First of all, I’m really sorry for not updating my blog especially last September where I did not post a single entry. The long and short of it is life has taken a toll on me, specifically my academic and family life. And in cases where I am not busy (or supposedly busy but I chose not to), I am closely watching this University Athletics Association of the Philippines or UAAP Season 76 of the Men’s Basketball.
THE ELIMINATION ROUND
Last year, I’ve mentioned on how excited I’m going to be this season but I did not expect it to be this exciting. Of course, I rooted for University of Santo Tomas where I am an alumna and University of the East where I am currently a law student. But this year De La Salle University Green Archers earned my respect so much. I loved how they matured as a team and the trust they gave to each of their teammates and coach. It was a tough road for De La Salle because during the first round of the season, they were on the bottom four of the standings. There was a long break after that because the Philippines hosted the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship and one of the venues of the UAAP Games, Mall of Asia, was one of the venues used for such basketball championship. Yes, we know what happened next—Team Gilas Pilipinas made history and would be going to Spain on 2014 FIBA World Cup! But somehow, this changed De La Salle, too. When they returned, they were unstoppable. They won all their games in the second round just like that.
Everyone was surprised as many people then were already predicting that Far Eastern University Tamaraws is going to be the new champions for this season for sweeping the first round. But yeah, personal issues among players like irresponsibility and immaturity blocked FEU to the winning goal. Sadly, their MVP, Terrence Romeo, acted more like a liability as their campaign to the championship slowly approached its end. He returned to his old self—brash, cocky and a ball hog in crucial plays. I wished that he would have redeemed himself for next season but he chose to go pro instead. Well, I wish for all the luck in the world for UAAP’s favorite “BRO”.
There was one more favored team at the end of the elimination round and that is the National University Bulldogs. Three schools—NU, DLSU and FEU—finished the elimination round on top of the standings with 10-4 win-loss record. The Bulldogs ended on the top of the standings because among the three, they had the best quotient value. However, they were stopped by the fourth seed, University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers. UST was a great team however what hurt them the most during the elimination round was the injury made by Jeoffrey Javilionar to UST’s top gun and team captain, Jeric Teng, almost ruined UST’s campaign to the Final Four. The sad part is, Javilionar was not punished at all! Unfair as it may seem, I believe that this has been the driving force of UST in passing through that tough twice-to-beat advantage of NU.
With the rest of the teams, this is the quick things I have to said about them. For Ateneo De Manila University Blue Eagles, you nothing to be ashamed of. Five-peat is still five-peat and you cannot always be on top. Then again, you must really do something and discipline your mega-arrogant coach. For University of the East Red Warriors, words cannot express how your talent was wasted because of useless sanctions given by the UAAP Board to our players especially in crucial games. Maybe this is not our year but maybe next year, it will be. Igma Kadima! For Adamson University Soaring Falcons, I really wondered what is wrong with such a good team. A part of me dies whenever I see you crumble after you take the lead in the first half of the game then completely losing it. But you can do it! For University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons…what on earth is happening to you? I had been a UAAP fan ever since a I was a college freshman back in 2005 and so far, UP is the only team that never reached the Final Four. And despite that P5 Million donation from Manny V. Pangilinan to improve their basketball team nothing happened. In fact, they did not win a single game. But as the saying goes, once you reach the rock bottom, there is no way but UP. Good luck, UP. You can so do this.
De La Salle University and University of Santo Tomas finally reached the finals together. Now, this was a feat. For some reason, the fans of DLSU and UST were so supportive with each other since last season. The fans even call this union as DLSUST! A big factor in it was when Jeron Teng, the younger brother of Jeric Teng, entered DLSU. Everyone loved them together! I’ve seen brothers joining UAAP but they had always been on the same team. The Tengs are different—they are rivals but after the game you would see that pure brotherly love, support and respect emanating from them.
UAAP Finals is only for best-of-three. Game 1 came and it’s a pain that I could not watch them because of my Remedial Law finals. But what a game! UST owned it with a solitary point! Also, that ended the winning streak of the Archers.
Everyone in the UST community went ballistic. The UAAP statistical records show 71% of the time, there is no Game 3. But DLSU was really determined. On Game 2, they dominated UST almost the entire game. They took Game 2 with a hefty 7 point lead.
