Saturday, September 24, 2011

Ateneo one game away from 4-peat


49-31. That is the scoring margin of Ateneo over FEU in the second half of Game 1 of the 2011 senior's basketball finals of the UAAP. The game shows the ability of Coach Norman Black to adjust him game plan after a very close first half. The momentum actually started earlier when Ateneo have dug deep to recover from an early 16-26 deficit to tie the game at 33-all at halftime.

In the second half, the game was still tied at 43-all when suddenly Ateneo make a big push to end the quarter with a 60-49 lead. Nico Salva scored 8 points in that 17-6 quarter-ending run. Salva finished with 24 points from a perfect 8 for 8 from the field and 8 for 8 from the line. With the 11 point lead, Ateneo just have to hold on for the win but instead of just taking it easy, the Eagles went in for the kill. They outscored the Tams 22-15 in the final quarter.

The Blue Eagles are showing the killer instinct that made them the 3-time defending champion. They furiously harassed the Tamaraws until the final buzzer sounded. Ateneo had a magical 60% shooting in the field compared to FEU's 40%. They were aggressive as usual as they made 20 free throws compared to FEU's 3.

Game 2 might be different. The law of averages might catch on Eagles. The Tamaraws though need answers. They need to go to the line more often. They were out hustled and only Terence Romeo deserve some praise after the game. FEU is the best jump shooting team in the UAAP but they cannot rely on the perimeter game for 40 minutes and expect to win against Ateneo.

Big adjustments are in store and Game 2 will be very interesting. Good luck to both teams.

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