More than 5 things happened during the UAAP opening weekend, but these are what you should keep in mind.
Kiefer, you mad bro?
Kiefer Ravena wasted no time in showing that he is still King Eagle by matching his season-high last year in Ateneo’s first game of Season 77. He scored 22 points to lead the Blue Eagles past a hapless Adamson Falcons, 79-57.
After last season’s disappointment, Ateneo is looking to regain its elite status with a new brand of swarming defense and fast-paced offense. With the game pretty much over (this was in the second quarter), Ravena had to rub it in by slamming it—not once, but twice!—as if to say, “My dad ain’t got nuthin’ on me!”
One of the dunks was also at the expense of the son of a PBA legend, who may have to spend the whole season watching his daddy’s highlight reel.
It’s Mike Tolomia’s turn
In case there were still doubts on whose team FEU is, Mike Tolomia needed just one game to settle it. Without RR Garcia calling the shots and Terrence Romeo taking the shots, Tolomia carried the FEU Tamaraws on his shoulders to hand defending champs La Salle a stunning loss in their season opener.
After scoring just three points in the first half, Tolomia (probably) got a text message from Romeo that went like this: “Kung ganyan ka maglaro, babalik kami ni RR, bro.” Because after the break, the former RP Youth Team mainstay went on a rampage and scored 20 points en route to an 82-77 upset.
In the end though, Garcia, perhaps unwittingly, still took credit from Tolomia’s awesome performance. “Ang daming natutunan sa amin (ni Terrence) niyan. Nakikinig rin naman kasi si Mike. Ang sabi ko pa nga sa kanya kanina, ‘Pagdating sa loob, ikaw leader diyan at si Mac Belo ang katulong mo’,” Garcia told Yahoo! Philippines.
La Salle is deep, man
But not deep in the way Ranidel de Ocampo is deep (ICYMI, listen to RDO’s musings on basketball here).
La Salle’s roster is stacked with promising rookies, legit scorers, and Yutien Andrada. Despite losing floor general LA Revilla, the Green Archers still boast a prolific, albeit tiny, backcourt in Almond Vosotros, Thomas Torres, Kib Montalbo, and Robert Bolick. The frontline of Arnold Van Opstal, Jason Perkins, Norbert Torres, and Andrada will give opposing defenses fits, while Jeron Teng will get buckets.
La Salle dropped its season opener against FEU and maybe for good reason, too. With everyone’s eyes on the strongest team on paper, it’s perhaps best to lose one this early and recover than go on a first-round tear, only to wane away as the season matures. Right, FEU?
Perhaps the loss may also push Boss Danding to rethink the green tie and green pants ensemble of the coaching staff. We suggest green tights, brown elf shoes, green tunic in a lighter shade, and a green hat with a red feather. Then Coach Juno Sauler should think happy thoughts.
There’s a new Pumaren in town
Well, OK, he’s not exactly “new” in the rookie sense as he has paid his dues in the professional and amateur coaching scene. Now manning the sidelines for UE is Derrick Pumaren, a former Red Warrior himself. He also coached La Salle in the 90s and several PBA teams, while serving as de facto consultant to Franz and Dindo.
As his season debut proved, we’ll be seeing more of the trademark Pumaren full-court press that could give opposing backcourts nightmares. Pumaren started the season with a convincing win led by the hot shooting of sophomore Dan Alberto, which included a buzzer-beating halfcourt heave to end the first quarter.
But it was against the UP Fighting Maroons, so whatever.
Ateneo’s best acquisition in the off-season
It seems Ateneo’s recruitment team spent the summer scouting beauty pageants instead of basketball courts. The only new face wearing the blue and white that needs attention is their courtside reporter, Laura Lehmann. If she looks familiar, it’s probably because you too have been watching too much beauty pageants instead of basketball games. The 20-year-old Lehmann won 2nd runner-up in this year’s Bb. Pilipinas. If this is Ateneo’s way of sticking it up to the league for not letting Jerie Pingoy and Hubert Cani play this season, then kudos, Blue Eagles! OBF!
— Team Ateneo (@AteneOBF) July 13, 2014
Ateneo wins by 30+ points and yet the story of the game is still how hot the new court-side reporter is HAHAHAHHA #SheIsSmokingDoe
— EJ Gonzales (@areyouanEJiot) July 13, 2014
To the new Ateneo courtside reporter pic.twitter.com/B118h4nvHl
— Jan Resurreccion (@JanResu) July 13, 2014
Ladies and Gentlemen, Ateneo’s Courstide Reporter for the UAAP Season 76. pic.twitter.com/x8EdKdpHG6
— Mara Andres (@marawaranara) July 13, 2014