‘No heroes needed’ as outnumbered Eagles peck Lions

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jan 24, 2019 08:22 PM
‘No heroes needed’ as outnumbered Eagles peck Lions
UAAP king Ateneo came through in its do-or-die matchup against NCAA champion San Beda

Ateneo de Manila University’s starting five seemed to be its only five in Game 2 of its semifinals series against San Beda University in the 2019 Philippine Collegiate Champions League.

Only RV Berjay, Jason Credo, Isaac Go, Tyler Tio, and Adrian Wong warmed up for the Blue Eagles on Thursday at the Ynares Center in Pasig.

Those five also played all 10 minutes of the first quarter before the cavalry came.

BJ Andrade, SJ Belangel, Jolo Mendoza, and Thirdy Ravena arrived at the venue at the midway mark of the opening salvo, but of course, needed time to change and get ready.

And so, it was only early in the second period when the UAAP champions’ starters got to rest.

Even then, though, the Blue Eagles in uniform paled in comparison to the 16-strong roster ready to go for San Beda

And in fact, the blue and white coaching staff itself outnumbered the players they had at their disposal.

Still, Ateneo stuck to its game plan and actually started strong, with Go and Wong hitting back-to-back triples. “We only had five guys (at the start) and they did a heck of a job. They kept the pace where it needed to be and that set the tone for when the other guys came in,” head coach Tab Baldwin said.

Indeed, they would never take their foot off the gas pedal and found themselves surprisingly ahead by 16 at one point.

In the end, the Blue Eagles, shorthanded as they were, came out on top of the Red Lions and came through in what was a must-win for them to stay alive. “No heroes needed. They just needed to do what they needed to do,” their mentor said.

With that, the kings of the UAAP yet again proved their championship caliber. “They went out there and, under conditions that weren’t ideal, it just says something about them wanting to play the game the right way,” Coach Tab said.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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