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CAMPEONE! UST GROWLING TIGERS: 2012 PCCL CHAMPIONS

UST Growling Tigers
2012 PCCL CHAMPIONS
Photo ©GMA News Online


Last Friday, 57 days after suffering a bitter defeat in the UAAP Finals. The UST Growling Tigers got their revenge on the the team they lost to in the UAAP Finals this year, the Ateneo Blue Eagles as for the first time ever the Growling Tigers are the “NATIONAL CHAMPIONS” and the “BEST COLLEGIATE TEAM in the PHILIPPINES” this year as they win in the 2012 Philippine Collegiate Champions League Finals in Game 3 of the Finals series 81-76 at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City, taking the Finals series 2-1. Their win in the PCCL brought cheers to the Thomasian community who came out once again in full force at the Ynares Sports Arena and the Growling Tigers never disappointed the strong contingent in YELLOW, bringing them something to celebrate, after their tough defeat in the UAAP a few weeks back.

Jeric Teng led the Growling Tigers in Game 3 scoring 13 of his game-high 22 points in the critical fourth quarter, Kevin Ferrer added 21 points while Jeric Fortuna added 11 points in his final game in a UST Growling Tigers uniform.

Kiefer Ravena and Ryan Buenafe led the Blue Eagles with 20 points each, while Greg Slaughter who played his final game in a Blue Eagles uniform added 11 points.

After the game, in a show of sportsmanship. Karim Abdul traded jerseys with Slaughter and wore it as a tribute to the battles these two men faced in the last two years.

Teng was named the Finals MVP of the tournament, while Fortuna and Karim Abdul were named in the Mythical Five alongside Teng and Ateneo’s Ravena and Slaughter. While UST Head Coach Pido Jarencio was named Coach of the Year.

The Growling Tigers took home the Manuel V. Pangilinan Perpetual Trophy which they will keep for one whole year, as well as a replica of the trophy, and P700,000 worth of prizes for the school.

“Nakabawi din sa kanila.Jeric Teng

“It’s nice to play our last game for UST with a championship. – Jeric Fortuna

“I’ve always wanted to have his (Slaughter) jersey.” Karim Abdul

“This one’s for the UST community and the people who supported us all along.  – Coach Pido Jarencio

Box score:

UST (81) – Teng 22, Ferrer 21, Fortuna 11, Abdul 8, Bautista 7, Daquioag 6, Afuang 4, Mariano 2, Hainga 0, Pe 0, Lo 0

Ateneo (76) – Ravena 20, Buenafe 20, Slaughter 11, Salva 9, Elorde 7, Tiongson 5, Sumalinog 3, Chua 1, Golla 0, Gonzaga 0

Yes! The Growling Tigers cap off 2012 with a BANG! A National Championship to cap off the careers of the two graduating players for the Growling Tigers in “The Captain” Jeric Fortuna and Melo Afuang. It is also a prelude of what is to come for the Growling Tigers next year as they will move on to preparations for UAAP Season 76 with a virtually intact core led by Jeric Teng, Karim Abdul, Aljon Mariano, Clark Bautista and Kevin Ferrer.

For now, the Thomasian community can now savor the taste of victory the have long been waiting for to happen. Finally, as a Thomasian, I can savor a victory in basketball. After the bitter defeat in the UAAP Finals, I am very happy and delighted for not only these guys, but also to all my Thomasian PEEPS. FINALLY! We are the CHAMPIONS! With the victory, my FAITH in Philippine collegiate basketball has been RESTORED!

CAMPEONE!
K-Smoove

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One win away from payback!

The Finals of the 2012 Philippine Collegiate Champions League tipped off today at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan City, the Finals this year features two teams who battled in the UAAP Finals this year. The UST Growling Tigers and the Ateneo Blue Eagles.

For the Growling Tigers, it was a shot for redemption as they enter the PCCL Finals for the first time in the history of the tournament and going up against the team they lost to in the UAAP Finals, the Blue Eagles who aim to continue their long dominance in Philippine collegiate basketball.

However in Game 1 of the Finals today, the Growling Tigers drew first blood as they defeated the Blue Eagles 82-76

The Growling Tigers were led by Kevin Ferrer who scored 18 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists on 9-9 shooting from inside the arcincluding a dunk which threw me out my seat with joy. It was a balanced scoring effort for the Tigers as many players Melo Afuang, Karim Abdul, Jeric Teng, Aljon Mariano, Clark Bautista (who came in at the arena from UST in the 3rd quarter)and Jeric Fortuna(who was riddled with foul trouble)all contributed to the victory. The Tigers also played without head coach Pido Jarencio who was out with the german measles and is questionable for Game 2 on Thursday. Assistant coach Estong Ballesteros called the shots for the Tigers in Jarencio’s absence.

