Sunday, April 15, 2012

2012 Filoil Flying V Hanes Preseason Cup: Ryan Buenafe Is Back For Ateneo

The Ateneo Blue Eagles beat the Letran Knights in their first outing in the 2012 Filoil Flying V Hanes Preseason Cup. Led as usual by Greg Slaughter (14 points, 15 rebounds, 3 blocks) and Kiefer Ravena (13 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals), Ateneo broke a 49-all deadlock with under 5 minutes to play in the fourth period and held on to win, 55-51.

But with all due respect to those two players, the biggest story of the day was the return to action of fellow Blue Eagle Ryan Buenafe, who sat out 2011 and missed the entire UAAP Season 74. Here's a sampling of the first few Tweets in reaction to his comeback:

My sentiments exactly.

Buenafe's last official outing in an Ateneo uniform was in October 2010 during the Unigames. To those who watched yesterday, the long layoff showed, at least in Ryan's physique:

Tactfulness obviously didn't rule the day.

Due to all the attention, polite or otherwise, for almost the entire game Buenafe was a trending topic on Twitter.

He would peak at #5.

Buenafe came off the bench and tallied 1 point (he was fouled on a three-point attempt, his only try from the field, but bricked two of the ensuing free throws), 1 rebound, and 3 assists in 13 minutes of action.

On paper those are not particularly impressive statistics, but that solitary point and those three assists all came during a 7-2 Blue Eagle run bridging the first and second quarters that increased Ateneo's lead from 12-10 to 19-12. It was a thrilling stretch that was a reminder of what Ateneo fans missed in UAAP Season 74 (but obviously didn't miss too much since the Blue Eagles still rolled to their fourth straight championship), as well as a preview of what they can expect if Ryan completes his comeback and suits up in Season 75.

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