On the Trail of Champions: On the Matter of Size

Kris Porter's size was too much for the Pages.
(image by Jessie F. Ramos)

There are few sports in the world where one’s height is tantamount to might – where size matters in the field of battle. This sport is one of them.

And in this game between the Blue Eaglets and the Pages, the bigger team won big time.

Ateneo was coming in as the second-hottest team in the division – winning their previous three assignments after dropping the opening day to Zobel in an extra-inning thriller. They were at solo second, and sought to cement that spot even more.

Aaron Black and the Eaglets came in with a
3-game winning streak.
(image by Erwin Cabbab/Fabilioh.com)
UE, on the other hand, was smarting from a 4-game winless start to the season. UE is one of the youngest squads in the league, and their games have been a display of moments of promise sprinkled amid a field of inexperience. Together with the Junior Maroons, they were mired in the doldrums.

Mio Puno has not had a very good season so far. He has been playing mainly in the frontline, where he appears to be short on size but not in heart. He is also playing after being tagged with an unsportsmanlike foul in the previous game against Adamson. He had something to prove here.

Gabe Capacio has shown skills similar to those
of his older brother.
(image by Jessie F. Ramos)
And he didn’t waste anytime. He opened the scoring with a nice cut to the basket, received a pass form Gabe Capacio, and calmly sank the open shot. That’s a third-year duo to look out for in the future.

Ateneo built up a sizeable lead after that. Capacio, Kris Porter, Lambert Tenorio, Tomas Ramos, and Fran Asuncion all hit their stride early in a 10-3 run before UE found its next basket courtesy of Mervin Duray. The Blue & White were well-ahead at this point, 12-5.

The Pages, though, refused to simply bow down without a fight. Led by shooter Jerome Lapada and big man Ric Mandilag, UE tried to trade shots with the Eaglets, but it only resulted in Ateneo further extending the gap by the period’s end, 27-14.

UE had no answer for the big guy from Cebu.
(image by Erwin Cabbab/Fabilioh.com)
Though both teams displayed impressive quickness, it was clear as day that UE simply couldn’t match-up well with the size of the Loyola five. Despite a quick 5-2 start to the 2nd stanza, the Pages folded when prized Cebuano find Kris Porter flexed his muscle underneath. Combined with lay-ups by reserve guard Jeo Consunji and power forward Jed Austria, the 6’4” high school senior deposited 8 points in a 12-10 exchange to keep the Recto quintet at bay. Kiefer Lim hit a trey and UE’s Steven Sumang drove to the hole to peg the halftime score at 44-31, advantage Ateneo.

Porter continue his tirades in the 3rd canto, making good on a put-back and a freebie after UE opened the final half with a trifecta. If he wanted, Porter surely could have made minced meat out of UE’s interior, but the seemingly gentle giant chose to defer in the next few plays. The beneficiary? His frontcourt partner, Tomas Ramos.

Tomas Ramos is versatile enough to
put the ball on the floor.
(image by Erwin Cabbab/Fabilioh.com)
Seeing Ramos play will conjure images of a young Wesley Gonzales, though the former’s ball-handling and perimeter shooting will still need a bit more honing. Against UE, however, his present skill-set was more than enough. Ramos went on a personal 7-0 tear that struck fear in the hearts of the Pages, causing them to call time as Ateneo’s lead stood at a mighty 20 points.

UE tried chipping at the deficit from the charity stripe, but coach Joe Silva’s boys continued piling on the pressure. Anton Asistio, Aaron Black, Capacio and Asuncion all contributed in a 12-9 windup to the 3rd stanza. Ateneo was firmly in-control, 66-43.

Ateneo basically coasted in the last 10 minutes of the game, getting outscored 26-25 in the last quarter, but still prevailing with plenty to spare, 81-59.

Thirdy Ravena had some nifty drives late in the game.
(image by Erwin Cabbab/Fabilioh.com)
Chiefly thanks to our team’s size, UE went down in flames. The Pages fall to 0-6 while we keep just a game’s distance behind the Junior Archers.

The frontline quartet of Porter, Ramos, Austria and Capacio just dominated all throughout. The four combined for more than half of the Eaglets’ total output, which augurs well for the next game of the season on Saturday.

For the past three games, it has been the hot shooting and hard slashing of our guard corps that enabled us to win, but now that our big men have had a really impressive outing, it seems the sky’s the limit for the Eaglets’ potential.

Size matters in basketball. Good thing we have it in spades.

One BIG Fight!

AHS 81 - Ramos 15, Porter 12, Capacio 10, Austria 9, Asuncion 7, Ravena 6, Black 6, Lim 5, Tenorio 3, Consunji 2, Asistio 2, Puno 2, Gamboa 2, Ladaban 0, Vitangcol 0.
UE 59 - Rodriguez 12, Lapada 9, Malones 8, Mandilag 6, Diswe 6, Ablaza 5, Sumang 4, Briones 4, Viajar 3, Duray 2, Garcia 0, Santos 0, Lescano 0, Bautista 0.
QS: 27-14, 44-31, 66-43, 81-59.

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