The Tigers are now up 1-0 in the best of three finals series and can win their first PCCL Championship in Game 2 on Thursday, 4pm once again at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan City and will be on live telecast on Studio 23. Prior to the game, the FEU-Diliman Baby Tamaraws will face off against the San Beda Red Cubs at 2pm.

Gusto naming bumawi, ito yung payback namin.” – Kevin Ferrer

Box score:
UST (82) – Ferrer 18, Abdul 12, Teng 12, Mariano 11, Afuang 10, Fortuna 9, Daquioag 4, Vigil 2, Pe 2, Bautista 2

Ateneo (76) – Buenafe 15, Tiongson 13, Slaughter 12, Gonzaga 12, Ravena 11, Salva 8, Elorde 3, Golla 2, Pessumal 0, Chua 0, Porter 0, Capacio 0   

Meanwhile, the San Beda Red Lions finish third in the PCCL for the second straight season as they defeated the Southwestern U Cobras 64-56, Kyle Pascual and Art dela Cruz led the Red Lions with 14 and 12 points respectively while limiting SWU’s “King Cobra” Ben Mbala to 16 points after scoring a PCCL-record 41 points in their game against UST.

Now the Tigers are one win away from exacting revenge against the team that broke the hearts of the Thomasian community last month in the UAAP. The entire Thomasian community as shown all-year long will be there to give their prayers and show their support for these players. I can feel it, we all can feel it! The time is now! Why not wait for next year when it can be done now! and the PCCL championship will be a way to cap off the collegiate careers of “The Captain” Jeric Fortuna and Melo Afuang. I’m really hoping, it all ends on Thursday.

Well I could not write a full breakdown of the game, because I started watching the game in the second half. My apologies for that.”

KEEP CALM and PAYBACK will be SERVED on THURSDAY!
Go USTe! One for UST! Viva Santo Tomas!
K-Smoove

Here we go again! España vs Katipunan Round 2!

Photo ©Spin.ph


More than a month after these two teams battled it out for the UAAP championship. Two proud institutions will meet once again. This time to determine the one true National Champion. It’s UST vs Ateneo, España vs Katipunan, Gold vs Blue, Growling Tigers vs Blue Eagles Round 2!

These two teams are no strangers in the Finals of basketball, as these two teams met in the UAAP Finals this year where the Blue Eagles swept the Growling Tigers to win their fifth straight UAAP title which is the second longest championship streak in UAAP history behind the streak set by the UE Red Warriors in the 1960s behind legendary coach Baby Dalupan of seven consecutive championships (1965-1971).

More than a month later their legendary duel in the UAAP, these two teams will meet again, this time in the Philippine Collegiate Champions League. The road for these two teams to get to this point of the tournament were different.

The Growling Tigers began the tournament in the Luzon-Metro Manila regionals where they faced off against the runner-ups of the NCAA and their sister school, the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights who played without their father and son tandem of Coach Louie Alas who resigned after their defeat in the NCAA Finals against the San Beda Red Lion and Kevin Alas who is the main man for the Knights. Despite these absences, the Knights were able to push the Tigers to the limit, however the Tigers escaped with a 78-73 victory to advance to the Luzon-Metro Manila regional finals where the faced off against the UAAP’s Adamson Soaring Falcons who had gone through a long road to the Finals competing in the Metro Manila qualifiers defeating the JRU Heavy Bombers, La Finns Scholastica Lionhearts, De La Salle Green Archers, and the defending PCCL champions the San Sebastian Golden Stags to advance to the Luzon-Metro Manila regional finals. The Tigers blew out the Falcons 88-64 to win the Luzon-Metro Manila regional finals and advance to the Final Four.

In the Final Four the Growling Tigers finished with a 2-1 record where they defeated the Ateneo Blue Eagles (76-66) and the NCAA Champions San Beda Red Lions (63-60), but lost in overtime against the CESAFI Champions Southwestern University Cobras (91-93). Nevertheless, the Tigers advanced to the PCCL Finals for the first time in history.

Meanwhile for the UAAP Champions the Ateneo Blue Eagles, they advanced into the PCCL Final Four automatically. However, the Blue Eagles are not coached by champion coach Norman Black as they have interim coach Gabby Severino calling the shots in the PCCL. The Eagles lost their opening assignment against the Growling Tigers (66-76), but were able to bounce back as they rout both the Cobras (96-78) and the Red Lions (66-49) to finish at 2-1 and advance to the PCCL Finals for the sixth time in the ten year history of the tournament.

