came off from coming back from huge deficits. The Tigers punched their ticket to the Finals by defeating the NU Bulldogs in the Final Four where they faced the four-time defending champions, the Ateneo Blue Eagles. Unfortunately, despite a valiant effort by the team and a tightly contested Finals series, the Growling Tigers were unable to repeat their feat in 2006 where they defeated the Blue Eagles coming back from a 0-1 deficit to take the championship. The Blue Eagles would sweep the series 2-0 on their way to a 5th consecutive UAAP men’s basketball title.
This season for me, I was able to watch 3 games. The first one was the 1st round battle between the Growling Tigers and the De La Salle Green Archers in the very first meeting between the Teng brothers in the UAAP as UST’s Jeric faced off against his younger brother DLSU’s Jeron. It was also my first game watching from the Patron side of the court, and I watched it together with one of my previous professors in UST who had his education in La Salle and we share Claretian roots. The gamewas tightly contested and went into two overtimes, before the Tigers would pull away for an 84-82 victory. I was able to watch both games of the UAAP Finals between UST and Ateneo, both on the nosebleed sections of the arena (Game 1 at the Mall of Asia Arena, Game 2.at the Smart Araneta Coliseum). In both games, I was able to watch them with my fellow blockmates. Two years ago and last year, I would not expect them to watch a basketball game, but now it has happened and I thank them for it. Aside from them, I also saw my other friends around the arena and outside before and after the games. Whether the game ends in victory or defeat. Nothing beats the Thomasian crowd during the game. From the thousands of Thomasian students, faculty and alumni who come to watch the games to the trademark “Go USTe!” cheer accompanied by yellow ballons as well as the loud roars and cheers from the crowd. Even a flashback from the 1990s with the Thomasian wave inside the arena during timeouts. Watching UST games this season has been a rewarding one for me, it’s a great feeling every time you watch a game live together with your friends and the entire Thomasian community in attendance at the games. I hope next season, we can do this again and the crown will go back to España!
Up next I would like to call: “Happenings in España.”
In times where there are no games at MOA Arena or at the Big Dome, and times when I’m not competing in a contest. A lot of other things has happened both inside the classroom and around campus. Inside the classroom, every subject this year has been a challenge. With most of the free time being used for the preparation of the event we organized this semester. It has been a tough challenge to take time and focus on other subjects. From the continuation of learning the French language to the calculations made in Accounting class. From the life lessons of PDSR class to the responsible acts for the environment in Ecotourism class. Even a visit on a passenger vessel for one of our school projects. Every subject this semester, has tested each and every one of us to the limit. I had to endure times of brilliance as well as times of misery, all semester long. I’m hoping I can make it back alive and well, and be back better than ever once the next semester comes.
Around campus a lot of things has also happened as well. There were plenty of suspension of classes due to bad weather and flooding not only inside and around the campus, but also in other places across the metropolis. It caused our semestral break to start a full week late than expected and also caused the postponement of the.annual Thomasian Welcome Walk for our freshies, not once, not twice, but three times when the freshies finally. get to pass the arch on September 24.
Another defining moment around campus this semester was when Queen Sofia of Spain made her visit to the UST campus. I was one of the thousands of Thomasians who were there to see her during her visit. But before the convoy arrived, a crew from Solar News arrived and asked UST students about the queen’s visit and I was one of those who were interviewed. Unfortunately, when I checked their news program later that day. They did not show it on television. Fortunately, a friend of mine took this photo when I was interviewed by the news crew.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
NEVER SAY DIE! PRIDE, PUSO, PALABAN!