Saturday, August 13, 2011


History Lesson: 
The Eagles and the Tamaraws fought a back and forth game in the first half, before a 15-5 run turned a two-point Ateneo lead into a 12 point advantage, heading into the fourth quarter. In the final period, FEU managed to cut things down to nine, 51-42 with 6:48 remaining, before a series of fouls were whistled on the Tams, as a result of them losing their cool. When the dust from all the technical and unsportsmanlike fouls settled, Ateneo was up by 20, 62-42, and an and-one play by Kiefer Ravena off a putback put the game out of reach for good, giving the Blue Eagles the first round sweep. Ateneo's rookie pair, Greg Slaughter and Ravena, combined for 34 points and 20 rebounds, while FEU was led by RR Garcia's 15 markers. Predictably, FEU has complained about the calls, or lack thereof, as they shot just nine charities, compared to the 28 of Ateneo, a protest detailed on their Facebook page.  (Recap here)

What's at Stake:

  • The Eagles (7-0) want to keep the momentum going and stretch their unbeaten streak to eight wins, with the possibility of sweeping the elimination round to trigger the stepladder format. No doubt, they're likely going to be fired up as well on the heels of the FEU complaints.
  • The Tamaraws (4-3) ended the first round on a 0-2 skid, thanks in part to their lack of composure (Bringas' ejection versus UP, Romeo's finger-pointing and Escoto's elbow versus ADMU).  The last thing they want is a three-game slide, as that would put them at 4-4, with DLSU and UST eager to match and then jump ahead of them.

ADMU Stat to Watch : Ateneo dominated the first round defensively, holding opponents to just 57.86 points a game, while forcing opponents into their worse shooting performances, just 34.94 percent on two-pointers and 31.14 percent overall. Ultimately, it is that kind of defense that resulted in poor games from Garcia and Romeo, and not any kind of advantage in free throws, and no doubt, Ateneo will be relying on that defense once more.
ADMU Player to Watch : Save for his initial stint being guarded by Christian Sentcheu, Greg Slaughter had no problem handling the many defenders FEU sent in against him, finishing with 15 points and 11 rebounds. The Tamaraws do get Mark Bringas back though, and in spite of the height difference, you can expect Bringas to be extremely physical, to the point of dirty (just ask UP), which means Slaughter ought to keep his cool and respond by just dunking on him instead.

FEU Stat to Watch : Scoring-wise, the FEU Tamaraws are surprisingly inept, just a year after having one of the best offenses in the league. They're hitting only 39.67 percent of their two-pointers and 35.39 percent of their field goals, both league-worsts. Their over-reliance on jump shots, thanks to a lack of post players, is what has done them in this season. They're barely attacking the rim too, settling for just 17.71 charities per game, second worst to the UE Red Warriors.
UE Player to Watch : Aldrech Ramos produced a sterling effort on the boards, hauling down 18 rebounds, six on the offensive end. Unfortunately, what the Tams needed more of was his scoring, and he disappointed in that aspect, chipping in just five markers on 2 of 12 shooting, despite being guarded most of the time by the shorter Nico Salva. With the dearth of options on offense for the Tams, head coach Bert Flores ought to look into using Ramos as a catch and shoot guy, given his increased range thanks to his stint with the national team.


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