The Games that Play Us: In and Out of Hades

Ateneo found a dynamic duo in Kiefer Ravena and
Nico Salva to comeback from the jaws of defeat.
(image by Philip Sison/

AdMU Blue Eagles over the FEU Tamaraws, 74-67

There have only been a little more than a handful of mortals who have ventured into the realm of Hades and lived to tell about it. We can count Hercules, Aeneas, Odysseus, Theseus and Orpheus among these fortunate (or unfortunate?) few.

I guess Hades wouldn’t mind if we added 16 more names on that list, right?

Because Hades and back again is exactly what the Ateneo Blue Eagles pulled off against the luckless FEU Tamaraws.

This was only the second Seniors game I watched live this season, and right from the opening tip it was clear FEU was a team on a mission. Despite being shorthanded due to the absence of Pipo Noundou, JR Cawaling and Chistian Sentcheu, coach Bert Flores’s boys had the bigger fight for the better part of the game.

Loyola’s usual suspects were effectively hindered in the 1st half. Kiefer Ravena was scoreless. Kirk Long had a lone trey to his name. Greg Slaughter wasn’t doing much slaughtering. And FEU erected a considerable gap.

RR Garcia hit a ton of big shots to help FEU
erect a wide gap.
(image by Diana Moraleda/
Deep within the recesses of my mind, I started consoling myself. If this does result into a loss, then at least the “sweep pressure” would dissipate. It could probably push the Eagles to perform a little bit better in the future. Perhaps discard the slow starts? Perhaps a little more bench production?

Apparently, however, I might have entertained such foolish thoughts too soon. The Eagles would perform better. They would start strong. The bench would produce. And all those happened before the game even ended. All those happened in the 2nd half.

Kiefer Ravena got out of his 1st half slump, Nico Salva continued hitting his shots, Greg Slaughter asserted himself down low and Justin Chua, yes last year’s #1 Blue Eagle center, bought himself a lot of playing time by playing solid off the bench.

Justin Chua came up big when Ateneo made its run.
(image by Philip Sison/
Little by little, Ateneo chippd at the lead, eventually getting it down to 5 to start the final stanza. That’s where Chua did his damage, chiefly from the line, as he made a total of 7 free-throws out of 8 attempts. He got some more burn in the fourth, giving a good account of himself on both ends of the floor before coach Norman Black recalled his main five to the front.

Kudos to the Tamaraws, though, for hitting just enough shots to keep the Eagles at bay. The biggest of which was a corner three by RR Garcia with 1:13 to go that extended FEU’s advantage to 6.

That’s when it seemed like all hope was lost. That’s when it seemed like the Blue & White were too deep in Tartarus. That’s when it seemed to be the good time to head to the Araneta Center parking lots to avoid the traffic rush.

For those who did, however, they missed one hell of a windup.

Emman Monfort, that diminutive dynamo, intercepted a pass and made a lay-up to spark a 6-0 end-of-regulation spurt, highlighted by two Kiefer Ravena daredevil drives, to send the game to an extra 5 minutes.

And that’s when FEU unraveled. Smarting from the game-tying Ateneo blitz and from Aldrech Ramos’s 5th foul, the Tams folded under the pressure, lost out to the more composed Eagles, and the Moraytans tumble to 4 wins and 4 losses to start the 2nd round of hostilities.

The Tamaraws are understandably inconsolable after the final buzzer.
(image by Joseph Nebrida/
On the other hand, the Ateneans further solidify their hold on the top spot, and continue their immaculate run. Getting this win is a good harbinger for the match against UST next weekend. Given how UST has played lately, that promises to be another barn-burner, too!

Once again, the Ateneo faithful have a host of heroes to thank for yanking the Eagles out of Hades, and back into the light of the world. They might as well be mentioned in the same breath as the foremost Greeks of old.

One BIG Fight!

AdMU 74 – Salva 18, Ravena 15, Slaughter 14, Chua 9, Monfort 7, Gonzaga 6, Long 3, Austria 2, Golla 0, Tiongson 0
FEU 67 – Garcia 17, Romeo 11, Cruz 10, Ramos 8, Escoto 7, Bringas 6, Tolomia 5, Exciminiano 3, Knuttel 0, Pogoy 0, Mendoza 0
QS: 13-21, 25-38, 42-47, 63-63, 74-67 (OT)
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2 Comment

Hoopnut articles are being linked all over the place in pinoyexchange and other UAAP forums! Hahaha. Users were even commenting on how TJ Manotoc and Tony Atayde should pick up a few things from your writing. More power sir! :)


nux... haha. good job sir enzo! one big fight!