Triangle Offense

Eagles showed why they are favored to repeat by thesportsminded
August 17, 2009, 12:35 am
Filed under: Basketball, College Hoops | Tags: , , , ,

The Ateneo Blue Eagles aren’t most analysts’ pre-season favorites for nothing. They proved their worth in a scintillating fashion.

From the first second of the game up to the last, the Eagles dominated their arch rival Archers. They never gave an inch. They also sent a message to the rest of the league, especially to FEU, that they are serious in defending their crown.

Round two of the historic rivalry proved to be a far cry from their exciting battle last week. When Ateneo started the game with an 8-0 blitz, you know they are in for that kind of night. La Salle never won a second of the game as Ateneo never stopped pounding up to the final horn. The scary part is that the Eagles won it by playing a flawless game.

Reigning MVP Rabeh Al-Hussaini torched La Salle in the paint all game long as he dropped 26 points while Nonoy Baclao took care of the defensive end. The supporting cast played excellent as all of Norman Black’s wards contributed.

Eric Salamat played a brilliant all around game on both ends as he proved to be the x-factor.

After an unbelievable setback suffered in the hands of the UP Fighting Maroons, the Eagles are now riding a five-game winning streak. They both outclassed UE and DLSU in their last two outings showing that they have reached top form.

Al-Hussaini realized once again that he can be a beast if he wants to. Salamat is playing very well again. Baclao is doing his job in the paint as usual and the rest of the cast are hitting their shots and contributing heavily the past five games.

Everyone knows that this season’s battle for the crown is clearly between the Tamaraws and the Eagles as both teams are way above everybody else in the league. But what is Ateneo’s advantage over the Tamaraws?

The Tams are also on a hot streak as they are currently on a seven-game roll of their own but I think Ateneo’s killer instinct might become a huge difference if ever the projected finals will occur.

FEU is as talented as Ateneo when it comes to the individual skill. But Norman Black’s team is built towards a good championship system.

They play controlled basketball and their team is made to have with specific roles for every player. As talented as Barroca and Ramos are and as deep as their team is, I don’t think the Tams have a player like a Salamat who plays every possesion as it is his last. They don’t have a lock down defender like Kirk Long.

I do think the Tams are a bit deeper in terms of individual talent but the Eagles have the edge regarding team play. They mix up their plays well and they utilize their personel’s strength. Plus, it’s Baclao and Al-Hussaini’s last year, as both want to end their careers on a high note.

Both contenders are equally deep and talented but I think Ateneo’s championship poise and mental toughness would be the difference. If you put the Eagles on a best of three series against any UAAP team right now, I just don’t think they’ll lose twice. If they continue playing the way they did in their past two games, it’s tough to imagine the others teams stopping them.

They have the edge right now.


UAAP Sunday (August 16) Predictions by On Point

In just a short span of time, Ateneo and De La Salle are once again set to rock the Big Dome for round two of their much anticipated showdown this season at 5pm while, the University of the East and Adamson University will try to at least emulate or surpass their double-overtime thriller back in the first-round.

In the main event, the Blue Eagles at 7-1, look to remain side by side with the Tamaraws at the hill while, the Green Archers at 4-4, need this win not only to avenge their sorry defeat in their first encounter but more importantly to stay afloat with fellow-fourth placers Tigers and Warriors.

Meanwhile, the Red Warriors also at 4-4, will now have their leading scorer and rebounder Pari Llagas back, after serving a one-game suspension while, the Falcons with a 2-6 mark, had enough heartbreaks after an impressive game against the Archers the last time out and instead have set to build on a two-game roll with a win.


University of the East Red Warriors versus Adamson Falcons

The Sports Minded: Adamson by six points

Adamson wants to be on a roll and I feel like they are still on a high after beating La Salle. I expect them to continue their surge tomorrow.

KC13: UE by not less than 15.

UE will seek revenge after their last setback, and with the comebacking Pari Llagas, it won’t be too hard to execute the plan.

On Point: UE by single digits

The last time these two teams met, it was a double-OT thriller won by UE, but in a game like that, it means that it could’ve gone either way. I expect this curtain raiser to be a darn good one. Don’t be deceived by the Falcons losing record. Remember that all of their losses are games that they could’ve won. On the other side, the Warriors put up a good fight against the Eagles on their last game even without their top-big man Pari Llagas. Expect a hard-fought game with UE earning a hard-fought win.

