If you're from Ateneo, here are six reasons to feel good about the win over UST.
by rick olivares
This one was a total team effort.
This 61-57 win is only the second in 26 games played this UAAP season where a team had all the players it fielded contribute to the effort.
All 10 players fielded by Bo Perasol scored. All 10 not only scored but they also had at least one rebound as well. And six Blue Eagles also got an assist, steal, or a block. Seven of them went to the free throw line as well. What this all adds up to is a total team effort.
The only other team to have all its fielded players score is FEU during their 87-83 win over NU.
Even Gwyne Capacio hit some big shots! If there is one Blue Eagle that I have been waited to show his wares it is Capacio. He’s had steady performances now. Here’s to building on that.
This is the first game where the team practically led from start to finish.
Okay, it was the Growling Tigers who drew first blood courtesy of Kevin Ferrer. But Frank Golla scored inside and over Karim Abdul off a nifty bounce pass by Ryan Buenafe to equalize 23 seconds later. Thirty-two seconds after that, Juami Tiongson scored on a lay-up after they harassed Brian So into a turnover.
The Blue Eagles answered every run, every big shot by the Growling Tigers with one of their own.
After taking a 19-6 first quarter lead, UST went on a mini 9-4 run to make it 23-15 after an Aljon Mariano short stab. Chris Newsome deposited two free throws to restore a double-digit lead. Then Juami Tiongson added two of his own after another Mariano bucket.
During the third quarter, after Kevin Ferrer put back a brick to cut the lead down to 34-28, Juami Tiongson raced to the left corner where Kiefer Ravena gave him the rock for an uncontested three-ball, 37-28. Then Ryan added to free throws off a Kim Lo foul.
In the pay-off period, Ed Daquioag, playing a resplendent second half, drove in for a basket to make it 56-53, Ateneo.
Ravena answered with a drive of his own, 58-53, with time down to 1:54 seconds left.
Then the Phenom blocked a Daquioag trey attempt.
In the endgame, it got interesting when Ateneo began to miss free throws giving UST a shot a sending the match into overtime.
Fortunately for the blue and white, Kevin Ferrer missed a couple of open looks.
Ateneo won the battle of the third period and for the second consecutive game, won all four periods.
Let’s tackle first that third period. UST had whittled Ateneo’s lead down to six, 27-21, in a low scoring affair.
But the Blue Eagles took the third period 20-18 (points scored), won the battle of the boards 13-10, and had more assists 6-3. This was the period where Capacio scored five points while Von Pessumal made his only bucket – a three – of the game.
Why is that third period important? It’s because, they are able to answer the opposing team’s halftime adjustments. And it serves as a springboard for a good fourth period.
In the first three games of Season 76 – all loses – Ateneo conceded that third period. They won their next ones – Adamson, UE, UP, and UST.
But we lost to UE you say.
True. After Ateneo’s third quarter rampage, the score was knotted at 54-all. It was those end game miscues that cost us the W.
And that leads me to the fourth periods.
What this all means is the team is finally putting it together. Derailed by unexpected and untimely injuries, they are starting to put it all together.
Here is the season flow thus far:
Get blown out in the opener – lose by a hairline in the next – rack up a lead and get some gruesome fouls called against the bigs and the team prompting a loss – win the next with that big third quarter – lose another close one – then lastly win the final two matches by taking all four periods.
Furthermore, after averaging 16.2 turnovers in their first five matches, Ateneo turned the ball over only 9.5 times in their past two games. Both for wins.
Yes, the team is getting better physically and mentally (as is Kiefer Ravena who admitted to being 70% back).
Ateneo’s bigs stayed in the game.
For the second consecutive game, Frank Golla and JP Erram played 25 and 15 minutes respectively. They combined for 10 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 shot blocks. Versus one turnover. Although they had three fouls with attempts (meaning the opposing player trooped to the free throw line). Vince Tolentino also played 10 minutes where he chipped in 2 points and 2 rebounds.
There’s a little bit of déjà vu.
Third period. The score is 30-21 with Ateneo on offense. The play nearly goes awry but Chris Newsome saves the ball from going out of bounds by tossing it near the elbow of the free throw line. Ryan Buenafe hauls down the loose ball before Clark Bautista could get to it. As he lands, he draws Aljon Mariano and Kim Lo. Newsome runs back into play and Buenafe finds him with a snap pass. Newsome skies and slams it home with Karim Abdul trying to swat the shot. Forget that dunk, Kobe Paras. That was during a lay-up line. This is/was the real deal!
When I saw that, I said to myself, jeez, we just go the dunk of the season. No way are we going to lose this game.
I said the same thing when Juami Tiongson poked the ball away from Jeric Fortuna in last year’s second round match up. Kiefer Ravena streaked forward with Abdul hot in pursuit. The Phenom took off with Karim trying to return to sender. Jam! That made it 33-28 with about 40 seconds left in the second period.
Nearly identical scores and both flushes in a win against UST. Déjà vu.
That was a great coaching job by Bo Perasol.
You have to give credit to the coach. He was in control of this match.
First and foremost, Ateneo came out with a lot of energy. They had UST on their heels for most of the game.
Karim Abdul was defended well. The double teams worked as the Cameroonian averages 15.0 points per game. He ended up with 6. Abdul was guarded by either Frank Golla or JP Erram with held coming from Ryan Buenafe or others players within the vicinity.
Chris Newsome on the other hand took on Kevin Ferrer. The third year forward for the Tigers averaged 13.8 points per contest heading into their final match up of the first round. He finished with 9 points.
Aljon Mariano had a monster first half but in eight minutes in the fourth period, he had zero points. Ditto for Ferrer.
They played great defense as they scored 14 points off turnovers (to the 5 of UST). The blue and whites also had 4 steals to the 2 of UST. Both teams were even at 4 blocks each.
Coach Bo’s use of his time outs was judicious if not timely. He shuffled his players making sure each one got adequate rest. And every bunot worked from Vince Tolentino to Gwyne Capacio.
Plus, I love how they attacked the interiors. Ateneo scored 28 points in the paint (to the 22 of UST). That shows a willingness to mix it up inside.
So the team is at 3-4 to close out the first round. Save for the NU match, every one of the other losses were winnable.
In those loses, they stayed close only to crumble in the endgame. Now, they are learning to close them out again. Plus, Coach Bo is getting a better grasp of the team not to mention amateur ball all over again.
It’s a good win. Along with the break that they will use to get healthier (and for Ryan Buenafe to shed a few more pounds), they’re poised for a run in the second round.
The drive is still alive.