The Games that Play Us: Out of Reach

Nico Salva starred in Ateneo's convincing win over FEU.
(image by Philip Sison/

AdMU Blue Eagles over the FEU Tamaraws, 69-49

This game is not over because, if FEU’s recent history is to be taken into account, a protest is expectedly in the works.

And the funny thing is FEU, along with some other same-hued observers, will probably blame incongruous things like officiating or any of the following(anything new?):

They’ll point to free-throw disparity, when the Tams should consider driving to the hole more often than settling for jumpers.

They’ll focus on the two unsportsmanlike fouls instead of looking back at the Tams’ 28% FG shooting and 6% 3-point accuracy.

They’ll turn a blind eye to how Ateneo had more assists and blocks.

They’ll choose not admit that Ateneo just played better. That Ateneo was the better team.

And in the context of the whole first round, that Ateneo was the best team.

Frank Golla was a big part of the Blues'
stifling defense.
(image by Philip Sison/
Ateneo may not have waxed hot-then-cold like some other squads, but the Eagles were consistent. They were steady – stable like a well-built harbor in a raging storm.

And that stability was evident against FEU (though, and I cannot overstate it enough, the Moraytans won’t admit it). Terrence Romeo was a semblance of his Rookie-of-the-Year self, Russel Escoto played well beyond expectations, and Christian Sentcheu did a fair job against Greg Slaughter, but coach Norman Black just steered the Blue & White through the tempest and came out on top.

Justin Chua made good on a couple of jumpers that
were reminiscent of Season 73.
(image by Philip Sison/
Our starting five was solid again, though Emman Monfort is still searching for that consistent three-ball shot. The bench had some moments, too. Justin Chua hit two straight jumpers late in the first quarter that kept Ateneo in-step, and reminded the Loyola faithful of his brilliant Season 73 self. Toniño Gonzaga was brimming with his usual energy, and even Bacon Austria contributed with a jumper that sparked the decisive run in the fourth stanza.

The Blue Eagles just flew high over the Tamaraws, well out of reach of their hoofs and horns. From a broader perspective, the Eagles just flew over everyone in the first round, well out of reach of arrows, canines or claws, and there are no signs of letting up.

Kiefer Ravena and the Eagles are flying high after
sweeping the first round of competition.
(image by Philip Sison/
The thing is this: being on top of the heap is a lonely state of affairs, and the caveat is the Eagles will have targets painted even more brightly on their backs after this sweep. Right now Ateneo is the puzzle everyone is aching to solve –something that nobody, save for the Adamson Falcons, has come close to doing. And here’s the thing about the UAAP – when a team cannot be beaten on the floor, they’ll have to fight for every win elsewhere, too.

Especially against FEU.

One BIG Fight!

AdMU 69 – Ravena 19, Slaughter 15, Salva 10, Long 9, Chua 4, Gonzaga 4, Monfort 3, Austria 2, Sumalinog 2, Golla 1, Erram 0, Tiongson 0
FEU 49 – Garcia 15, Escoto 8, Romeo 8, Ramos 5, Sentcheu 5, Exciminiano 4, Tolomia 3, Cruz 1, Cawaling 0, Foronda 0, Knuttel 0, Mendoza 0
QS: 15-15, 30-26, 47-35, 69-49

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