Well-oiled Eagles vs talented Tams
Ateneo was just a few minutes away from gaining a spot in the finals, however, the Blue Eagles just couldn’t deliver enough points. They seemed to have most things going their way, including some calls of the referees. They were held down to 13 points in the fourth quarter before Thirdy Ravena hit two miraculous three-pointers that was not really part of the play, but more in desperation which made the ending score close.
The Eagles’ defense stood tall again but their offense seemed to sputter in the closing minutes of the game. Hindsight wise, Aaron Black who scored seven points in the beginning of the fourth quarter was nowhere in sight in the game’s closing minutes. He was finally fielded in the last few seconds and missed his last shot as he came in from the cold.
What Coach Tad Baldwin and his staff may want to look into is how to solve the problem of rebounding as the big men of FEU are really controlling the boards. Perhaps they could consider giving more playing time to their import, Chibueze Ikeh, who is really far more athletic and capable than the other big men of Ateneo in neutralizing FEU’s rebounding advantage.
For the defending champion Tamaraws, they were fortunate to have won the game as they were clearly outplayed by Ateneo for three quarters. Skipper Raymar Jose, who played his guts out, single-handedly kept FEU in contention, controlling the boards while top scoring at the same time.
But in my opinion, the one who really delivered the coups de grace was Monbert Arong, who scored and delivered crucial assists in the game’s waning minutes. He could not find his rhythm in the first three quarters yet something seemed to click before it was too late.
For the sudden death game, I expect to see the usual well-oiled machine of the Ateneo team. The Eagles will probably show the same if not more of the determination and excitement that has gotten them this far.
In my opinion, the outcome of this sudden death will really depend on how the players of FEU will perform. I still feel that they have more talent, experience and a much deeper bench than the Eagles. However, it will really depend on how Arong will play and coach Nash Racela and his staff have to be ready to maximize the situation and find it in their repertoire to adjust accordingly.
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