UAAP Weekend Recap 6: Leading and leaving
Anthony Divinagracia on Oct 17, 2015 08:52 AM
Outside the neighboring Morayta and Espana kingdoms, war continues to rage among the rest of the Final Four-seeking tribes. In the heat of battle, other eventful subplots arise.
Five (or six) games remain before we call it a season in the UAAP hardcourt. Barring any hitches of colossal and disastrous proportions, FEU and UST looked set for a Final Four encore if only to justify their unenviable records as of late. Outside the neighboring Morayta and Espana kingdoms, war continues to rage among the rest of the Final Four-seeking tribes. And in the heat of battle, other eventful subplots arise. Week 6 provides a rear mirror for your eyes.
Steady and (Final Four) ready
Much has been said about UST’s unexpected rise. But for all talks of expectation, the Tams receive little or no attention. Nash Racela is no “KSP” (kulang sa pansin and kulang sa panalo). Yet overlooking FEU (which currently sits on top) because of its low-profile wins is unacceptable. Sure, they rarely mount comebacks to kick the gallery in delirious excitement. But why come back when you can easily make your opponent crack? Why rally when you can just parry? Why bleed when you can simply lead? Yet when they do stir a fightback, the Tams throw everything to their opponents, including the sink and the kitchen clock. Clock or no clock, radar or no radar, FEU remains arguably the steadiest crew out there. It runs a ship capable of weathering the second-round storm en route to navigating the deep waters of Final Four play. Mike Tolomia, Mac Belo, and Roger Pogoy all have the oar and steer at their command. Extending UP’s misery last Wednesday to claim its seventh straight victory for an 8-1 record deserves praise and a worthy newspaper space. The league’s pre-season favorites are simply living to that billing.
Bong dela Cruz is either lucky or a genius. But whatever he is at this juncture, the second-year UST mentor continues to get raves for transforming the Tigers into a legitimate contender. Each of their seven wins have been a testament to UST’s resiliency and poise down the wire, more recently against La Salle. Just how did UST sweep the Archers (its first since 1995)? By the skin of their comeback claws anew. Down by as much as 11 in the third, the Tigers mounted a solid fourth-quarter run to erase a 59-66 deficit and wrest a 77-73 cushion for good. Again the usual suspects lined up to be recognized: Kevin Ferrer, Ed Daquioag, Karim Abdul, Louie Vigil, and rookie Marvin Cruz who hit a couple of treys that proved more lethal than the Archers’ own arrows. Slaying the Archers however has its price. “Iba na yung second round eh. Yung teams nag-As na sa amin, so kailangan mag-double effort kami sa mga ginagawa namin this second round,” Dela Cruz said. At 7-1, UST is definitely in Seventh Heaven, but their first-round victims want to make it even.
The Council of Eagles have spoken. Bo Perasol will accompany graduating stars Kiefer Ravena and Von Pessumal to the exit door. The second-year Ateneo tactician confirmed that Season 78 will be his last with the Eagles. Perasol knew how the predated axe dropped. “Ateneo hates to lose, and I’m in the middle of that. Natural lang ‘yun na mapupunta sa akin, kasi I’m the leader. They can’t pinpoint anybody there – I’m the leader of the team,” he said in many an interview. It’s a fact that the Eagles are never a middle, nay a low-flying pack. Yet while his head remains screwed to his neck, Perasol assured the blue side of Katipunan avenue that the Eagles will compete for the rest of the season, despite a pedestrian 4-4 card. The Eagles are still far from scratching the Earth’s crust. It just needs more of the Ateneo faithful’s trust.
PaaNU sila lumakas nang ganito?
Unscathed, undefeated, unforgiving, and unrelenting. These are the words that now compose the “U” in “NU” and “Bulldogs.” But this is not about Eric Altamirano’s wards. NU’s less heralded Lady Bulldogs are doing much better on the hardcourt right not, posting their eight straight victory for an immaculate 8-0 record last Sunday. More importantly, the Lady Bulldogs have now set a record 24 consecutive wins stretching from last season’s perfect finals series. Afril Bernardino and Shelly Gupilan, NU’s 1-2 punch, look peerless at times, effortlessly pawing their defenders with a variety of moves even the men would envy. Can the others stop them? Maybe.
More games, please.