Not just soaring, but swarming Falcons | Inquirer Sports
One Game At A Time

Not just soaring, but swarming Falcons

/ 09:03 PM September 12, 2011

Talk of the sweep did not jinx Ateneo’s bid to win all its UAAP elimination games. It was crafted instead by the soaring and swarming Falcons with a 62-46 win that ended Adamson’s 29-game losing streak to the Blue Eagles.
The statistics don’t tell the entire story of how Ateneo groped for form. Our UAAP reporter Jasmine W. Payo told me that the field goal shooting percentages were close: Adamson shot 35.1 percent from the floor while Ateneo hit 31.5. The turnovers were also not too far from each other as the Falcons gave up the ball 17 times while Ateneo did so on 19 occasions.
So where did the margin of victory come in a game that was rightly predetermined by both coaches as a defensive encounter?
The difference was in the shutdown Adamson did on Ateneo’s main sources of points. The Falcons double-teamed hard on Greg Slaughter, not allowing him to make too many spins to the basket. Slaughter had one escape move in the first quarter that resulted in a thunderous dunk.
Slaughter still managed to score 10 points but he was still part of the Adamson containment plan that limited Ateneo’s main scorers below double digits. The Falcons were constantly challenging shots and forcing the Ateneo scorers to go in directions they were unaccustomed to. Kiefer Ravena, Nico Salva, Kirk Long and Eman Monfort were taken out of the game. Ateneo could muster only eight points in the first 10 minutes and later only seven in the third quarter.
Adamson went to town in the second half when it popped an 8-0 run at the top of the third and an 11-2 run to end the quarter. Ateneo’s best scoring run was a 7-0 blitz in the second canto when it came within a point. But there was no stopping Alex Nuyles, who had 21 points by taking the ball strong to the basket, often catching the Blue Eagles a step late trying to stop him.
TV analyst Mark Molina put it succinctly that Adamson poses match-up problems for Ateneo because of its size and athletic ability. Add to this a determined gustiness to finally nail a crown for the San Marcelino five because its been decades since Hector Calma steered Adamson to a crown.
The Ateneo loss does not diminish its 13-1 elimination record as it finished No. 1 despite missing out on a chance to go outright into the finals. The Blue Eagles will still have a twice-to-beat edge against UST. With the win against the Eagles, Adamson also picked up the second twice-to-beat incentive.
It should be interesting if the two bird schools get to the finals, unless UST or FEU come up with superlative Final Four performances to stun the favorites. It would be engaging to see how the coaches line up their birds of prey anew. Eagles and Falcons aren’t like doves and geese that fly in formations. They’re solo flyers most of the time. The team that gets them to fly together solidly in the UAAP finals will get the biggest prize of all.

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TAGS: Adamson Falcons, Ateneo Blue Eagles, Basketball, Sports, UAAP Season 74

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