Wednesday, August 31, 2011


History Lesson:
The UP Fighting Maroons felt good about themselves for a quarter, taking a 21-19 lead into the second period. It didn't last though as Ateneo exploded from the perimeter, getting three triples and three-shot trip to the foul line to swing the lead back to the defending champs, 42-31 at the break. The Maroons tried several rally attempts, with their last one slicing the lead to just eight, 62-54, but after baskets by Kirk Long and Nico Salva padded it back up to 67-54, UP imploded, getting a technical slapped on their head coach for arguing a call, followed by a shot to Salva's groin by Carlo Gomez. The final tally stood at 77-57, and the Maroons did not have a single player in double digit scoring, while all five of Ateneo's starters accomplished that feat. (Recap here)

What's at Stake:
  • The 2-9 UP Fighting Maroons are out of the running, but they'll be looking to play the spoiler role on their fellow Katipunan university 
  • At 11-0, the Ateneo Blue Eagles are three games away from an elimination round sweep. That journey starts now as they look to avoid a letdown after a huge win against their arch-rivals. 

UP Stat to Watch : UP's offense in the second round has been a disaster, breaking the 60 point barrier just once, in their first game of the round versus UST when they scored 70. Since then, they've normed just 49 points a game, due in part to the fact that they norm the least two-point attempts and makes, and as a result, the fewest field goal makes. They're also dead last at getting to the line, as the only team that averages single-digit free throw attempts.
UP Player to Watch : Alinko Mbah has become a non-factor in the past few games, averaging just two points and 6.25 rebounds in the second round, with just three blocks total. As the guy tasked to defend Greg Slaughter, he has to make sure he doesn't give up any useless fouls, or else the entire UP interior will open up for Ateneo.

ADMU Stat to Watch : Ateneo has dominated on offense in the second round, leading the league in free throws made, assists, fastbreak points, turnover points, and points in the paint. Given how anemic the UP offense has been, if the Eagles turn this into a shootout, it's unlikely UP will be able to compete.
ADMU Player to Watch : Tonino Gonzaga has been the super-sub for Ateneo this season, averaging seven points, three rebounds, one assist and one triple in the second round. But he's a two-way player, just as capable of shutting down guys on the defensive end as he is burying you from downtown. That makes him the perfect player to clamp down on whichever shooter UP head coach Ricky Dandan brings off his bench.

Prediction: ADMU Blue Eagles

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