The Games that Play Us: Lockdown

Nico Salva throws it down as the Eagles
rout the Bulldogs for win # 13.
(image by Philip Sison/

AdMU Blue Eagles over the NU Bulldogs, 61-39

The NU Bulldogs, despite all the hype and preseason success, have not been able to hold a candle to the defending champion Blue Eagles this season.

Instead of looking fierce and rabid, coach Eric Altamirano’s wards have looked tamed and caged against the Blue & White.

And it’s a little ironic, too, since it was NU who beat the Eagles in last year’s Unigames Finals and eliminated the Eagles in this past summer’s Fr. Martin’s Cup. By all indications, Ateneo was supposed to have a helluva difficult time against Ray Parks and Co.

It was, however, the other way around in the teams’ first meeting this season, and, save for a tight 1st canto, it was pretty much the same yesterday, too.

Emmanuel Mbe and the Bulldogs relinquish
their shot at a Final Four berth.
(image from
The Bulldogs were aggressive out of the gates, quickly setting up an elbow jumper by Parks to kick off the scoring. Emmanuel Mbe and Gelo Alolino had some nifty inside stabs, too, as the Sampaloc five took the initiative.

It didn’t take too long, though, for the Ateneans to find their bearings and turn the potential barnburner into a sleeper. Wunderkind Kiefer Ravena hit 7 straight to help the Loyola quintet take the lead at 1st quarter’s end, and then coach Norman Black turned up the heat in the 2nd and 3rd periods to get the necessary separation.

The Dogs couldn’t really get anything going in the middle 2 stanzas, where they made only 16 total points, while allowing Ateneo to score 42 of their own. Bulk of the credit goes to the defense on Parks (read: Kirk Long), who may have hoisted 14 shots, but made good on only 3. The rest of NU’s regular reliables didn’t fare too well either –Mbe, Alolino, Jeoff Javillonar, and Jul-Ashri Ignacio all combined for just 12-of-35 from the floor. All in all, NU had their lowest scoring output of the season, and, to my recollection, since 2004.

And there’s really just one word for that, right?

Lockdown defense.

And what’s the old sports saying about defense and championships?

Oops, let’s get way over our heads.

Ray Parks fails to stop Greg Slaughter and the
Blue Eagles from nearing a sweep of the elims.
(image by Philip Sison/
Speaking of “way over our heads,” that might sum up how NU’s season has unfolded. Maybe they got in way over their heads? After the influx of capital (financial and talent), the potential team of destiny has tumbled and crumbled into a team of melancholy. There are a lot of things to talk about and change by season’s end, but they’ll still have to go through DLSU and UST before they can even begin the grilling.

On the other side of things, the Eagles, at 13-0, are admittedly looking mighty fine for the 4-peat run. They’re getting closer, even as the pretenders start to fall by the wayside. A sweep would be nice, and against the Adamson Soaring Falcons next week, the chances are fair.

The key? Lockdown.

The Eagles are still on a roll. Do you get the
feeling that more is coming?
(image by Philip Sison/
One BIG Fight!

AdMU 61 – Salva 14, Slaughter 13, Ravena 12, Long 10, Gonzaga 6, Golla 4, Monfort 2, Austria 0, Sumalinog 0, Chua 0, Tiongson 0
NU 39 – Mbe 10, Parks 10, Javillonar 9, Alolino 4, Ignacio 4, Neypes 2, Celiz 0, Villamor 0, Terso 0, Khobuntin 0, Roño 0
QS: 12-11, 26-19, 48-27, 61-39

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