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  1. Season 76 UAAP Basketball Recap: NU Ain't Got It All, Bullpups Avert Shutout

    Before the 2013 University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) basketball competitions becomes a distant past, here some highlights from Season 76.

    National University earned Final Four berths in each of the three different divisions – Juniors, Men’s and Women’s – and sought to join the University of Santo Tomas (1994) as the only schools in league history to capture the title in all three roundball levels during the same season.

    In the end, National University fell way short off its target. The SM Group-owned school annexed only the Juniors championship.

    Another three-level Final Four participant, De La Salle University, grabbed both the men’s and women’s crowns, duplicating its previous feat from 1999 to 2001.

    The NU Bullpups were crowned the high school titlists for the second time in three seasons as they finished with a perfect 16-0 record, including a 2-0 finals sweep of regular-season Juniors Most Valuable Player Ferdinand (Thirdy) Ravena III and the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eaglets.

    A stepladder format for the Juniors playoffs ensued after NU automatically qualified for the best-of-three finals with a 14-game sweep of the double-round elimination phase.

    Fourth seed Far Eastern University-Diliman, the 2012 UAAP titlist, eliminated third seed De La Salle Zobel (led by the league’s No. 1 scorer Henri Subido) to earn the right to face second-ranked Ateneo.

    Though armed with a twice-to-beat advantage, the Blue Eaglets made short work of the Baby Tamaraws, posting a 69-64 decision to advance to the finals against NU.

    NU owned a thrice-to-beat edge over Ateneo in the finals, enjoying an automatic 1-0 lead in what essentially is a best-of-five duel.

    In the series opener, the Bullpups outlasted the Eaglets, 101-93, in overtime after putting together an 11-0 uprising in the final three minutes of regulation to force a five-minute extension.

    Hubert Cani, a former national youth player, topscored for NU with 24 markers.

    Ateneo, which last won the Juniors diadem in 2010 behind a young Kiefer Ravena, got a game-high 30-point effort from Talk ‘N Text bench maestro Norman Black’s son Aaron and a triple-double (14 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists) from the graduating Ravena.

    In the series clincher, Cani chalked up a team-best 25 points as the Bullpups bucked a 27-point, 13-rebound, six-assist performance by the 17-year-old Ravena to whip the Eaglets, 81-74, for their second Juniors crown in three seasons. Cani was voted the Finals MVP.

    A year ago, FEU-Diliman (then powered by senior guard and two-time league MVP Jeri Pingoy, who recently completed the first of his two-year college residency at the Ateneo), defeated NU, 2-1, in the finals.
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    Philippine Basketball
  2. 2013 UAAP MEN'S BASKETBALL FINALS: LACK OF MENTAL FORTITUDE DID UST IN

    University of Santo Tomas lost a golden opportunity to snatch the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s basketball crown last Saturday and it has only itself to blame.

    The Growling Tigers embraced coach Pido Jarencio’s battlecry of “puso” all right. But at crunch time, they experienced a mental meltdown and failed to utilize their “utak.”

    Here was graduating Jeric Teng, UST’s meal ticket who was in the final game of his distinguished five-year UAAP tenure and having the hot hands throughout the three-game finals.

    Unbelievably, and unfortunately, Teng’s teammates did not trust Teng enough to give him the rock in their potential game-winning – and title-clinching offensive play – neither at regulation time nor in overtime.

    How could have they done that to their team skipper? Here was Jeric, who was laboring throughout his farewell campaign due to a pair of major injuries (God bless National University’s Joeffrey Javillonar!), missing seven games till midway through the double-round elimination phase but courageously willed his team back into playoff contention with 17 points and nine rebounds against Ateneo in the elims’ final game to gain the final Final 4 ticket and oust the five-time defending league titlist Blue Eagles and put together a 19-point, five-rebounds, 4-assist performance in the second and deciding semifinals triumph over top seed National University that rewarded UST with the first finals appearance by a fourth-seeded school in UAAP Final Four history.

    Injured veteran Aljon Mariano played so badly for UST in the three-game titular series, going just 2-9-3 in point production for a frigid 4.7-point average. Sure, he was also shadowing DLSU’s double-double (points/rebounds) threat Jason Perkins but he also significantly struggled with his shooting with an inept .179 (5-for-2 overall field-goal clip (1-for-8, 4-for-12 and 0-for-.

    Jarencio took a gamble by replacing Mariano with burly Paulo Pe in the starting lineup in the series-deciding Game Three but it went for naught. Pe fouled out early and Mariano remained mired in a slump.

