But the rousing victory was not the only huge Blue Eagles-related news item of the day. After the game, team manager Paolo Trillo announced Ateneo's withdrawal from the Premier Cup and the Fr. Martin Summer Cup, the other preseason tournament they've entered. Citing the rash of injuries that reduced Ateneo to a 10-man lineup against La Salle, Trillo confirmed the news that earlier surfaced on the Blue Eagles' Nest forum on Gameface.ph.
News outlets report that in a bid to nip the withdrawal in the bud, the Premier Cup organizers (who are, incidentally, also the Blue Eagles' team sponsors) offered to let Ateneo call up replacement players from its B-squad, Team Glory Be, to bolster the roster but the team management refused to change course.
While I do not agree with the withdrawal for a number of reasons (especially since the tournament organizers proposed a reasonable workaround), I see why the Ateneo brain trust felt it had to be done. The team was already competing with a severely depleted lineup versus the Green Archers, and then Chris Newsome comes up limping late in the game. The Blue Eagles just can't seem to catch a break with these injuries. Maybe it's time they convene the Spirit Questors to conduct an exorcism or something?
In the aftermath of Ravena's monster game against La Salle, this happened:
|[Image grabbed from Twitter]|
So the Black Mamba is now following the Blue Mamba on Twitter. What a thrill that must be for the third year Ateneo guard/forward.
He's a forward now? you ask. Yes, Ravena is apparently going to get a lot more burn at the small forward spot this year. Due to a combination of player injuries and graduations the Blue Eagles will be playing a lot of small-ball, making the competition in the UAAP Season 76 Men's basketball tournament that much more wide-open and exciting. I can't wait for the league opening later this month.