So here is the schedule for the PCCL Finals between UST and Ateneo:

Game 1: November 27, 4:00 pm
Game 2: November 29, 4:00 pm
Game 3: November 30, 4:00 pm
All games will be played at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan
All games will be shown on Studio 23

Other PCCL games include:
Battle for Third: San Beda Red Lions vs Southwestern U Cobras
November 27, 2:00 pm
Ilog Pasig Benefit Game: FEU-Diliman Baby Tamaraws vs San Beda Red Cubs
November 29, 2:00 pm

With both teams having intact lineups from their UAAP title run, it will be an emotional series for players who will play their final games in their respective teams like Jeric Fortuna and Melo Afuang for the Growling Tigers as well as Greg Slaughter, Nico Salva, Oping Sumalinog, Justin Chua and Tonino Gonzaga.

It will also be a preview of what’s to come in the next UAAP season as the Tigers will feature a near intact lineup with Karim Abdul, Jeric Teng, Aljon Mariano, Clark Bautista, Kevin Ferrer, and Kim Lo to name a few. While the Eagles will be led by Kiefer Ravena and backed up with players like Juami Tiongson, Ryan Buenafe, Nico Elorde, Von Pessumal to name a few.

For the Growling Tigers, they want redemption for their loss in the UAAP Finals against the Blue Eagles and win their very first National Championship.

As for the Blue Eagles, they want to establish their dominance and claim themselves as the most dominant collegiate basketball team in the country.

Evey one knows who I’m rooting for, and we want PAYBACK! for the loss against the Blue Eagles in the UAAP. It will be another exciting Finals series in the Philippine Collegiate Champions League.

Go USTe! One for UST! Viva Santo Tomas!
Fueled for UST! Bring home the crown!
K-Smoove

Tiger to a Knight: "I feel you."

For all the marbles. For championship #17. For the history books. It all came down on one game at the historic Smart Araneta Coliseum. An old rivalry renewed as archrivals squared off once again in the hard court. It‘s the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights battled against the reigning champions the San Beda Red Lions. BLUE against RED. San Beda and Letran once again in the big stage. Let’s get to it!

Photo ©Karl Carandang
This is the very first NCAA game I got to watch live and living up to the history between these two proud institutions both the Letran and San Beda faithful at the Big Dome were all out cheering for their schools at the same time jeering on their opponents. One thing was, security guards were “demarcation lines” between the Letran and San Beda sides of the Big Dome because of the heated rivalry and the history of brawls between members from both institutions. I was seated on the Letran side of the court since I was with one of my former professors in UST who is now teaching at Letran.
 
In the game however, it was completely a one-sided affair from the get-go until the end of the game as the Red Lions had full control of the game from start to finish. 
In the first quarter, the Red Lions led the Knights 10-18 even if San Beda’s Nigerian import Ola Adeogun was plagued with foul trouble as San Beda’s backcourt of Baser Amer and Anjo Caram caught fire for the Mendiola-based cagers. It was still manageable for the Knights, however the Red Lions doubled the Knights’ output in the by halftime with the score of 34-17. At halftime, only San Beda’s cheering squad were able to perform as Letran’s cheering squad was banned to perform in Game 3 for breaking an NCAA rule for half-time performances. Despite that, the Letran faithful on hand managed to find a way to pump themselves up even though the deficit by their team was huge. Once the third quarter began, the Knights came up swinging as they were able to cut the deficit to 11. Unfortunately for them, they were not able to sustain their momentum and the Red Lions took full advantage of Letran’s sloppy game as they took a 45-25 lead heading into the fourth quarter where they never looked back. Well, I never got to finish the game, because with less than 8 minutes left in the 4th quarter and San Beda. Me and my old prof left the arena for good knowing the game was already decided. We couldn’t bear the burden of witnessing a lopsided defeat. By the time the game was done the Red Lions secured their second three-peat in 7 years and the score was not even close:
 