Game 3 did push through one week after despite the typhoon scare. Nobody is really sure what is going to happen. Both teams are almost equally matched. They both have what it takes to defeat each other. UST got an early lead with as much as 15 points. But soon afterwards, DLSU managed to run after that lead. An overtime was needed to know who really deserves the crown and unfortunately for us, Thomasians, DLSU took it with a cold 2-point lead from Almond Vosotros.
Gahhh…I swear that it was one of the most painful moments in my life. The bad news was Studio 23 kept on replaying that game several times this week.
Why can’t UAAP have a best-of-five for finals instead? 😦
Life moves on, as they say. I went back to school and finished my course. There are still no results yet but I do hope that they are positive. Yet every time I remembered that the time went out, I die. I also thought that it was good that I have another school to think about. If this happened within the years I am in UST, I won’t really know how I’d cope up.
There were cheers and celebrations in DLSU. Their player, Arnold Van Opstal, was so happy that he showed his abs to everyone. Their players were everywhere this week, from TV guestings, to radio shows and the front pages of the newspapers. But the DLSU crowd was the most gracious opponent ever. They cheered the infamous “Go USTe!” after the game and even in their Animo Night to show their respect to the Tigers.
Finals MVP Jeron Teng was an instant celebrity together with his brother Jeric. Who wouldn’t go “AWWWWW” seeing how they hugged each other after the game. The lesson that the Teng brothers taught us: Basketball is just basketball. Be very professional in dealing with it. But after the game, it’s back to being brothers again. Anyway, Jeron revealed in the interview that they did not celebrate his victory in his family knowing how his brother grieves for their loss. Well, Jeric is now preparing for his PBA Draft so we’re very much excited for him. What we didn’t know that our favorite “BRO” also enlisted for PBA draft. Yup, it’s bye-bye time for Terrence Romeo for FEU, too. Sayang, he has one more year to redeem himself.
So yeah…it’s good bye Teng Brothers’ Chowking Memes. Goodbye to our Bromeo, too. It’s the start of a brand new era.
Oh. And there’s one more person.
Who would not forget Tiger Aljon Mariano? I really feel bad for the boy. He was playing very well for the UST Team especially when Jeric Teng was injured, If it wasn’t for him, the UST Team should not have reached the final four. His efforts in defeating FEU was outstanding. However, his meltdown started even before the finals. When UST entered the Final Four, we had not seen any stellar games from him. This went on until the finals. His biggest fault was when he failed to listen to Coach Pido Jarencio’s instruction to make Jeric Teng take a shot. Probably, he wanted to take that hero shot and decided not to pass it to Teng. But I cannot just particularly blame him. That 15-point lead of UST cannot just slip from UST’s hands is not just his working. Also, if he did not make those two free throws, the game could not have reached overtime. What pains me is the fact that UST “fans” are making malicious accusations that DLSU paid him. This is totally not cool and very childish. It’s a good thing that Aljon was matured enough to understand his mistakes and gave this message via his Twitter account:
I can’t wait for new season. I’m particularly scared of the DLSU Green Archers because none of its players graduated and they are threatening everyone with that big import, Ben Mbala. Ateneo is also very much determined to regain that crown or at least return to final four. Their top player, Kiefer Ravena’s brother, Thirdy, is joining the team. And he played exceptionally for the Junior’s team. There are a lot of graduates of FEU so it’s a big challenge for them to have their veteran player like Cris Tolomia, to really step up. UE said goodbye to 6 of its players but their main men, topbilled by Roi Sumang and Charles Mammie, are still there. UST bid Jeric Teng and Clark Bautista farewell but everyone else is there. For National University, they would struggle without Emmanuel Mbe and probably Ray Parks, too. I have no idea what would Adamson and UP do but I hope that they are cooking up something really great for Season ’77!
Yes, this season had been full of B’s for me: Broken heart, Brotherhood and BROs! Sadly, my UAAP fandom would now lie low starting now because of another B. I would definitely take the bar exams next year. But surely, it would be a blast. And hey, UE’s the host next season!
***Disclaimer: Almost all the pictures are from UAAP NCAA Memes. The Jeric Teng and Jeron Teng picture embracing each other is from Philstar. AVO’s abs shot is from DLSU Sports. I can’t find the exact link now so please just inform me so I can link it back properly. 🙂