For sure, the intensity of one of the most anticipated games in the UAAP for this season rose to its full extend again, as the Nike League 2008 Finals rematch part II took place at the big dome today. It was UE Red Warriors facing the Nike League Champions Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles who lead the table with just a single loss in all the games that they have played. The Jesuits where boasted with confidence after the landslide victory over the Adamson Falcons and the sweep of University of Santo Thomas. The question of the day was, if the Blue Eagles will remain competitive and sweep the University of the East as well?
The line up for the first half appeared to be not that competitive, giving the UE Red Warriors a great advantage on which they’ve built on the 10 points lead that they’ve possesed up to the last 2 minutes of the fourth and final quarter. Everything was going their way. They’ve forced the Blues to more turnovers than they usally allow in a ballgame, thus giving them the lead. Adding to it, the 29% from the field of the Blue Eagles wasn’t quite an impressive show off. My friends, my mother and all Ateneo supporters that I knew started screaming and sending out mass mages (on their mobile phones and Yahoo! messenger) that their most favorite Ateneo Blue Eagles is drawing the shorter against a very competitive University of the East.
Proceeding to the last 2 minutes of a quite miserable afternoon for both sides, the Warriors had a big 10 points advantage (just like I said above). It seemed to be unlikely for the Blue Eagles to come back. But Chris Tiu and Ryan Buenafe made the unexpected possible. After the time out taken by Norman Black, Chris Tiu was wide open for a 3 point shot, thus boasting the morale and confidence of Ateneo’s offense and awakening the yiels and cheers of the Ateneans and supporters of them in attendance at the big dome. But that little 3 pointer by Chris Tiu was far not enough to get rid of the fierce offense of the Warriors as they where able to take down a 2 point shot. The struggling Blue Eagles then managed to hammer another 3 pointer down, again, courtesy of Chris Tiu, the Captain Eagle. Baclao contributed to the game with a very vital block, giving the Eagles the chance to cut the lead of the UE Red Warriors. Again, they struggled where to pass to. And well, a very unexpected 3 point shot by RYAN BUENAFE made all Blue Eagles shout out loud in happiness and they where back on track, with only 3 points behind the Warriors. The Warriors failed to knock a basket with their possession, so it was time for the Blue Eagles to do or die.
Chris Tiu who was heavily garded by 2 Warriors launched an 3 point shot from quite some distance and was able to draw the game with that at 50 a piece, that, with 13 seconds left on the game clock. The Reds gathered up for one last charge to succeed over the Blues, but they’ve not been granted an easy bucket, nor a bucket at all. So, the game went into over time with the Red Warriors able to get the ball. I can’t recall everything exactly what happened there. But a quite impressive move by Ryan Buenafe who drove hard to the basket gave the Blue Eagles 2 vital points, unexpected points, since he is still a Rookie and not everyone (including me) would have thought that he would go for such a difficult play.
After all the hard work the Blue Eagles then managed to succeed over the Red Warriors by 4 points. I believe that there’s one moral lesson to absorb from this game, for all the teams out there. You’ll be simply not safe against the Blue Eagles with a 10 point advantage in the last two minutes. And that has been proven by the triples of Chris Tiu and Ryan Buenafe.
With this game taken, the Blue Eagles continue to stay on top of things with still just a single loss. Can they continue to perform this excellence, and probably grab the title?