San Beda 67-39 Letran
Box Score:
Letran (39) – Cruz 12, K. Alas 11, Cortes 6, Racal 3, Almazan 3, J. Alas 2, Almario 2, Belorio 0, Gabawan 0, Luib 0, Cudal 0
San Beda (67) – Caram 17, Amer 14, J. Pascual 10, Adeogun 6, dela Rosa 5, Koga 4, K. Pascual 4, Mendoza 2, Abarcar 2, Ludovice 2, dela Cruz 1, Bonsubre 0, Lim 0, Villaruz 0, Moralde 0
With their 6th championship in 7 years. San Beda overtakes Letran for the most number of men’s basketball championships at 17. Sophomore guard Baser Amer won the Finals MVP trophy for the Red Lions which is his first in his collegiate career after winning two Finals MVP trophies for the Red Cubs in 2009 and 2010. It was also rookie coach Ronnie Magsanoc’s first championship as a head coach in the collegiate ranks. Magsanoc took over from then head coach Frankie Lim who was handed a 2 year ban by the NCAA the previous season. It is also a sweet ending for the three graduating players for San Beda namely Anjo Caram, Jake Pascual and Melo Lim. As Caram and Pascual leave the Red Lions with four championships while Lim earned three championships. Just like in Katipunan this year, there will be a Bonfire for a third straight seasonat Mendiola today.
Apparently, in all years of my collegiate life so far. It has been the same champion from first year until today in the UAAP and NCAA. In the UAAP it’s Ateneo and in the NCAA it’s San Beda. I hope by next season there will be a new champion in both leagues. I have nothing against Ateneo and San Beda, yet it’s time for a change.
Also with the win, the San Beda Red Lions clinch a spot in the Final Four in the Philippine Collegiate Champions League as they are joined by the UAAP Champions Ateneo Blue Eagles. The other two teams who will complete the Final Four will be the winners of the Metro Manila/Luzon bracket and the Visayas/Mindanao bracket.
As for the Letran Knights, it was a valiant effort from them this season.Outside of the players, the coaching staff and the whole Letran community, nobody expected the Knights to enter the Finals. They even started the season bad. But were able to bounce back and make it back to the Final Four with the #3 seed. In the Final Four, they defeated the San Sebastian Golden Stags twice to punch their ticket to the NCAA Finals. In the Finals, they pushed the Red Lions to a decisive third game. However, their dream run came to a bitter end as theylost Game 3 in a lopsided game which makes it look like a game in the elimination round more than a Finals game.
This was also the final game for two players of the Knights as Jam Cortes and Jonathan Belorio will end their collegiate careers without a championship. 
Today also marked the final game for Letran head coach Louie Alas who announced his resignation after the game. Alas called the shots for the Knights since 1998 where he won a championship in his rookie season as head coach as well as two more championships with the Knights (2003 and 2005). So I give a big salute for the man who was not even an alumnus of Letran (Alas came from Adamson University) as he brought glory to the Muralla-based squad in his 12 seasons as coach for the Knights.
THANK YOU COACH LOUIE!
Also another guy from Letran whose future is uncertain is Coach Louie’s son Kevin who is the “heart and soul” of the Knights and the main reason for Letran’s magical run to the Finalsas he is pondering on whether to return to the Knights on his final playing year next season or not at the heels of the immediate departure of his father as head coach of the Knights.
 
Well, Letran suffered the same fate as the UST this year, both are Dominican institutions who made it to the finals of their respective leagues but both teams were unable to bring home the championship. Both Letran and UST fought opponents with a lot of experience when it comes to the finals. Both teams played their hearts and gave all their own on the harcourt.Both institutions suffered from painful defeats in their bid for championships. Both lost against apparently “Manny V. Pangilinan-backed institutions” (San Beda is MVP’s Alma Mater, while he supported Ateneo until this season when he severed his ties with the university). I even got to say to my former professor’s current students in Letran whom we caught up after the game: “I feel you.” As a fellow Dominican, both Thomasians and Letranites shared the same feeling. However, I believe both the Tigers and Knights will be back even better next season.
An interesting note, in the PCCL, there will be a “Battle of the Dominicans as the runner-up in the NCAA, the Letran Knights will face the runner-up in the UAAP,the UST Growling Tigers to determine one of the two teams who will compete in the Finals of the Metro Manila/Luzon bracket.
 
Meanwhile in Bacolod City, our heroes the UST Growling Tigers faced off once again, against the Ateneo Blue Eagles at the Sandugo Unigames. The game went into overtime, however the Growling Tigers fell short as hometown hero Clark Bautista missed a potential game winning three pointer as they lost to the Blue Eagles 56-58.
So that ends another season of NCAA Basketball.
Once again, Congratulations to the San Beda Red Lions for their second three-peat in 7 years.
Congratulations as well to the Letran Knights for a valiant effort all season long. They literally came back from the grave at the bottom of the standings to make it back to the Finals.
Until next season.
 
Arriba Letran!
Animo San Beda!
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