    Mariano, who according to a UST source, rode to the UST campus with a brand-new Hondo CRV five days before Game Three, could not even throw the rock into the ocean as he shot oh-so-pitiful 0-for-8 from the field.

    That included the top-of-the-key jumper that he misfired horribly during the final offensive play of regulation (6.1 seconds) after demanding that his teammates clear out for his botched attempt at heroism.

    All the while, Teng was free at the left corner as his DLSU defender and younger brother Jeron only had one hand up (while halfway looking to double-team an inside foe).

    Coach Jarencio simply starched his head following the mental mistake by Mariano, whose turnover in Game One nearly cost UST the game (La Salle missed a pair of shots in the final 30 seconds, including one by LA Revilla that was blocked by Karim Abdul at the buzzer, to preserve the Tigers’ 73-72 win).

    In overtime, UST was still ahead by one point, 69-68, with 30 ticks left, when Mariano threw a wild pass to Kevin Ferrer following Jeron Teng’s free-throw miss, giving ball possession back to La Salle. The Green Archers capitalized on their good fortune as Almond Vosotros hesitated for a three with a fake and the moved closer for a two-pointer that returned the upperhand for his team, 70-69, with 19.7 seconds left.

    Vosotros’s twinner turned out to the game winner as Abdul subsequently missed three straight fielders, including one with 2.3 seconds remaining.

    According to UST assistant coach Estong Ballesteros, Jarencio designed the final play that was not intended for Jeric (a judgment error to this Hoopster). Instead it was Jeric who inbounded the ball beneath La Salle’s basket (remember La Salle was the defender). Teng passed the ball to Abdul with the expectation that Abdul would give it back for a screen that would open up a triple by Jeric in the right corner.

    If Jarencio had, indeed, diagrammed a strategy that would have Jeric running into the other (left) corner (so little time to run to the other side after an inbound from the right with 2.3 ticks left), another shooter (perhaps Clark Bautista) should have already positioned in the right corner for a potential jumper off an Abdul screen.

    Instead, insanity struck Abdul as he himself hoisted a three-pointer that was way off the mark. Abdul had some luck making perimeter jumpers off DLSU’s Arnold Van Opstal during the game but for a 6-8 fella who was attempting just his ninth triple during the season but none in the first two games of the finals (he had two in Game Three), that was glaringly a poor shot selection. It certainly was not – and will ...

    Updated 10-14-2013 at 04:17 PM by Henry Liao

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    Philippine Basketball
  3. 2013 UAAP FINALS: LA SALLE IS LORD OF THE RINGS

    For the newly-minted University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s basketball titlist De La Salle University Green Archers, there’s the déj* vu feeling – a great resemblance to their 1999 finals’ conquest of their victims, the hard-luck University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers.

    Stunningly identical to its UAAP campaign one score and four years ago, La Salle also overcame a 0-1 series deficit in the best-of-three finals against UST this season before snatching its first league championship since 2007 with pulsating victories in the second and third games.

    It was scripted oh-so-perfectly, down to the last scene as a matter of fact. In the 1999 Game Three showdown, UST held a double-digit lead in the third quarterly before La Salle roared back to deadlock the count at 67-all and send the hotly-contested thriller into overtime. In the five-minute extension pulled off an epic 78-75 victory.

    Fast forward to the winner-take-all Game Three of the Season 76 finals classic, which was witnessed by an all-time UAAP record crowd of 23,305 fans at the two-year Mall of Asia Arena last Saturday.

    The Growling Tigers stormed to a 40-25 advantage with 6 minutes and 38 seconds remaining in the third quarter, limiting the Green Archers to just nine points in 13.5 minutes bridging the second and third quarters) with its suffocating defense and the Green Archers’ inept passing and shooting. (UST was up, 18-16, after the first quarter and 32-24 at halftime as Karim Abdul got 14 points and Jeric Teng scored 13 and had three triples.)

    Perhaps sensing the game was getting out of hand, and its title hopes slowly slipping away, La Salle, led by Jeron Teng, tightened up defensively and, in a jiffy, put together a 12-0 run, and even grabbed a 47-46 edge on a Thomas Torres trifecta before Tigers playmaker Jamil Sheriff had a last-second putback to conclude the third quarter with UST ahead, 48-47.

    The swift turnaround by DLSU changed the complexion of the game as tremendous pressure mounted on UST mentor Pido Jarencio’s troops the rest of the way. The “puso” in the Tigers was still there but its beat was now barely ticking.

    The fourth quarter still was a nip-and-tuck affair and UST was able to re-established some control with a 61-56 advantage with four minutes and 40 seconds left following a 54-54 tie. Again, La Salle quickly erased the five-point deficit and even took a 65-63 lead in the final seconds on a strong Jeron Teng drive. Aljon Mariano’s pair of free throws levelled the score at 65-all. Mariano misfired on a top-of-the-key jumper at the end of regulation time that would have given UST its first UAAP crown since 2006.

