The Games that Play Us: Moves like Jagger

While everyone else was holding up four fingers, here
we have Kiefer Ravena looking at all five. He's
always one step ahead, after all.
(image by Philip Sison/

Thank you Eagles for driving us four-ward into history, and tickling our fancies for a possible Voltes V next year.

Moves like Jagger
By Maroon 5 (Prophetic it seems? No jinxes please!)

Just shoot for the stars
If it feels right
Then aim for my heart
If you feel like
And take me away, make it okay
I swear I'll behave
You want the moves like Jagger
I've got the moves like Jagger
I've got the mooooooves... like Jagger

Here are the different moves and movements that fueled Ateneo’s majestic flight into the fantastic four-peat:

Here’s the promo: The Blue Eagles were on the cusp of winning a fourth straight UAAP Men’s Basketball crown, which is unprecedented in school history. It was to be the final game of Kirk Long, Emman Monfort and Bacon Austria. They were aiming for a repeat performance against the FEU program they beat in Season 73 and whom they’ve dominated in 3 games this season.

Asst. Coach Joe Silva shares some words for graduaitng
cager Bacon Austria.
(image by Philip Sison/
Here’s what happened: Ateneo and FEU traded jabs in the first quarter, feeling each other out and being cautious with their respective plays.  After Carl Cruz hit a long 2 to give the Tams an 18-16 lead, the Eagles, behind Nico Salva, Justin Chua and the great defense of Toniño Gonzaga, went on a 7-0 spurt to snatch the end-of-quarter advantage, 23-18.

The Eagles held coach Bert Flores’s boys without a field goal for the first half of the 2nd canto and went on their own 7-2 mini-run to mount the games first double-digit lead, 30-20. The Green & Gold, however, responded mightily. Aldrech Ramos nailed his jumpers while Mark Bringas and John Foronda exploited their speed advantage against Greg Slaughter to score on drives, propelling a 16-5 run to end the half ahead, 36-35.

It had the makings of a classic.

And it turned out to be a classic – a classic beat-down in the 2nd half.

Behind his starting five, coach Black left nothing to chance and unleashed a 14-4 blast in the first 7 minutes of the 3rd stanza, which gave the Ateneans a big 49-40 spread. Mike Tolomia and Russel Escoto tried to bridge the gap, but the Blue & White’s excellent bench play, behind Juami Tiongson, Gonzaga and JP Erram, kept them at bay, closing out the first 30 minutes with the defending champs up, 57-45.

It was FEU ace RR Garcia who started the scoring in the final 10 minutes. He nailed a jumper to give the FEU fans hope that a Tamaraw run was in the offing. Unlike in the 1st half, though, that big, momentum-turning run never came. Instead, it seemed like the Eagles scored two baskets for every one made by FEU. Rookie-of-the-Year Kiefer Ravena, Monfort, Slaughter and Salva all conspired to outscore the Moraytans, 17-8, after Garcia’s basket and give the Loyolans a seemingly insurmountable 74-55 lead with 4:12 to go.

At this time, the Eagles and their fans were giddy with the prospects of hoisting another UAAP trophy, and, needless to say, they would never let go.

Emman Monfort steered the Eagles into history.
(image by Philip Sison/
FEU would outgun Ateneo in the final 4 minutes of action (there was even a Pipo Noundou sighting!), but it was all for naught as the Eagles hit 8-of-10 charities to ice the contest and the 4-peat, 82-69.

Coach Norman’s brilliant move: Postgame write-ups and analyses quoted coach Black in unison, saying he pulled his punches a bit in the 1st half by not going to his pick-and-roll too much. He didn’t want FEU to see it and adjust in the 2nd half. It was a bold tactic. Risky, yes, but it paid off in spades when the final buzzer sounded. The chess game just never ends with coach Black, and we can expect him to be even more calculating in the future.

Jeric Estrada flashes the now ubiquitous four-fingers sign
in a light moment with coach Norman Black.
(image by Philip Sison/
Bench moves to the forefront: Tiongson, Gonzaga, Erram, and Chua all scored to provide ample support off the pine for Ateneo. Gonzaga connected with Chua on the break to end the 1st quarter while Tiongson fed Erram underneath in the 2nd half for an easy deuce. Those two plays (just two out of many mind you!) typified the Eagles’ unselfishness and unrivaled teamwork. With this great outing, Tiongson has proven his worth and should man next season’s starting PG slot (DLSU transferee Nico Elorde and BJ Cipriano are prime candidates to alternate with him). Gonzaga continues to be an unheralded pile of energy while Erram and Chua remain solid as probably the best back-up big men in college ball.

