Ateneo coach cautious on winning UAAP cage crown-A A +A
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
BY ALL indications, Ateneo de Manila coach Norman Black knows that his team’s title match with Far Eastern University (FEU) won’t be the same as last year.
Black said the Tamaraws appear to have the momentum going into the best-of-three UAAP men’s basketball championship beginning Saturday, owing to the latter’s thrashing of second-seed Adamson University in the grueling semis.
“One thing I’m impressed about their games against Adamson is that they came out with a lot of energy. If you have a team improving during the course of the season, you’re doing a pretty good job,” he told reporters.
FEU, which placed third at the end of the double-round eliminations, had to humble 74th season favorite Adamson twice last week to arrange another finals date with Ateneo.
Ateneo, on the other hand, enjoyed an easy route for its fourth straight title bid, winning 13 out of 14 elimination games before outlasting University of Santo Tomas in the semis.
Still, Black took all praises with a grain of salt as he maintained that the finals should not be a toss-up between favorites and underdogs.
“Being the underdog doesn’t mean you’re going to lose, and being the favorite doesn’t mean you’re going to win. I think this is going to be a good series,” he said, as FEU coach Bert Flores missed the press conference due to unknown reasons.
Ateneo marched to its sixth overall men’s cage title last year after dashing FEU’s hopes for a league-best 20th crown in two games.
This year, Black expressed optimism that size and good defensive backcourt will carry them through the series. He also saw the need to stop FEU’s main shooters RR Garcia and Terrence Romeo.
“The FEU team this year is more guard-oriented. They’re more of a perimeter team popping up those shots, so we need to challenge their shooters,” he said.
Meanwhile, FEU routed La Salle, 66-44, as the Lady Tamaraws advanced to the women’s basketball finals against the reigning two-time champion Adamson Lady Falcons on Tuesday.
The Lady Tamaraws made mincemeat of the Lady Archers from the get go in their knockout Final Four match to frustrate the fourth-seeded Lady Archers from toppling their twice-to-beat edge as the eliminations’ top-seed.
Raiza Palmera scattered 12 points, grabbed six rebounds and dished out eight assists in the match the Lady Tamaraws dominated throughout with quarter-leads of 23-12, 39-21 and 46-31.
Allana Lim contributed 14 points and eight rebounds and Camile Sambile had 11 points and five rebounds for the Lady Tamaraws.
In juniors play, National University beat La Salle, 49-46, to advance to the finals against FEU, who forced four-peat seeking Ateneo to become a frustrated lot, 63-56. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)