Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ateneo Blue Eagles Captures Three Peat

Ateneo seizes its third consecutive UAAP Championship title.

On the spotlight before reporters at the Araneta Coliseum press room, Ryan Buenafe looked at his shirt that said "Ateneo Three-Peat Champions."

"Para akong nananaginip," Buenafe told teammate Erik Salamat.

"Ako rin," the latter couldn't agree more.

The burly Buenafe struck hard when it mattered most to push Ateneo de Manila University to a 65 - 62 nipping of top seed Far Eastern University and the Blue Eagles' third straight UAAP men's basketball crown Thursday afternoon before 17, 215 fans at the Big Dome.

The six-foot-two junior, who was awarded the UAAP Season 73 Finals MVP, capped his sterling performance with a three-pointer with 22.1 seconds remaining that gave Ateneo its biggest lead, 61 - 56, to finally put away the Tamaraws, who led much of the game before losing steam in the homestretch.

"This is the hardest championship we've won in the last three years," an ecstatic Coach Norman Black said.

True enough, the Eagles did it the harder way this time, climbing from an 11-point deficit early in the first half to become only the fourth team in league history to accomplish a three-peat.

Other UAAP member schools that accomplished the rare feat include the University of the East Warriors (under coach Baby Dalupan), the University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigers (under coach Aric del Rosario), the champions' archrival De La Salle University Green Archers (under coach Franz Pumaren), and the Far Eastern University Tamaraws (under coaches Koy Banal and Bert Flores).

The Tamaraws had chances to send the series into a Game 3 clincher but missed four free-throws in the end game, including two that could have tied the game with under a minute remaining.

Likewise, the Morayta-based five had to slug it out with the more experienced Eagles without Coach Glenn Capacio, whose blood pressure shot up late in the second canto and was rushed to the Medical City in Pasig City for tests.

Buenafe led all scorers with a season-best 23 points and six boards on eight-of-12 shooting while pint-sized playmaker was all over the court and finished with 10 points, five boards and three assists.

Meanwhile, season MVP Ryan Roose Garcia and Rookie of the Year Terrence Romeo were non-factors in FEU's most important game of the season, tallying a measly combined output of eight points on a horrible four-of-17 from the field.

Forward Reil Cervantes and the graduating Paul Sanga tried to carry the Tamaraws on their back with 15 and 13 markers, respectively, but had little help as FEU ended another disappointing season with a loss.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

USA Breeze Past Turkey Ending 16 Year Drought

The United States of America beat Turkey 81-64 to win the 2010 FIBA World Championship.

The result ended a 16-year wait for the USA, who had not won this tournament since 1994.

In the first official game ever between the two teams, Mike Kryzewski’s team gradually pulled away as Turkey looked to be suffering the after effects of their hard-fought win over Lithuania in Saturday’s semi-final.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Nonoy Baclao, First Pick in the Recent PBA Draft

Air21 now has the pieces to become a contender again, but first has to do some mollifying on a slighted ego.

In an unexpected move that highlights a proceeding filled with twists and turns, the Express made Nonoy Baclao the top overall pick over former Ateneo teammate Rabeh Al-Hussaini in Sunday’s PBA Rookie Draft at the Market! Market! Place. Air 21 has also their third pick of Rey Guevarra.

Alaska also caught everybody by surprise by trading shooting guard Larry Fonacier to Talk ‘N Text for the rights at No. 4 and using that on Elmer Espiritu. The Aces also traded their rights at Nos. 10 and 15 to Meralco and Rain or Shine for Bonbon Custodio and a 2011 second round pick, respectively.

Cone then used his last pick, No. 21 overall, on Marvin Hayes, a known hard-nosed forward whom the coach described as “developable.”

Picking at Nos. 5 and 15, the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters opted for forward Joshua Vanlandingham and RJ Jazul, the latter a sort of a bonus since few expected the former Letran star guard to be a second-rounder.

The Express actually also had the No. 6 pick and used that on Sean Michael Anthony. But reports are rife they have traded the Fil-Canadian and the rights to Ren-Ren Ritualo to Powerade in exchange for the Tigers’ 2012 first round pick and and another future Draft pick.

