UAAP WEEKEND RECAP 5: Forward-looking

Anthony Divinagracia on Oct 10, 2015 11:16 AM
UAAP WEEKEND RECAP 5: Forward-looking
How do we call this? Bare-faced highway robbery? Or simply judging inadequacy? In the end, the order stays - Mall, Church, and State. Quit the hate.

Round 1 is in the books. UST and FEU had just essayed its final chapter on a high note. But the story is far from over. The rest are just waiting in the margins, breathing payback or hoping to score an encore. As it was in the past, first-round victories have no warranty. Consistency is always key. How’s that for the UAAP cheerdance competition? With that, let’s rewind Week 4 of our UAAP.

Mall, Church, and State

Now it can be told: NU is the cheerdance competition’s undisputed kill joys as far as the UP Pep Squad and the UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe are concerned.

For the third straight year, the Bulldogs denied UP and UST a ninth title to cement either school’s status as the most successful cheerdance group in the league. Tied with eight diadems apiece, the UP Pep and Gawi again settled for runner-up finishes against the caveman-inspired routine of the new cheerdance powerhouse out of Jhocson street (Google maps, please).

Gawi improved from third to second place this year with an African-inspired performance. UP on the other hand slid to third despite its well-executed “utak at puso” piece, causing a social media uproar heard beyond the rallying grounds of Diliman.

“We had many stunts. Our degree of difficulty was very high. Perfect run kami,” UP captain Cam Lagmay recalled after fighting off tears of disappointment from receiving the third-place trophy.

The bone of contention for the Bulldogs was their share of pyramid falls and spotty execution. But the degree of difficulty according to the judges saved them with plenty to spare as NU scored 668 points (91.5 on tumbling, 70.5 on stunts, 84 on tosses, 88 on pyramids, and 340 on dance). UST chalked up 651.5 points while UP only had 610.5.

How do we call this? Bare-faced highway robbery? Or simply judging inadequacy? In the end, the order stays - Mall, Church, and State. Quit the hate.

Share-leaders

After seven games, UST and FEU found themselves lounging on the roof top. Call it a fate date. But the crux stays that way until someone goes astray.

UST, with Kevin Ferrer and Ed Daquioag getting their usual numbers, has been a steady revelation in the tournament.

“Father” Ed reclaimed the scoring pulpit, tallying a new career-high 34 points to systematically exorcise UE’s hellish pressure defense particularly in the last three minutes of the game. But while Daquioag’s superb hang-time ability has dramatically changed their fortunes, his “dedma” expression remains the same, underscoring the kind of basketball demeanor that can rival the stoic Moses in the Parting of the Red Sea.

Meanwhile Ferrer, who redeemed UST against Ateneo and La Salle, played backup to Daquioag in that 86-73 grind-out win over UE. But his maturity and leadership even while riding the bench continue to rub on his teammates, giving veterans like Louie Vigil and Karim Abdul, as well as rookies Marvin Lee, Mario Bonleon, and Kyle Suarez the confidence to manage the pressure and deliver for the Tigers.

In case we forget, there’s Mike Tolomia and company who just exacted revenge on Season 77 Finals tormentor NU. The sweet-shooting Tolomia fired back-to-back triples nearing the last-two minute mark to grab a 58-52 lead and preserve it towards the end.

For the second straight game, the Tamaraws struggled in the opening half against another defensive-minded opponent. NU had FEU on the ropes for most of the game, allowing the Tamaraws no more than 16 points in all four quarters. But Tolomia yet again rose to the occasion, chalking up 19 markers on 8-of-13-shooting even as Mac Belo and Roger Pogoy dished out paltry numbers.

Nash Racela refused to call it a payback outing. It shouldn’t be. The Season 77 finals is so yesterday. Round 2 is underway.

Anla-BO?

When’s the last time Ateneo suffered two big defeats so close to each other? It may not be that long but what seemed to rock the Council of Eagles from their nests at the moment was the way these losses registered on the basketball Richter Scale off Katipunan Avenue.

The Eagles lost – twice – by squandering comfortable margins to UST and arch-rival La Salle among others. Kiefer Ravena expectedly absorbed the brickbats for his dismal shooting.

But more than “The Phenom,” the impact of these losses reverberated on the sidelines and at the very heart of Ateneo’s think-tank personified by no less than Bo Perasol. Critics nonchalantly feasted on the three-year Ateneo mentor’s decision to rely too much on the misfiring Ravena in the homestretch.

Over-trusting the reigning MVP meant disregarding Ateneo’s other weapons like Von Pessumal. Yet giving Perasol the boot at this juncture is not the quick-fix solution the Eagles need. Ateneo in fact doesn’t need a quick fix. It just needs a balanced offensive mix.

Winning something

They say winning is everything. But Adamson’s first victory of the season was more “something” than everything.

For one, it affirmed Mike Fermin's promise to get his breakthrough win as a rookie coach. More significantly, that 73-68 outdueling of UP restored the Falcons' sense of pride after going 0-5.

So much for laying a big fat egg halfway through the first round, Fermin and company now look to add more victories in the next phase. "Di kami makukuntento sa isa" was how Fermin described Adamson's goal come round 2.

Admirably so, that's the mindset of a team bent on trading its whipping-boy tag for a yarn of respect. Now that's something.

"Ate Baldo" hits the sand

Volleyball darling Alyssa Valdez hit the “beach” on Friday. But instead of chilling, "Ate Baldo" engaged in unspeakable killing.

Yeah, the kind that puts the ball in complete union with the grainy heap of artificial sand.

The beach volleyball opening joust on Friday was both a pleaser and a drawer with Valdez and Bea Tan sun-baking themselves under the mid-day heat en route to a 21-9, 21-19 demolition of UP. Valdez hit the sand by diving for the leather.

She also did it in sledge-hammer-like fashion a number of times by nailing the ball hard on the Lady Maroons’ court to the delight of a pro-Ate Baldo gallery. “Sobrang init, nakakapanibago compared sa indoor volleyball,” Valdez mused.

We know, she’ll get used to – and enjoy – it as the season goes on. Her power and disarming smile now belong to the sand. Hope the rest can withstand.

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