Nevertheless, it has been a season for the books
For those who were probably stuck in their studies all while the basketball wars were happening, below are just some of the stories which this pundit on wheels thinks has made 2017 memorable for the UAAP fans:
Ateneo’s Redemption Season
La Salle’s Drama
Mbala’s decision is final and is taking his talents to Mexico
What Mbala’s departure means for La Salle and for the UAAP in general?
MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The greatest sports rivalry in Philippine history squared off Sunday afternoon at the Araneta Coliseum in the two best words any UAAP fan can hear: Game. 3.
The day before, tickets sold out before any announcement could be made, as fans already started camping outside Araneta coliseum as early as 1 am, leaving only General Admission tickets and tickets from resellers/scalpers the only ones available to purchase. The rivalry between DLSU and ADMU could be well seen through social media and fans.
Like the first two games of the finals, the game had lots of physicality and spirit, as 22,012 were in attendance. ADMU quickly jumped to a 4-0 lead off buckets from C Chibueze Ikeh and F Thirdy Ravena. Threes were going in everywhere from both sides. At the end of the first, the Eagles led DLSU by double digits at 24-14. La Salle turned the ball over 10 times, mostly off deflections and fouls, in just the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Green Archers came back charging as their excellent defense led to a 10-1 run. Ateneo didn’t get their first field goal of the quarter until the 5:34 mark. ADMU was able to maintain their 2-4 point lead during the last 5 minutes of the quarter until DLSU Guard Ricci Rivero grabbed an offensive rebound and scored on the post for a second chance opportunity, handing them a 38-37 lead, their first of the game. The Blue Eagles closed the first half on an 8-0 run including a heavily contested bank shot from three made by G Anton Asistio at the buzzer. DLSU outscored ADMU 24-21 in this quarter.
At the end of the first half, the score was 45-38 in Ateneo’s favor. Thirdy Ravena led all scorers with 11 points while the reigning back-to-back MVP Center Ben Mbala and G Andrei Caracut led the Green Archers with 7 points apart. the Green Archers had 14 turnovers with 3 steals compared to Ateneo’s 8 turnovers with 6 steals, but DLSU was able to outrebound the Eagles, 27-22. ADMU was shooting 44 percent from the field while being able to hold DLSU at just 37 percent.
During the beginning of the second half, shots were going in for both sides as was the great defense. DLSU G Aljun Melecio was able to drive through the lane for the 51-50 lead over Ateneo but Matt Nieto quickly responded with a three of his own to take back the lead for ADMU, his first since missing his first three in the game. The next few possessions turned to a three point shootout, with a total of three lead changes in a span of just 2 minutes. Ricci Rivero came up with two highlight plays during this stretch, one being a behind the back dribble slicing through defenders and a one handed baseline jam off a steal to snatch a 60-59 lead over Ateneo. At the end of the third, the game is tied at 66. La Salle again outscored Ateneo 28-21.
Now in the last 10 minutes of the season, DLSU’s star players Ben Mbala and Ricci Rivero were both playing with three fouls each. Matt Nieto finally recaptured the lead for the Eagles with a three pointer and Asistio made it a back-to-back three which was all part of their 8-0 run to make the lead 76-68 in Ateneo’s favor with just 5 minutes left in the game. DLSU shot poorly from the perimeter as they were 0-for-7 until Aljun Melecio shot a three to keep DLSU’s hopes for a repeat alive. DLSU came up with several clutch plays including a 4 point play from Mbala and Rivero and a clutch three from G Andrei Caracut to cut Ateneo’s lead to just 2. With less than a minute left, Ateneo led 82-80. Ateneo C Isaac Go came up for the dagger once again with a contested three. Aljun Melecio’s second chance three wasn’t enough as ADMU sealed the game with two free throws. As time expired, Andrei Caracut threw a three pointer that counted.
