Monday, July 11, 2011

The UAAP Cage War Has Begun

The rains came, so did the crowds. We, my wife and two kids, came too to watch the opening of the UAAP Basketball Season 74. First game: La Salle vs. FEU. As we prepared to go, our first problem came: what color we will wear. My wife's animo is green, having finished her elementary and high school in La Salle Iligan (college was in UP Diliman). Me and my 2 kids go for FEU. No affinity whatsoever (I studied college in Iloilo) except that we just root for their players. We first sat with the green crowd but later, at my sons' request (they actually wore light green shirts), we transferred to a neutral corner near the FEU's yellow crowd where they were  free to cheer for the Tamaraws.

The game was a close one until late in the 3rd quarter when the Tamaraws started to pull away, courtesy of the 3-point clutch shooting of ace guard, RR Garcia. From there on to the end, the Archers never really threatened seriously. The Tamaraws fielded their reliable veterans, RR Garcia, Aldrich Ramos, Cawaling, Terence Romeo, Bringas and co. La Salle fielded a mix of new and old, putting more height in their new big men ,Torres and Von Opstal. But clearly, they were  outmatched in crunch time.

Where was La Salle's vaunted stiffling pressure defense? Instead, they opted to the man zone. Curiously, they lacked or had no firepower outside. Yet coach Dindo Pumaren fielded 3-point artist Sam Marata only midway in the 3rd quarter. He came  cold, though he managed a three. In the closing minutes, he was fielded back but it was too late.

The final score: 74-65. La Salle also lost in two other fronts; the cheering crowd and the pep squad in the intermission. They lacked intensity in their yells and cheers, even when the game was still close. The Animo was lacking. They were outcheered, outshouted and outperformed by the yellow and green crowd of FEU, which included showbiz personality Vice Ganda, an FEU alumnus who reportedly played basketball in those days of yore. In the intermission, FEU performed stunning acrobatic and gymnastics routines compared to La Salle's plain calisthenics performance.

If I could write a headline story out of it, I would report: Tamaraws Gore Archers! But oh yes, my wife still stood and sang her La Salle Alma Mater song.

We stayed a little while to watch the Ateneo-Adamson main game I just wanted to take a look at these two teams touted as contenders for the championship. Most especially I wanted to see the much talked about players of Ateneo, the 7" Greg Slaughter and the fancied rookie Keifer Ravena. We left at the half after the pep squad presentation with Ateneo laeading by a small margin.  Later we learned that the Blue Eagles defeated the Falcons in a low scoring game, 55-51.

It's too early yet. In fact it has just begun. But my crystal ball says it's gonna be a repeat of last year: Ateneo vs. FEU in the finals.


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