The Games that Play Us: Keep Away

Frank Golla and the Eagles played keep-away
against the UST Tigers.
(image by Philip Sison/

AdMU Blue Eagles over the UST Growling Tigers, 66-53

Any game between two of the oldest academic institutions in the Philippines is bound to produce a plethora of subplots.

For this game, we had several choices.

Will it be a rookie shootout between Kiefer Ravena and Kevin Ferrer? Will it be a battle of sequoias as Greg Slaughter and Karim Abdul-not-Jabbar duke it out? Will Emman Monfort engage Jeric Fortuna in an OK-Corral-ish 3-point duel? Will Kirk Long put the clamps on Jeric Teng? Will our bench finally show up?

Well, here’s what happened:
-       Kiefer was better than Kevin.
-       Greg, despite the pedestrian production, was still better than Karim, who had 2 turnovers, 8 missed field goals, and 2 missed free-throws.
-       Emman was a better distributor and defender than Fortuna. (okay, Emman lost the duel, but he didn’t lose the game)
-       And Jeric Teng shot 3-of-11 from the field and committed 5 turnovers as he was hounded by the Long arms of the law (read: Kirk).

Jeric Teng was hounded and hampered by the Ateneo D.
(image by Ralph Samson/
Aside from all those, however, what was glaring for me was that UST didn’t seem to have a lot of fight in them here. They did start the game trading blows with Ateneo, but when the Eagles built a sizeable gap, UST’s body language and facial expressions were akin to that of a heartbroken Romeo realizing his Juliet was a Capulet.

I surmise that ghosts from the game-that-got-away against FEU were still haunting them. Winning against the Eagles would’ve exorcised all those demons, but losing big means the hole they’ve dug for themselves gets deeper. UST grabbed more rebounds than the taller Ateneans and blocked more shots, but the Tigers had less assists, less steals, shot worse from the field and from the stripe, committed 14 more turnovers, and got “out-benched” by the Katipunan quintet.

Toniño Gonzaga sparked the Ateneo bench mob.
(image by Philip Sison/
Speaking of the bench, finally some kudos is due! Toniño Gonzaga sparked a decisive 2nd quarter run that all but deflated UST’s hopes of duplicating UP’s upset of FEU earlier in the day. Bacon Austria showcased some firepower, too, getting some nice baskets in the second half as the Blue & White just played keep-away. The Loyola reserves thoroughly outplayed their España counterparts in scoring (20-8), steals (2-0), assists (6-0), and rebounds (19-12). The bench showed up when needed – clearly a good sign as they try to sweep the first round against the reeling Tamaraws on Sunday.

Bacon Austria reacts after making a dipsy-doo put-back lay-up.
(image by Philip Sison/
Things are going really well now, which is both great and scary. Are the Eagles clearly showing quality that is well beyond everyone else’s in the league, or are they peaking too soon (as some “green minds” might think)? As the stakes get higher and the games get tougher, will the Eagles continue turning up the heat at the right time, or will the other contenders figure out how to solve the Ateneo puzzle? Will the Eagles continue their diesel-ish slow starts only to rev up in the middle periods, or will they eventually crash and burn?

6-0 is both auspicious and precarious. It’s too early to say we have the 4-peat in the bag, but at the same time each loss (God forbid!) from this point on will be labeled an upset of divine proportions. Ateneo’s lonely at the top, from where a fall would be nothing short of tragic (just ask the 2002 DLSU Green Archers, the 2007 UE Red Warriors, the 2010 FEU Tamaraws, and, yes, the 2006 Ateneo Blue Eagles).

Can Nico Salva and the Eagles continue flying high
as the season shifts into high gear?
(image by Philip Sison/
Here’s to hoping that coach Norman Black continues succeeding in motivating his wards to buy into his “Defense is our game” mantra. Here’s to hoping our first five remains solid. Here’s to hoping our second-stringers continue “out-benching” our foes. Here’s to hoping we can keep playing keep-away till early October, when history will, hopefully, be made.

One BIG Fight!

AdMU 66 – Ravena 18, Salva 14, Gonzaga 8, Austria 7, Long 6, Slaughter 6, Chua 2, Monfort 2, Sumalinog 2, Golla 1, Erram 0, Tiongson 0
UST 53 – Fortuna 18, Teng 12, Ferrer 6, Pe 6, Camus 5, Abdul 4, Afuang 2, Lo 0, Sheriff 0, Tan 0, Ungria 0, Vigil 0
QS: 10-11, 29-20, 47-34, 66-53

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2 Comment

Tony Atayde never ceases to amaze me with his findings hahahaha. good read, sir!


nice one zo! as you told me, go eaglets! nice game from kiefer, gonzaga and bacon! by the way, the team is miles away from its potential. definitely not at its peak.
when this year's team peaks, IMBA!