Port Area, Manila
October 2, 2014
So it’s Far Eastern U and National University fighting it out for the 77th UAAP basketball title.
Yes, I’m not kidding.
Four months ago, if I say the Tams and the Bulldogs will battle it out for the Holy Grail of UAAP basketball, you’ll probably say I’m nuts or throw me in the looney bin. Admit it, we’re all guilty of taking both the Tams and the Bulldogs out of the championship equation. As for Sportsmaryosep, we predicted an underdog to win it all. The sad part is that we chose University of the East. Not FEU nor NU. So we missed it.
But who would have thought, really?
NU, without former back-to-back MVP Bobby Ray Parks, Jr., bucking overwhelming odds? Or FEU, minues the high-scoring duo of former MVPs Terrence Romeo and RR Garcia, defying basketball gravity and making it all the way to the finals?
Or La Salle, with its formidable intact roster headed by a force of nature named Jeron Teng, falling one game short of defending the title it impressively the season before? Or an Ateneo team not making it to the finals despite finishing with Season 77’s best record and and boasting of the best player in college basketball today in the person of Kiefer Ravena? Or a Santo Tomas team that has all but Jeric Teng in its roster that made it to the finals the last two seasons, making it an automatic title contender? Or a UE team headed by the killer tandem of Roi Sumang and Charles Mammie and coached multi-titled coach Derek Pumaren?
Factor all these in and you’ll probably come up with a pre-season forecast without FEU nor NU in the conversation.
But guess what, FEU and NU made us all eat their words with the Tams riding of Michael Tolomia finding an open man in Mark Belo, who drained the lethal triple that sent the dagger straight into La Salle’s heart and the Bulldogs drawing strength from Gelo Alolino’s clutch shooting and Alfred Aroga’s block on Ravena to tame the tame and conquer the once proud and mighty Eagles.
And then it happens.
FEU vs NU.
The Battle of the Underdogs.
Nash Racela vs Eric Altmarino.
Sportsmaryosep trivia: When was the last time that a UAAP final was without both Ateneo and La Salle? Or who do you think will win it all? Winner gets a mention on Twitter, where you can follow Sportsmaryosep at @JoeySVillar.
(Photos courtesy of spin.ph)