The (Bald) Eagles have landed
Five-time defending champs notch first win in Season 76
The bald courtiers of King Eagle Kiefer Ravena conspired to erect a rare ten-point lead in the final quarter–a rarity given its dismal clutch showing this season. When the King Eagle appeared for a cameo, he swished an 18-footer from the elbow to mark his return to UAAP hoops action after a two-game absence in style with a 71-59 win against the season hosts Adamson University in front of a riotous Mall of Asia Arena crowd on Sunday.
The Ateneo de Manila University five, sporting a collective hairdo, finally registered their first win of the season.
“Hindi na sila mukhang celebrity,” remarked coach Bo Perasol in a post-game interview. “They are finally winners this season.”
The Eagles engaged in yet another grueling first half that went both ways, as the Falcons’ scoring duo Roider Cabrera and Jericho Cruz sank baskets after baskets in the half. The Eagles, though, confidently matched the Falcons’ vaunted outside shooting as Ryan Buenafe and Juami Tiongson combined for three treys early in the game.
In the second half, the Eagles would sustain its tenacity, this time in the shaded lane. Reserve center JP Erram benefited from inside passes and tip-ins to score 10 points in the quarter. He also led the Eagles’ charge in rebounding against the current rebounding leaders, seizing the absence of Falcon behemoth Ingrid Sewa, who was pulled out in the third quarter due to a reported shoulder bruise.
Ateneo then surged ahead in the last quarter through timely baskets from Tiongson as they led by as much as 15 with three minutes left in the game.
“Our challenge right now is to sustain our intensity and focus in all four quarters,” Perasol assessed. “That’s what we worked out during the halftime huddle because we didn’t have that 100 percent intensity in our past games.”
“We believe that we have what it takes to beat anybody in this league, but all the other teams have what it takes to beat us,” he concluded.
The Eagles are now tied with its next opponent, University of the East, for sixth and seventh place. They were led by Tiongson, who tallied 15 points and eight rebounds; Erram with 12 points and 12 rebounds; and Buenafe with a near triple-double of 11 points, 12 rebounds, and nine assists.
The Falcons, now tied at 2-2 with the De La Salle Green Archers, were led by Cruz, who registered 21 points, seven rebounds, two steals, and two blocks.
Bulldogs shoot 30 freebies to rout Maroons
In the first game, National University (3-1) handed University of the Philippines its fourth straight defeat, 74-60.
Erecting a ten-point lead at halftime, the Sampaloc-based squad saw its lead trimmed down by three, 49-46, in the third quarter through the individual efforts of Maroon forward Tata Marata and center Raoul Soyud.
In the final quarter, the Bulldogs bullied their way to the rim and benefited from ticky-tack fouls from State U. In the entire game, NU attempted 40 free throws and sank 30 for a decent 75 per cent clip.
“We took advantage of our height and played it well inside,” Bulldogs head coach Eric Altamirano remarked.
The Bulldogs were led by reigning most valuable player Bobby Ray Parks, who topscored with 18 points off 14-of-16 free throw shooting. He also hauled nine rebounds and dished out six assists.
The winless Maroons were led by Marata, who scored 14, and Soyud, who had a career-high 20 rebounds on top of 10 points.
NATIONAL (74): Parks 18, Mbe 15, Alolino 12, Rosario 10, Javillonar 9, Rono 3, Alejandro 3, Villamor 2, Khobuntin 2, Porter 0, De Guzman 0
UP (60): Marata 14, Lao 11, Soyud 10, Ball 8, Gallarza 5, Pascual 3, Gingerich 3, Asilum 3, Wong 2, Ligad 1, Suarez 0, Paras 0, Desiderio 0, Amar 0
QUARTERS: 21-13, 39-29, 53-47, 74-60
ATENEO (71): Tiongson 15, Erram 12, Buenafe 11, Newsome 10, Golla 6, Ravena 4, Capacio 4, Pessumal 3, Tolentino 2, Lim 2, Elorde 2, Enriquez 0
ADAMSON (59): Cruz 21, Cabrera 14, Brondial 8, Sewa 4, Inigo 3, Agustin 3, Rios 2, Monteclaro 2, Abrigo 2, Trollano 0, Petilos 0, Julkipli 0
QUARTERS: 13-16, 32-28, 57-47, 71-59