Breaking down the match between the Ateneo Blue Eaglets and FEU Baby Tamaraws
by rick olivares
January 14, 2015
Blue Eagle Gym
UAAP Juniors Basketball Second Round
The game started with Jolo Mendoza scooting in for what looked to be an easy basket. Except, instead of taking it strong, he elected to glide to the hoop and for his trouble, got blocked. FEU then scored the game’s first basket. However, it would be the first and only taste of the lead they would ever get in this match.
The next six minutes and fifteen seconds encapsulated how the game was won for Ateneo.
Nineteen points (including three triples). Ten rebounds (eight defensive and two offensive). Six assists. Two steals and one turnover.
The key were the six assists that show the Blue Eaglets willingness to find the open man that led to 14 of the 19 points as well as Mike Nieto’s ability to haul down rebounds. One thing that Nieto has improved is not only his positioning but also his anticipation. During a conversation with his father, former Blue Eagle, Jet Nieto sometime late last year, the father impressed upon his son the value of positioning, tipping the ball to a more advantageous position, and tracking his shot (he grabbed two offensive boards off missed free throws and nearly had two more because of this).
The Blue Eaglets also ran their dreaded press that led to two fastbreak layups.
FEU rallied when Matt Nieto went to the bench after he was called for his second foul. Enzo Joson, came in for the starting point guard of the Blue Eaglets but he too was called for very quick a foul. With the fouls piling up, it was Justine Eustaquio who stabilized the quarterbacking position.
At this point, the Baby Tamaraws began to attack the rim and string up consecutive points.
The Blue Eaglets hiked the lead back to 17 but a dubious foul slapped on Eustaquio who stripped Marvin Lee off a double team. That sent Lee to the line. The Baby Tamaraws scored five straight points to pull down the lead once more to 12, 37-25, at the half.
With Mike Nieto struggling from the field, he missed a bunch of shots (he went 2-5) and four free throws that bridged the second and third quarters, FEU brought the lead down to seven.
In the fourth period, the Blue Eaglets began to once more find the open man while clamping down on defense. Lee threw the ball away after which Ricky Peromingan missed a three-ball. In the very next play, Mike Nieto drilled a triple off an assist from brother, Matt, to bring the lead up to 20, 66-46, with 7:38 to play.
The Blue Eaglets coasted to their 10th win to remain undefeated.
The Tamaraws are a taller squad yet they were outrebounded by Ateneo, 47-36, including 14-8 on the offensive board. The Blue Eaglets also had more assists, 18-7. The final lead of 26 would have been higher had Ateneo hit more free throws as they only went 50%, 13-26.
Ateneo’s starting five of the Nieto brothers, Mamuyac, Mendoza, and Shaun Ildefonso provided the scoring punch while FEU relied on three players Lee, Peromingan, and Wendell Comboy.
There has to be concern with regards to bench production more so with Ateneo after Matt Nieto went to the bench. The bulk of their production is their second generation stars like the Neito brothers, Mendoza (son of former San Beda and UP great Jiggs Mendoza), and Ildefonso (why does that name sound so familiar). Joson’s contributions should be better, Salandanan should be able to be more consistent with his shot while Jossier Hassan should play as big as his height. If they want to wrest the crown from defending champion National University.
As for FEU, they have the height and the talent. The problem is they play better with an uptempo game and struggle in a halfcourt set up. They’ll need help from others and simply cannot ask Comboy and Lee to bail them out.