Moving performances: All around the arena, people raised banners of gratitude and cheer for this season’s graduating players – Long, Monfort and Austria. The trio’s combined numbers in the final game won’t make them MVPs, but their contributions over the season, and over the past years, far outweigh any stat in the books. Monfort finally hit a three, Long was a leech on defense, and Austria had 2 big assists in their last match wearing the fabled Ateneo jersey. Fittingly so, they were showered with applause as they exited the hardwood in the waning minutes.

Emman Monfort howls after hitting a three
in the fourth quarter of Game 2.
(image by Philip Sison/
Move with the groove: It’s no secret that Ravena, Salva, and Slaughter were Ateneo’s main offensive options this season. Ravena had 18 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal in this game while Slaughter finished with 11 markers, 6 boards, 2 dimes and 1 block. Salva, though, was the consensus Finals MVP, scoring 15 points, grabbing 5 caroms, dishing out 2 assists and getting a steal in Game 2. He shot an eye-popping 14-of-18 from the field and 11-of-12 from the line over the two Finals games. The scary thing for the other 7 teams in the league is all three will be back next year.

Nico Salva showcased a plethora of "moves
like Jagger" in decimating FEU's defense.
(image by Philip Sison/
Prepare for bitter movements: As part of the requisite aftermath of every UAAP championship run, the winning program will be peppered with criticisms and would-be controversies. Such is the habit of bitter beings casted out into elimination earlier in the season. They will fail to compliment the wonderful fade-aways of Ravena, the slice-and-dice drives of Salva, the constant improvement of Slaughter, and the at-times airtight D of the whole team. They will focus on free throw discrepancies, bum calls on both ends and how some big-time scorers inexplicably put up bricks in the biggest game of the season. Such are examples of folly for floundering fools. Ateneo will let them say what they want on Twitter, Facebook or the broadsheets, but the Eagles will do their talking on the court and shut them up good.

Terrence Romeo was all but bottled up by the sticky
D of Capt. Kirk.
(image by Philip Sison/
Moving into history, and looking forward to a five-fingered future: The core of this team will return next season. The spots to be vacated by Monfort, Long and Austria should be filled by eager-to-step-up players like Tiongson, Von Pessumal and Gwyne Capacio. And, yes, let’s not forget that guy who didn’t play this season. In Pinoy parlance, partida na. He’ll definitely play with a vengeance next year.

Gwyne Capacio, Juami Tiongson and Von Pessumal should
have bigger roles in Season 75's drive for five.
(image by Philip Sison/
Coach Black now has one ring for each of his fingers (one of my past Science teachers told me that the thumb technically isn’t a finger), and next season he’ll certainly go all-out to complete the whole handful.

So many moves from the Eagles and one ending – another UAAP Championship. Moves like Jagger indeed. To quote a friend on Facebook, “See you at the annual bonfire!”

One BIG Fight!

AdMU 82 – Ravena 18, Salva 15, Slaughter 11, Tiongson 11, Monfort 9, Gonzaga 6, Long 5, Chua 5, Erram 2, Pessumal 0, Sumalinog 0, Golla 0, Austria 0
FEU 69 – Ramos 20, Garcia 16, Tolomia 7, Romeo 7, Escoto 4, Bringas 4, Exciminiano 4, Foronda 3, Cruz 2, Noundou 2, Pogoy 0, Mendoza 0, Knuttel 0
QS: 23-18, 35-36, 57-45, 82-69

Greg Slaughter fields questions from TJ Manotoc
at the postgame celebration.
(image by Philip Sison/
The Eagles sing the Song for Mary as they clinch
an unprecedented 4-peat for Ateneo.
(image by Philip Sison/
Looking four-ward to the bonfire!
(image by Philip Sison/
Your HoopNut in all his unabashedly biased glory!
And right there on the coliseum floor, too!
(image by Philip Sison/

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5 Comment

sir, i thought Slaughter was only going to play for a year? i thought he only had 1 playing year? nonetheless his return could only spell doom for the othet teams. Win or Lose! One Big Fight!


to Anonymous: Slaughter has 2 more years if he chooses to do so...

to Hoop Nut: what's your weigh on Slaughter's electing to go pro and foregoing his final two years? do you have any scoop on that possibility?


awesome read sir! i have always been a big fan of hoopnut! thank you for all the support sir!


Sir How did you get a media pass? Awesome pa sama naman next time :))


"And, yes, let’s not forget that guy who didn’t play this season. In Pinoy parlance, partida na. He’ll definitely play with a vengeance next year."

Sir Flojo, is "that guy" Ryan Buenafe you're referring to? :) Hehe