The last time these two teams met, it was a double-OT nailbiter won by UE. It could’ve gone either way. I expect this curtain raiser to be a darn good one. Don’t be deceived by the Falcons losing record. Remember that all of their losses are games that they could’ve won. For UE, it’s a homecoming for Pari Llagas. Expect a hard-fought game with UE earning a hard-fought win.

Ateneo Blue Eagles versus De La Salle Green Archers

The Sports Minded: Ateneo by 14
Round two right away after just one week. I am sure that Joshua “Super Hyper” Webb won’t have another great game like last Sunday. Without a guy stepping up, La Salle is a vulnerable team.

KC13: Ateneo by 10

It’s getting too old to predict but I will try anyway. Ateneo will dominate their archrivals in a way that will give you your thousands of money’s worth. Al Hussaini, who is fresh from a 30-point feat, will likely prevail…only if he doesn’t get intimidated with *gulps* ‘Muscle Man’ Yutien Andrada, who had a monster game for a rookie the last time against Ateneo.

On Point: Ateneo by 7

La Salle’s veterans continue to hurt this team while Rabeh just busted out of his season 72 slump with a 30, 10 output against UE. Buenafe will show up, Baclao also. Expect coach Franz to put Andrada on Al-Hussaini once again. Another block party by ‘Tayshaun’? We’ll see.

Al Hussaini will suit up on Thursday; Joshua “Spider” Webb *probably* won’t be suspended. by _celestial
August 11, 2009, 12:30 am
Filed under: Basketball, College Hoops | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Ateneo’s Rabeh Al Hussaini will suit up for Thursday’s game against the UE Red Warriors to open the second round festivities in the UAAP.

According to Mr. Ricky Palou, Ateneo’s athletic director, Rabeh just suffered a minor sprained ankle after an awkward landing on someone’s foot in their last game against La Salle, but he says Rabeh is good to go.

Although I doubt he’s going to a be a hundred percent because he might still be a little bit shaken. (He’s gotta take care of those ankles, you know. He’s going to need those healthy), this is still great news for Ateneo. But it’s one tough assignment after the other for them.


After being slapped with an unsportsmanlike foul because of a “kicking incident” on Ateneo’s Bacon Austria, many ask if La Salle’s Joshua Webb would be suspended for next game against Adamson. Probably not. In the case of  UST’s Dylan Ababou and Chris Camus, both were not served a one-game suspension (sneaky Dylan) because of inconsistencies in the calls of the referees. It’s this simple: for a player to be suspended, he needs to be actually thrown out of the game after a flagrant two foul. (Flagrant one would mean two free throws plus subsequent possesion.)

Since Webb’s foul was only caught on replay (which I thought wasn’t allowed, but the refs obviously didn’t catch the the actual motion), it wasn’t a sound basis for getting ejected. Webb went on playing in the game armed with his pretty face and his game high, 24-point futile efforts. So don’t worry folks. He might just extend this hot streak until next the game. :)

Crazy UAAP Sunday! by _celestial

So yeah, what’s with Sundays and classic UAAP games? It’s a great way to start the week!

Today was a crazy, crazy game day to put a cherry on top of a very intense first round. FEU and Ateneo are now atop the heap with an identical 6-1 win lose record while UE , La Salle and UST are lodged in a three-way jam at second place with 4-3. Well, and then the rest of the UAAP follows.

The Tams launched a full tirade in the first quarter, taking the lead early on but after the Warriors came back, I knew it was going to boil down to the final posession and not just this or that. So, I’m going to bet that all Red Warrior fans were forced to the edge of their seats when forward Elmer Espiritu fell to the floor, after receiving an inadvertent elbow while fighting for the rebound, with his hand on his face with that unpaintable expression of pain painted all over him.

When Espiritu sat down, blood gushed forth his forehead all the way down his face (it reminded me of Mo Williams, East conference finals) and some in his hand and arms. I scowled instantly because watching that while eating carbonara for a late lunch isn’t really the best combination, you know. But more importantly, I immediately wondered how this would impact the game especially that UE was starting its spirited comeback. Ofcourse, they would miss Espiritu’s inside presence.

