Mendoza: Ateneo versus La Salle UAAP suspense treat-A A +A
Saturday, August 31, 2013
THE winner in the Ateneo-La Salle game on Sunday, the first day of the first of the “ber” months that is September, grabs outright the third spot in the UAAP basketball season 76.
That’s because both teams are deadlocked at No. 4 with identical 6-4, win-loss cards.
Thus, the victor would tighten its grip on No. 3 and effectively ensure, almost, its entry into the Final 4 that would ensure it of a solid stab at the title.
For La Salle, beating Ateneo would inflict a terrible blow on the title-retention dreams of the Blue Eagles as a loss could push the Katipunan cagers on the brink.
And add the forceful fact that a Green Archer victory would give La Salle a rare back-to-back win over Ateneo this season.
You know how much pride is tattooed on the chest of either a Blue Eagle or a Green Archer. La Salle: “You can lose to all schools but never to Ateneo.” Ateneo: “You can lose to all schools but never to La Salle.”
It’s been that way since time immemorial.
Both camps have had contrasting journeys thus far.
While La Salle has had a relatively up and down ride in its first 10 games, Ateneo had stumbled into a rather farcical false start with a morale-crippling 1-4 record.
But then, when Kiefer Ravena showed up starting in Ateneo’s sixth game, suddenly, the Eagles’ lights lit up so brightly.
Showing no trace of his foot injury that took almost a month to heal, Ravena almost single-handedly carried Ateneo to a five-game winning streak, pushing the Eagles back into contention.
Thus, Ateneo’s Sunday game against La Salle could well be the breakthrough barometer in the Eagles’ “6-peat” title-bid.
Ravena, without a doubt Ateneo’s top gun despite a fragile frame inside a 5-foot-8 body, will be a marked man because where he goes, Ateneo goes.
Suddenly, La Salle’s poise is under the microscope.
* * *
A TEXT FROM MY FRIEND, DES BAUTISTA OF BAGUIO CITY: “To my fellow UP alumni, do not fret that our Fighting Maroons are out of the Final 4. It has become a tradition, anyways—that the wise, the smart and the intelligent are always EXEMPT from the Finals.”
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 01, 2013.