    In spite of tongue-wagging Kevin Ferrer’s ineptness from trifecta country, Mariano’s inability to create shots for himself throughout the series and Abdul’s sudden fondness for 15-foot jumpers after making several off DLSU man-mountain Arnold Van Opstal, the league’s Most Improved Player, UST still held the upperhand, 69-67, on fifth-year senior Jeric Teng’s jumper with 34 ticks remaining in overtime.

    But sophomore Jeron Teng, Jeric’s younger brother, split his free throws four seconds later. And after a miscue by UST’s Aljon Mariano, the Green Archers went to gunner Almond Vosotros, who knocked in the game-winning jumper for a 70-69 DLSU lead at the 26.7-second mark. A unsuccessful offense in the Growling Tigers’ next possession earned Luis Alfonso (LA) Revilla a trip to the foul line, where the graduating guard went 1-for-2 to increase the Green’s lead to two, 71-69, time down to 9.1 seconds.

    Two subsequent unproductive offensives by UST, including a unbelievable three-point attempt by Abdul at the end, and the Green Archers were left celebrating their first UAAP diadem in six seasons.

    For DLSU’s stoic bench maestro Juno Sauler, mimicking Jarencio’s successful rookie campaign with UST in 2006 was just more than a coincidence. A winner in 11 of the Green’s final 12 assignments (including a nine-game winning streak starting the second round of the elimination phase), Sauler is the first freshman coach to collect a UAAP title since 2006 when Jarencio steered the Growling Tigers past heavily-favored Ateneo de Manila University, 2-1, in the finals.

    Incidentally, it was the most recent time that an eventual champion had trailed 0-1 in the final series before Sauler and La Salle turned in the trick this season.

    Jeron Teng, whose aggressiveness and intense will to win the championship are immeasurable (especially in Game Two when La Salle had its back against the wall), collected a season record-tying 25 points (19 of them after the first half), eight rebounds and six assists in the decisive Game Three and went 7-for-9 from the free-throw line in the decisive ...
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    Philippine Basketball
  4. JERIC AND JERON TENG: ONCE HS TEAMMATES

    Three academic years apart, did you know that the Teng brothers Jeric (UST and Jeron (DLSU) were once high school teammates for Xavier School in the Metro Manila Tiong Lian Basketball Association?

    In 2009, the two prolific siblings helped guide the Xavier School Golden Stallions to the MMTLBA championship – the second of what would be a league record-setting “four-peat” title feat.

    Jeric was a HS senior and the Gold and Blue’s team skipper at the time. Jeron, on the other hand, was a in his freshman year.

    Xavier School finished with a perfect 9-0 record during the 2009 tournament. Some of the other players that suited up in the MTLBA that season were Jose Anton (Jett) Manuel, a Xavier School product who later saw action for the University of the Philippines in previous UAAP seasons; Isaac Lim, a Uno High School star who has worn the Ateneo de Manila University colors for the last two years and earned a UAAP title ring with the Blue Eagles in 2012; and Janrey Garrido, a Hope Christian HS star who was a member of UST’s 2012 UAAP team.

    In 2009, Jeric Teng led the MMTLBA in scoring for the second year in a row with a monstrous 39.3-point clip while winning league Most Valuable Player honors as well. He owned the top four single-game scoring performances in the league – an MMTLBA career-high 55 points vs. Chiang Kai Shek College (109-87), 52 vs. Hope Christian High School (120-43 in an opening-day game), 47 vs. St. Jude Catholic School (118-73) and 44 vs. Grace Christian College (91-87). All were registered in a span of 20 days in January.

    Jeric actually chalked up eight of the league’s top 10 scoring efforts, scorching the hoops for 35 and 32 and a pair of 31-pointers in a 2-0 finals sweep of St. Jude Catholic School, which was then bannered by Kim Lo, who’s now Jeric’s teammate with the UST Growling Tigers in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP).

    Just how explosive and dominant was Jeric Teng in his farewell MMTLBA tournament that season? The lowest output by the eldest son of Philippine Basketball Association alum Alvin (Robocop) Teng was 27 points against Uno High School.

    The first TL player to collect at least 50 points twice in the same season, Jeric also made 12 triples against Chiang Kai Shek College – an all-time MMTLBA record that remains unbroken until now.

