Growing Their Wings: Eaglets Lose in a Frenzy of Fouls

Matthew Nieto and the Eaglets struggled mightily
against Nicko Bahia and the spirited Tiger Cubs.


The UST Tiger Cubs were gifted with 49 free throw attempts. That would already be an astounding figure in a full 48-minute pro game, but in a 40-minute high school game? Practically unheard of as far as I know.

But it did happen, and it played a big part in the Eaglets dropping to fifth in the standings with 2 wins against 3 losses.

Things actually didn’t start pretty well for Ateneo, as UST opened up an 11-4 lead three minutes into the game thanks to aggressive play from ex-Atenean Nicko Bahia, versatile forward Alvin Ungria, and big man Vaugh Soriano. The drives of Ungria and inside play of Soriano caused the referees to tag the Eaglets with a number of fouls in quick succession. As a result, the starting frontline of Bolek Vitangcol and Thirdy Ravena had to sit after just a few minutes of play. Their subs didn’t fare any better, too, as both Jme Escaler and Mio Puno were also assessed two fouls each. In all, the Loyola squad was tagged with a total of 11 fouls in the first period, which resulted in 19 free throws awarded to UST. That number was already more than the total freebies the Blue & White would eventually get for the entire game. Nevertheless, the Eaglets still managed to keep in step thanks to three triples from Anton Asistio. The quarter ended in a 23-all tie.

Things were a little better in the second stanza as Ravena’s return to the court sparked the Eaglets. With UST threatening to put some significant separation, Coach Joe Silva gambled by putting the third-year forward back in the game at the halfway point of the quarter. It paid off as Ravena scattered 7 points in a 15-7 exchange that enabled Ateneo to take the lead, 42-39, at the break.

The see-saw battle continued in the third period, but, once again, the curious discrepancy in free throws reared its head. Asistio, Aaron Black, and Patrick Vinasoy were tagged with 2 fouls each in this quarter as the Cubs were awarded 10 charities compared to just 1 for Ateneo. Chief beneficiary was Thomasian ace Prince Martin, who hit 6-of-6 from the stripe in this canto. Anton Asistio hit his fourth and last triple of the game with under 4 minutes to go in the period, spearheading a 9-4 spurt that gave the Katipunan quintet a 61-57 edge with 30 ticks to go in the quarter. Martin, though, hit a couple of free throws to put UST within two before the final frame began.

The last ten minutes were hell for Ateneo. Asistio never scored again, and two Ateneans fouled out. The pivotal sequence, however, was after an Aaron Black jumper that tied score at 63. After that, Ungria led a critical 15-6 run in the next six minutes to put Coach Allan Ascue’s boys comfortably ahead, 78-69, with under 90 seconds to go. Ungria scored 12 of his game-high 31 points in that spurt, which all but sealed the result of the encounter.

Ateneo would make a gallant last stand thanks to the Nieto twins (Matthew and Mike, who were both pretty banged up at that point) trimming the gap to as little as 5 points, but the Eaglets just could not get any closer. In the end, UST nailed its third win in five games, 83-77.

This loss doesn’t eliminate Ateneo from Final Four contention, but it will definitely make things tougher, as the Eaglets have yet to face dangerous UE and contender De La Salle Zobel. Winning both games will be important, since the second round promises to have even more furious competition.

This stings because when the elimination round enters its final stages, many teams will probably be bunched up close together. NU and FEU are the runaway favorites for the Final Four, which leaves just two slots for about four teams with comparable depth – Ateneo, Zobel, UPIS, and UST. If, indeed, the Eaglets fall short by a win or two, then they will probably look back on this frenzy of fouls as the one that got away.

UST 83 – Ungria 31, Martin 19, Bahia 16, Soriano 6, Ramirez 2, Mayor 2, Corre 2, Baetiong 2, Abuyen 2, Borje 1
AHS 77 – Asistio 20, Ravena 13, Nieto Mi 12, Black 12, Nieto Ma 10, Gamboa 4, Vitangcol 2, Vinasoy 2, Puno 2, Quioge 0, Mendoza 0, Escaler 0, Calilung 0
QS: 23-23, 39-42, 59-61, 83-77
Notable Performers:
Alvin Ungria (UST) – 31pts, 14rebs, 3blks
Prince Martin (UST) – 19pts, 7rebs, 3asts, 1stl
Anton Asistio (AHS) – 20pts, 4 treys, 3asts, 1stl

Anton Asistio kept Ateneo's heads above water
with accurate sniping early on.

Prince Martin put up great numbers again as
UST won its third game of the season.

Former PBA stars Bong Ravena and Norman Black look on
as their sons take the spotlight in the UAAP.

Other Juniors Scores:

August 2, 2012:

DLSZ Junior Archers over UPIS Junior Maroons, 68-61
DLSZ 68 – Subido 21, Saubier 16, Banzon 13, Melecio Ak 7, Melecio Aj 6, Andaya 4, Quintos 1, Samonte 0, Evangelista 0, Cruz 0, Cabarrus 0
UPIS 61 – Dario 14, Ancheta 13, Sablan 7, Gregorio 7, General 7, Quejada 4, Pajarillaga 4, Lina 3, Lopez 2
QS: 21-13, 31-28, 50-50, 68-61

FEU-FERN Baby Tamaraws over UE Pages, 87-45
FEU-FERN 87 – Pingoy 17, Domingo R 12, Domingo Jj 8, Completo 6, Escoto 6, Lee Yu 6, Palacio 5, Delfinado 5, Domingo Js 5, Aguilon 5, Hassan 4, Belgica 4, You 3, Magbuhos 1, Lumba 0
UE 45 – Viajar 11, Pangilinan 9, Ceralde 6, Garcia 4, Swan 3, Rafol 3, Briones 3, Del Rosario 2, Correche 2, Carabejo 2, Sison 0, Posadas 0, Castillo 0, Arbarro 0
QS: 20-12, 51-17, 80-25, 87-45

August 10, 2012:

NU Bullpups over UE Pages, 78-59
NU 78 – Morido 19, Atangan 14, Busa 12, Lapiz 7, Cauilan 7, Mosqueda 6, Dela Cruz 5, Battad 3, Lopena 2, Biteng 2, Banawan 1, Canaynay 0, Claveria 0, Castillo 0
UE 59 – Viajar 19, Pangilinan 14, Briones 10, Castillo 8, Sison 6, Ceralde 2, Posadas 0, Del Rosario 0, Correche 0, Abarro 0
QS: 15-13, 35-25, 52-45, 78-59

DLSZ Junior Archers over AdU Baby Falcons, 78-69
DLSZ 78 – Subido 24, Banzon 12, Saubier 11, Melecio Ak. 9, Melecio Aj. 7, Abanilla 6, Cabarrus 5, Manguera 4, Wieneke 0, Samonte 0, Quintos 0, Ong Amboy 0, Evangelista 0, Cruz 0, Andaya 0
AdU 69 – Margallo 22, Pangaibat 15, Javier 8, Fernandez 6, Asistio 5, Ylagan 3, Solomon 3, Munsayac 3, Nemenzo 2, Quinga 1, Barroga 1, Pacturan 0, Madrid 0, Inigo 0, Casino 0
QS: 19-11, 47-27, 61-51, 78-69

*All images are by Warner David.
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