Barangay Ginebra shored up its wings by using its picks at Nos. 7 and 8 on Jimbo Aquino and John Marion Wilson and then tabbed Robert Labagala at No. 12.

B-Meg Derby Ace used its No. 9 pick on bulky forward Narciso Llagas and then chose versatile forward Hezy Val Acuna at No. 13.

Meralco was as busy, choosing four. The Bolts got point guard Shawn Weinstein at No. 10, wingman Riego Gamalinda at 11th, center Ford Arao at 14th and another wingman Khazim Mirza at 16th.

Barako Bull used its lone pick at No. 17 on off-guard John Carlos Hermida, but coach Junel Baculi said he can fill up his need for big men through some of the 41 of the 60 hopefuls who were not picked and thus became automatic free agents.

Monday, September 6, 2010

World Championship Update: USA Routs Angola

The United States returned to the court and rolled to another decisive victory over Angola in a major international competition.

Bringing back memories of the 1992 Olympics and even the Beijing Games from two years ago when the Americans claimed big wins against the African champions, Mike Krzyzewski's USA played for the first time since their big Group B win over Tunisia on Thursday and claimed a 121-66 victory to stay unbeaten in the FIBA World Championship.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

World Championship Update: Turkey Unstoppable Against France

Turkey and their vaunted zone defense paved the way for another dominating win at the FIBA World Championship on Sunday night against France.

Bogdan Tanjevic's team scored 13 points off 11 first-half turnovers to take command and then lowered the boom in the third quarter before pulling away for a 95-77 triumph.

The Eight-Final victory has thrown the Turks into a Quarter-Final showdown with Slovenia, who blew away Australia 87-58 in the first game of the day.

The two-three zone employed by the Turks never gave France a chance.

With Omer Onan, Kerem Tunceri, Ender Arslan and Sinan Guler at the top of zone, Les Bleus couldn't cope.

When the French did throw the ball into the lane, the tall frontcourt of Turkey was an unmovable wall.

Hedo Turkoglu led the way with 20 points and the sensational Guler added 17.

World Championship Update: Slovenia Rolls Over Australia

Slovenia have barely raised a sweat in disposing of Australia 87-58 in the Eight Finals at the FIBA World Championship.

It was an ominous performance by the fourth placed team from last year’s Eurobasket, and they did it thanks to a full board of contributors highlighted by Jaka Lakovic, who had 11 first half points on his way to 19 for the game. Primoz Brezec (12 points) and Goran Dragic (10 points) led the rest.

World Championship Update: Serbia Outlasts Croatia

An Aleksandar Rasic free throw with one second remaining has delivered Serbia an incredible 73-72 (boxscore) victory over rivals Croatia to claim the first place in the 2010 FIBA World Championship quarter finals.

After the Serbs had led by seven in the last quarter, Marko Popovic and Marko Banic led Croatia back from the brink. Popovic hit 8/10 free throws in the final quarter and drew the teams level with 2/2 with 5.9 seconds remaining.

But Rasic dribbled the length of the court and drew a foul on Davor Kus, hitting the first free throw and deliberately missing the second to give Croatia no chance of responding.

For Serbia, Nenad Krstic worked hard for his 16 points, and was well supported by Rasic (15 points) and Kosta Perovic (10 points). For Croatia Popovic was tireless with 21 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists, while Roko Ukic (11 points) and Banic (10 points, 7 rebounds) were strong contributors.

World Chmapionship: Defending Champs Spain Oust Greece

Defending champions Spain broke open a close game in the fourth quarter and continued their mastery over Greece by winning their Eight-Final showdown at the FIBA World Championship on Saturday.Sergio Scariolo’s team, beaten twice in Group D, got a game-high 22 points from Juan Carlos Navarro but more importantly an excellent game from its bench and won 80-72 (boxscore) at the Sinan Erdem Dome.Fran Vazquez and Felipe Reyes combined for 12 points and 17 rebounds off the bench.

Sergio Llull was also immense. He didn’t start but had nine points in 15 minutes.

The triumph has set up a Quarter-Final with Serbia, the team they hammered in last year’s EuroBasket Final in Poland.