    Meanwhile, Jeric’s younger brother Jeron averaged a pedestrian 10.6 points in nine appearances as a HS rookie. Jeron normed 15.0 points and 10.0 rebounds in the finals. The year before, as a seventh-grader, Jeron hit at a 34.1-point clip while powering Xavier School to the TL Aspirants crown with an unblemished 8-0 record.

    In 2010, Jeron succeeded Jeric as TL scoring king, a distinction that he would hold for three consecutive years until the completion of his of HS eligibility in 2012. A three-year XS teammate from 2010-12 was Kyles Lao, who this year joined Jeric (2009) and Jeron (2012) as a Rookie of the Year awardee in the UAAP.
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    Philippine Basketball
  5. UST VS. LA SALLE: SOMETHING HAS TO GIVE IN GAME 3

    Will the result of the winner-take-all Game Three of the 2013 University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s basketball tournament between the De La Salle Green Archers and the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers be a replica of the 1999 finals?

    Or will it be a different Cinderella-like ending for a No. 4 seed that has never before captured a title in the UAAP’s 76-year existence?

    De La Salle and UST will clash for the championship hardware on Saturday, October 13, in what is expected to produce a record-breaking attendance at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena in Pasay City.

    Since 1994, when the UAAP instituted the Final Four playoffs in men’s basketball, the two teams have battled each other in a best-of-three titular series a total of five times.

    This also marks the fourth time that their finals matchup has stretched to the maximum three games.

    In three of their four previous title encounters, the eventual winner bucked a series-opening setback by securing the second and their games.

    UST turned in the trick in 1994 and 1995 and La Salle repeated the feat in 1999, which was the last time the two teams had met before this season.

    In 1994, the Green Archers took the opener, 77-74, but the Growling Tigers bounced back to grab the next two games, 89-75 and 77-76.

    In 1995, La Salle again posted a 1-0 lead with an 88-78 victory but UST evened the series with a 66-62 decision in the second game and subsequently retained its UAAP crown for the third consecutive year with a 67-64 squeaker in the winner-take-all Game Three.

    The following campaign (1996), UST swept La Salle, 2-0, in the finals with scores of 65-60 and 57-54 (after the Green Archers won both elimination-round games) to claim the league diadem for the fourth year in a row under coach Aric del Rosario.

    Del Rosario, who’s now the head coach of the University of Perpetual Help System Dalta in the rival National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), still held the UST mentoring reins in 1999 when UST and La Salle faced each other a league-record six times that year.

    During the elims, UST triumphed in the first round, 61-59, but La Salle got back in the second, 78-69, to force a playoff with its victim for the No. 1 seed. In the playoff, the Green Archers registered an 84-79 victory to secure the top spot.

    Following semifinal wins over their respective foes, UST and La Salle once more clashed for the crown. UST topped the finals series opener, 62-60, but DLSU levelled the count with an 81-74 victory in the second game.

    In the sudden-death Game Three, La Salle edged UST, 78-75, in overtime to retain its UAAP title.

    UST had grabbed a sizeable double-digit lead through the first 35 minutes but La Salle slowly came roaring back as the Growling Tigers were plagued by turnovers and inept free-throw shooting (notably Gilbert Lao, who this season served as an assistant to rookie head mentor Nash Racela at fourth-place Far Eastern University) in the final minutes of regulation time.

    With less than three seconds left, and La Salle down by three points (67-64), Archers playmaker Dino Aldeguer, backstopped by hardworking center and two-time UAAP Most Valuable Player Don Allado and streak-shooting Renren Ritualo, deadlocked the score (67-67) when he connected on a triple while being fouled.

    Aldeguer, though, missed the succeeding free throw and the game went into a five-minute extension, where La Salle outscored UST, 11-8.

    UST, by the way, is the most recent team to capture the UAAP championship after trailing 0-1 in the finals. This happened in 2006 when UST, under then-rookie Tigers bench boss Pido Jarencio, upset heavy favorite Ateneo de Manila University in three games. The year also marked the last time that UST had romped away with the crown.

    Statistically speaking, history favors UST in Saturday’s Game Three showdown against La Salle. During the Final Four era, 15 of the 19 previous teams that took the finals opener went on to annex the UAAP title. Then again, the four exceptions were recorded by UST (three times) and La Salle (once).

    NOTES – It’s very important to set the tone early in Game Three. A strong start will most likely lead to success as the first two games in the series have gone to teams that established solid leads in the early goings – UST in Game One (21-4) and La Salle in Game Two (36-19). The opposing side made a run or two at some point but fell short eventually … Don’t lose your focus when referees go amuck by calling quick fouls against your bigs or key men. For the bigs, let’s get physical but just make sure you don’t displease the almighty whistletooters by shouting “I love your mom” when fouls are called ...
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