UAAP Weekend Recap 4: Fight-back throwback
Anthony Divinagracia on Oct 03, 2015 12:17 PM
K-Ferr undoubtedly outplayed Kiefer in the homestretch, nailing three triples to essay his version of Michael Jordan’s “flu game.” As if this was not enough, K-Ferr and the Tigers played the same script against La Salle last Wednesday.
On Saturday, the basketball wars hold ceasefire for the much-awaited UAAP Cheerdance Competition.
But like the jaw-dropping stunts and head-shaking cheerdance routines, the painful defeats and morale-boosting fight-backs on the hardcourt are in a class of their own. It’s what UAAP basketball is all about – gritty, thrilling and unpredictable.
Ditch the drama, forget the trauma? Hell no! The Shakespearean love for the game should always prevail as we unveil some of the highlights in Week 4 of our UAAP.
Comeback Cats all over again
“Para kaming diesel, eh” was how former UST coach Pido Jarencio described the Tigers back in the Final Four of Season 76.
The author of the Ginebra-esque “pride, puso, palaban” mantra in the UAAP lore has every reason back then to spew these lines. UST barely made it to the Final Four, but made league history by becoming the first No.Â 4 team to eliminate a top seed in the Ray Parks-reinforced NU.
Fast-forward last Sunday, one of Jarencio’s Season 76 lieutenants, Bong dela Cruz, gained an exclusive front-row seat to the cinematic reincarnation of the “Comeback Cats” starring Kevin Ferrer.
Outgrowing his tongue-wagging antics, the former UAAP juniors MVP balled to his true potential -Â displaying stretch 4-like shooting in rallying the Tigers back from a 16-point hole against Kiefer Ravena-led Ateneo.Â K-Ferr undoubtedly outplayed Kiefer in the homestretch, nailing three triples to essay his version of Michael Jordan’s “flu game.”
As if this was not enough, K-Ferr and the Tigers played the same script against La Salle last Wednesday. The sequel was eye-candy for UST fans as the Tigers clawed back from a 19-33 deficit via a 28-5 run sparked by triples from Louie Vigil, Mario Bonleon, and what have you, Kyle Suarez.
Mind you, K-Ferr was even riding the bench due to foul trouble when the Tigers made that huge run. But when he came back, K-Ferr teamed up with Karim Abdul and the resurgent Ed Daquioag to drop the proverbial cherry on the icing and share the cake with FEU at 5-1. Talk about cakes, cats, and comebacks.
It’s a game a preseason heavyweight would love to hate.
Pitted against winless Adamson, erstwhile solo leader FEU nearly became instant dinner for the victory-starved Falcons, who relentlessly preyed on the Tamaraws before getting poached by RR Pogoy and Russell Escoto in the last 30 seconds of the contest.
If anything the “beautiful” loss restored Adamson’s pride. As for FEU, the ugly win (64-60) showed the bad habits it tried to hide. Was it a question of mindset? Or was it just that Adamson finally learned how to play through its strength a.k.a Papi Sarr?
Clearly for Nash Racela it all boiled down to his wards being “consistently inconsistent.” They are still up there (together with UST), but the others simply don’t care. Winning is good, but prevailing is better.Â
Losing four in a row is certainly not part of Rensy Bajar’s “Project Resurgence (PR)” at UP.Â
The Maroons seemed to have embraced another PR tact especially on defense. Bajar for one rued UP’s “pogi-pogi defense” which allowed UST, FEU, NU, and Ateneo to blow them off the grid. UP had since lost by an average margin of 13.5 points and in a fit of dismay prompted Bajar to quip: “Kung gusto niyong magpa-pogi, mag-artista na lang kayo.”
Offensively, the Maroons were as ineffective, norming just 53 points in those four losses. Against Ateneo, UP’s main man Jett Manuel was held scoreless. The rest had meagrely contributed. The result could have been a tad worst for UP had Kiefer Ravena and Von Pessumal went on video-game mode instead of finishing with 11 markers apiece.
Bajar clearly doesn’t want UP to be “U.P.” (Under Performing and Under Pressure) all over again. It’s nice to win twice. But please, reprise the surprise.
“They got game too,” was former Maroon spitfire and now NCAA commentator Mikee Reyes’s adoring depiction of the leading ladies in the UAAP women’s basketball tournament.
As of this writing, the defending champion Lady Bulldogs have moved on the verge of sweeping Round 1 with an 80-44 demolition of UP. Statistically, NU’s dominance is well grounded.
The Lady Bulldogs practically lead in all departments – points (75.5), field goals average (38.4), total rebounds (54.3), assists (18.3), second-chance points (13.7), and fastbreak points (11.2), while placing seventh in turnovers (25.2).Â NU’s go-to-girl Afril Bernardino is also second in the MVP race, averaging 13.3 points a game.
La Salle is currently in second at 5-1, followed by UST (4-2), Adamson (3-3), UE (3-3), Ateneo (2-4), FEU (1-5), and UP (0-6).
Yeah, it’s the week prior to the most-anticipated event arguably outside of the basketball and volleyball finals.
The polishing stage of these “buwis-buhay” routines has been instant fodder among die-hard cheerdance fans since then. NU is of course raring for a three-peat while traditional powers UP and UST will try to break their eight-championship tie by dancing for a ninth title.
FEU, a two-time cheerdance titlist, had just undergone a coaching change and hopes to re-enter the Top 3 anew. La Salle, Ateneo, Adamson, and UE are also expected to figure in the contest. Excited?