Tuesday, October 5, 2010

UAAP Season 73: Closing The Books

“I don’t want to insult my former players but this is by far the most gratifying championship we’ve had here in Ateneo,” Blue Eagles head coach Norman Black said after his squad collared its third straight Men's Division basketball championship. He may even be right.

In winning back-to-back titles in 2008 and 2009 Ateneo lost three games—total. This year they lost four—one to also-ran UE, another to arch-rival DLSU, and two to powerhouse FEU—by an average margin of 2.5 points.

Because of all those losses, and the season-long dominance of the FEU Tamaraws, the Blue Eagles flew under the radar even if they were the two-time defending champions. But in the postseason they did some serious damage, winning all three of their Final Four and Finals games by an average of 13 points to clinch the Season 73 crown.

For posterity's sake, here's how the Blue Eagle's title run in Season 73 went. First, the players and coaches responsible:
4 Art dela Cruz, Jr., F
5 Juami Tiongson, G
6 Emman Monfort, G
7 Tonino Gonzaga, G/F
8 Bacon Austria, G/F
10 JP Erram, C
11 Eric Salamat, G
12 Kirk Long, G/F
13 Ryan Buenafe, F
14 Nico Salva, F
15 Jeric Estrada, C
16 Jason Escueta, C
17 Carlo Balmaceda, G
18 Justin Chua, C
20 Chris de Chavez, F
21 Frank Golla, F

Head Coach
Norman Black

Assistant Coaches
Sandy Arespacochaga
Gene Afable
Jamike Jarin
Gabby Severino
The route the team took in winning the title:
Eliminations, First Round
Sunday, July 11 – 69-72 loss to FEU
Thursday, July 15 – 69-66 win over AdU
Sunday, July 18 – 68-56 win over UST
Saturday, July 24 – 63-66 loss to DLSU
Saturday, July 31 – 82-65 win over NU
Thursday, August 5 – 78-53 win over UP
Sunday, August 8 – 80-73 win over UE

Eliminations, Second Round
Saturday, August 14 – 75-59 win over UP
Thursday, August 19 – 69-49 win over NU
Sunday, August 22 – 74-57 win over DLSU
Thursday, August 26 – 60-62 loss to UE
Sunday, August 29 – 55-52 win over AdU
Sunday, September 5 – 81-77 win over UST
Saturday, September 11 – 72-74 loss to FEU

Final Four
Sunday, September 19 – 68-55 win over Adamson

Saturday, September 25 – 72-49 win over FEU
Thursday, September 30 – 65-62 win over FEU
The standings after the eliminations:
FEU Tamaraws (12-2)
ADMU Blue Eagles (10-4)
AdU Soaring Falcons (9-5)
DLSU Green Archers (8-6)
NU Bulldogs (7-7)
UE Red Warriors (6-8)
UST Growling Tigers (4-10)
UP Fighting Maroons (0-14)
The Ateneo players who stood out:
Ryan Buenafe
Finals Most Valuable Player

Emman Monfort
Most Improved Player
That's the last of it. I can't wait for when Ateneo hosts Season 74!

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