The Most Swag Moments in UAAP 80 Men’s Basketball
ABS-CBN Sports on Dec 22, 2017 03:20 PM
SWAG. A handful of UAAP stars took the league by storm with their undeniable swag and composure during the game's most crucial moments.
Big-time players make big-time plays, and in the UAAP, we've witnessed our fair share of exhilarating action from the best collegiate players in the country.
These players kept their cool to come up with the biggest moments of the year, while bringing out the swag every game to tow their teams to that coveted W.
Here are the most memorable moments of undeniable swag we saw at the UAAP season 80 men's basketball tournament.
Atin 'To, Papasok 'To!
Starting things off with a splash is Paul Desiderio's absolute haymaker of a three-point bomb.
Before draining the game-winning jumper for the UP Fighting Maroons over the UST Growling Tigers in just the second game-day of the season, the Cebuano shooter blurted out his now-immortal words: "Atin To, Papasok To!"
The phrase would eventually become Diliman's rallying cry, especially during the Fighting Maroons' final games of the season which saw them come painfully close to ending their Final Four drought.
Still, after another season without a semifinals appearance, Desiderio's words, and his shot will forever be remembered.
Thirdy Ravena has become an absolute showstopper when it comes to pre-(and post)game outfits in the UAAP.
And rightfully so. Taking cues from the NBA's leading fashion gurus like Russell Westbrook and Nick Young, the season 80 Finals MVP has the undeniable swag, and the skills to boot.
But about midway through the elimination round however, another UAAP personality came out of nowhere to steal some of Thirdy's thunder.
Enter University of the East head coach, Derrick "Manong" Pumaren.
Replacing some coaching staples, like dress shoes for immaculate white Gucci sneakers, doing away with plain pants and going for skinny jeans, and saying good bye to button down polos in exchange for a sweater-and-shirt combo, "Swaggy D" definitely earned his nickname by inspiring his wards to up their games like he upped his fashion.
After another down season for the Red Warriors, Coach Derrick's welcome, albeit random wardrobe change was a pleasant surprise for UAAP fans.
UAAP Jam Session
Fans were treated to some spectacular rim-rattlers this season 80, to say the least.
There's the usual suspects: DLSU's highlight reel mainstays Ben Mbala and Ricci Rivero, and UST's prized Recruit from Cameroon Steve Akomo, among others.
But two dunks stood out from the rest of the already impressive pack.
Adamson University's high-octane offense got a boost of energy off the bench with the high-flying Tyrus Hill, who made headlines after throwing down the dunk of the year nominee.
Against a struggling UST squad, Hill blew by his perimeter defender and caught Growling Tiger Jeepy Faundo all alone in the paint.
What happens next will simply not be justified by words, so see for yourself:
Next up is Thirdy Ravena's thunderous tomahak slam that broke a couple of things.
First, the slam destroyed any notion of Thirdy being under his older brother Kiefer's shadow. A man who can throw it down like that can shine on his own.
Second, Thirdy's dunk broke the internet. While the live audience over at the arena was obviously shocked, online fans were no different, and no one can blame them, the jam was just crazy.
Lastly, his slam (probably) broke his father Bong's daily budget. As many know by now, Thirdy receives P3,000 from his dad every single time he performs an in-game dunk.
España, this is for you!
While UST is still one of the most winningest basketball teams in the UAAP, the squad was reduced to a 0-13 record heading into its final game against fellow cellar dweller UE.
Heading into what really was a non-bearing game in the eyes of the league, UST came into it with hopes of redeeming themselves after such a disappointing season.
Pride was on the line, and the Growling Tigers answered the call.
The Tiger Trio of Reggie Boy Basibas, Steve Akomo, and Marvin Lee came to the rescue as UST eked out an 88-85 win over UE to avoid a winless campaign.
Although UST's record still looked bleak, the way the players fought through, and the way the team celebrated that lone win was nothing short of inspiring.
FEU's fierce charge
The FEU Tamaraws never looked like a playoff lock throughout the elimination round.
Their up-and-down season was expected however, after losing a couple of key players due to graduation, and a coaching change that saw Olsen Racela replace his brother Nash as the head mentor, the Tamaraws needed to do some adjustments.
And that's exactly what they did, picking up steam after outgunning Adamson in their final elimination game, to book a Final Four match against Ateneo.
The Tamaraws, led by spitfire point guard JR Parker, Arvin Tolentino, and Richard Escoto, pushed Ateneo to the brink of elimination before surrendering in the do-or-die game.
Isaac Go Go Go!
Speaking of cool and calm, Ateneo Blue Eagle Isaac Go may just be its prime example.
After missing the potential game-winner against DLSU in their final elimination game, Isaac Go went on a clutch tear, being the savior for Ateneo in three pivotal games that went down the wire.
Who could forget his ridiculously clutch three-pointer in Ateneo's do-or-die Final Four game against FEU to force overtime?
How about the crazy dagger he hit while on the floor?
With Go's clutch heroic's, the Blue Eagles had just enough to down the gritty Tamaraws and to book a Finals berth.
Go's clutch exploits didn't end in the Final Four, however. He even ramped it way up when the Finals came.
Back in Game 1 of the Finals against DLSU, Go came up clutch anew, bravely finishing at the rim, over season MVP Ben Mbala to help Ateneo take the opening lead.
And, of course, Go's crowning achievement.
In Game 3, with the Blue Eagles holding on to a two-point laead with 31 seconds left, Go received a great pass from Thirdy Ravena for the title-sealing three-pointer.
Nothing but net.
Eagles Fly High
After coming up just short last season, the upstart Ateneo Blue Eagles proved their Finals run back in season 79 was not merely a fluke, as they start season 80 with a blistering 13-0 start.
Banking on the team-first mentality taught by coach Tab Baldwin, Ateneo was the picture of a fine-tuned squad that was ready to go all the way.
And they did just that. Even after falling to archrival La Salle in the final elimination round game, Ateneo buckled up and fought tooth and nail against an FEU squad that pushed them to the brink.
Come the Finals, several heroes stepped up for the Blue Eagles, bringing on their signature swag off the court, onto it, and as they did all season long, they prevailed, taking a Game 3 victory over La Salle for its first title in five years.
The season may be over, but these moments of undeniable swag will remain with every UAAP fan for a long time. And like these big-shot players, confidence can help you step your game up both on and off the court with Stylex, the styling gel that leaves your hair moisturized and looking at its best. It features a non-drying formula, which means you also won’t have to worry about flakes. Tame unruly hair an style it however you want with Stylex!