Ateneo captured their 9th championship, their first in 5 years. They now lead the all-time finals series against La Salle, 3-2. The Adamson Soaring Falcons won 2nd runner-up while the De La Salle Green Archers won 1st runner-up. Isaac Go won the Manulife Heart and Hustle Player while the PS Bank Player of the Finals and UAAP 80 Finals MVP was awarded to Thirdy Ravena, who averaged 16.3 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 4.3 APG, and 1.3 SPG in three games throughout the Finals.
2-time MVP Ben Mala comes up with big numbers
The Mbala Effect. Plus More
Third Quarter Defense
Ateneo’s Ice-Cold Shooting from 3
The Blue Eagles didn’t shoot well. But…
Defense on Big Ben
UAAP reigning MVP Ben Mbala of De La Salle University Green Archers is living up to the expectations from the green side by posting incredible numbers towards entering the Final Four on UAAP Season 80. Mbala posted a double-double performance by scoring 28 points and grabbing 19 rebounds to lead the Green Archers with a win over arch-rivals Ateneo Blue Eagles on their second round meeting at the Araneta Coliseum. Mbala also added 6 steals and 6 blocks on the defensive end.
The Archers won 79-76 over the Eagles. The win avoided Ateneo in sweeping the UAAP Season Elimination round. La Salle ended Ateneo’s 13-game winning streak. Mbala made sure that a Final Four will happen this season and no step ladder to Ateneo straight to the Finals.
The UAAP Season 80 Final Four is now set. The #2 seed DLSU Green Archers will face the #3 seed Adamson Falcons on Nov 18 Saturday at Araneta Coliseum. While the top seeded Ateneo Blue Eagles will face #4 FEU Tamaraws on Nov 19 Sunday at Araneta Coliseum.
Ateneo had the chance for an automatic Finals berth but failed. Miserably
Big Ben with Big Numbers
21 Points from Ricci Rivero
La Salle’s Experience Prevailed in the 4th
That’s assuming Ateneo sweeps the elimination rounds. And La Salle goes to the Finals, Too
The answer is no
Big Ben is a Big Problem
Ateneo’s Dangerous Tendency
Even without Coach Aldin Ayo and College Superstar Jeron Teng, La Salle are simply too much for Ateneo.
Ateneo was able to lead by as much as 6 points in the second quarter but since then it was all La Salle as they unleashed a 21 – 3 run and never looked back.
Ben Mbala dominates the game by finishing 28 points, 13 rebounds and 5 steals. La Salle also got a lift from Andrei Caracut, Abu Tratter, Thomas Torres, Kib Montalbo ang Ricci Rivero who combined for 48 points.
Defense basically makes it happen for La Salle as they forced Ateneo to 30 turnovers. They also dominates the inside game and posted a 52 inside points and 49 total rebounds
Ateneo was led by John Wong and Matt Nieto with 15 and 14 markers respectively.
La Salle sweeps the first round but the team says that they are still a working in and they are just around 75% to 80%.
Having one of the best line up ever in the league history, the DLSU Green Archers are favored by a lot of people to sweep it all up to the finals? Can they do it? Let’s check!
They already won twice this season. They won against FEU with a slim margin while they basically dismantled UP last Saturday at Araneta.
We already knew that they have a Jeron Teng in their line up but the biggest factor why people saying that they can do it because of Ben Mbala. Mbala for me was the best player right now in the league. He averages 21.5 points and 18.5 rebound per game.
Other than those 2 superstars, they also have their other holdovers like, Thomas Torres, Kib Montalbo, Abu Tratter, Prince Rivero, Jollo go, Julian Sargent and Joshua Caracut. They also have a bunch of rookies that was a High School Phenoms back in their days like Aljon Melencio, Ricci Rivero, Mark Dyke, Justin Baltazar and Brent Paraiso.
The line up is great but what scares me the most is that DLSU is now taking pride in their defense. Coach Aldin Ayo is very vocal in term of their defense and that defense is one of the best weapon so far of DLSU.
It is too early for other to predict what’s gonna happen but there will be a possiblity that DLSU can do it.
– Yes! DLSU will sweep it all.
– MVP awarf for Ben Mbala.