Espiritu eventually checked back in the crucial part of the game when UE was already giving a FEU a tough fight, after being stitched up in the dugout. He was a little too late, though.

Second game also showcased some nasty unfortunate injuries, but really didn’t affect the outcome of the game. Center

Rabeh Al Hussaini, who by the way has been on a slump lately (I wonder why), stepped on Bader Malabes’ foot while battling for the  rebound. Very bad landing. He was screaming in pain while holding on to his left foot, so you know it was

bad. Plus, the game was already REALLY heating up (read: kicking? oh you know.) so Rabeh’s loss could have hurt them. He never came back in the game, and something tells me he’ll be sitting out some more games. A sprained ankle can be nasty.

Nonoy Baclao also nearly suffered the same fate as Rabeh. Thankfully, and probably to the whole Ateneo community’s relief, it was his left hand that was beaten up in a battle for the lose ball and not the other one. He works his shot blocking magic in his right hand so, he was like, “no worries,” because his heroics in the overtime period totally gave Ateneo a head start. But he didn’t actually say that. LOL.

So Ateneo went on winning today’s epic battle. But kudos to La Salle for putting up a tough one. :)

I can still recall some memorable moments in today’s game. Like Apeton Built Body’s choice of winners. That always cracks me up. Kidding…not. :P

Mid season report: Who’s the UAAP MVP so far? by thesportsminded

Most analysts predicted that the Smart Gilas guys, namely Andy Barroca, Rabeh Al-Hussaini (though he haven’t really trained with Gilas much), Dylan Ababou, Aldrech Ramos, would be the top contenders for this year’s most valuable player. They definitely lived up to the hype and as expected they are the usual suspects so far in UAAP play.

They say Barroca has the upperhand but Ababou’s game so far is solid because he needs to carry half the load for the Tigers night in night out. While, highly touted Paul Lee has yet to show consistency with his game.

Let’s rank them on my top five MVP candidates so far after the first round.

5. Khasim Mirza (16.2 ppg, 8.1 rpg)- After a disappearing act last season, Mirza is finally living up to his potential and playing one hell of a consistent season so far. He knows that the Tigers need him big time for them to have a chance and so far he’s giving them a fighting chance with his steady play. He needs to keep it going for the Tigers to have a crack at the next round.

4. Rabeh Al-Hussaini (15.2 ppg, 6.8 rpg) – Numbers are a little bit down from last year but the reigning MVP is still playing his usual game. He’s still a formidable force inside. He is the Eagles’ meal ticket and so far he is playing steady. Ateneo is still on top. He’s doing his job.

3. Andy Barroca (13.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 3.2 apg) – He is the pre-season pick for MVP but why is he only ranked third on my list and FEU is at the top along with ADMU? Simple. He doesn’t need to carry a lot of load given the depth of the Tams and rookie RR Garcia’s consistent play at the point to back him up. It doesn’t mean that he’s not playing the way he should. His leadership is what the Tams need and he is consistently delivering so far. He is a monster player but he doesn’t need to be that player each game because they are a very deep team.

2. Aldrech Ramos (11 ppg, 10.6 rpg) – This guy is a monster. FEU got a dime in this guy. He blocks shots, protects that paint, scores, gives inside presence. What more can you ask for? The numbers speak for itself. He’s averaging a double double after the first round and don’t expect him to slow down. He is a huge factor why the Tams have been virtually invincible in their past outings. Ramos will be the key if FEU wants to win it all.

1. Dylan Ababou (19 ppg, 7.1 rpg) – A lot is expected out of him this season and so far he is delivering the goods for the Tigers. He is dubbed as the King Tiger this season for a reason. According to some analysts pre-season synopsis, if Ababou doesn’t average around 20 points the Tigers won’t have a decent chance. Ababou so far is living up to it as he leads the league in scoring (as expected). He needs to continue delivering and carry the Tigers each game if they are to advance to the final four. No Ababou, no chance for the Tigers. That’s how it will be for the Tigers all season long.

I think if the Tigers make the final four, Ababou just might get the plum this year.