By Jon Carlos RodriguezThe last time the De La Salle Green Archers and the FEU Tamaraws met, they expressed what they really felt about each other. What started as an innocent, meaningless pick-up game ended up like a badly choreographed episode of Smackdown. What’s going to happen when the two teams meet again?
The most entertaining basketball games are those that involve two teams exchanging big shot after big shot in the dying seconds, like when Tim Duncan hit an improbable fadeaway over Shaq in ’04 and the San Antonio Spurs thought they won the game, but then Derek Fisher hit an impossible shot over Manu in 0.4 seconds, to actually win the game for the LA Lakers.
Or those games that end up tied in the dying minutes and there’s a sense that the first team to score would win, like in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals when the Warriors and Cavs couldn’t buy a basket for what seemed like forever, and the Warriors were about to score but then LeBron James just wouldn’t let them, and then Kyrie Irving hit a dagger three-pointer that turned out to be the shot that would give Cleveland its first championship in 50 years.
Or when Justin Brownlee hit a buzzer-beater to win the Governor’s Cup championship for Ginebra last year.
Or when Kobe Bryant scored 60 points in his last game.
These are the games that are the most fun to watch, because as fans, we’re being treated to moments of greatness. This is why we watch basketball.
Now, having said all that…
There’s another reason—hidden in the dark recesses of our minds—why we watch basketball. We want foes, who we already know don’t like each other, to take it out on the court. We wanted to see if Shaq would “playoff foul” Kobe in their first meeting as opponents. We wanted to see if Westbrook would dunk on Durant and stare him down when OKC faced the Warriors. We wanted to become lip-readers to see if they talked trash. In the context that no one would get seriously hurt, we want to witness intense action and compelling drama unfold on the court.
The bitter rivalry between La Salle and FEU guarantees that. Granted, the exhibition game in Davao was unfortunate, and unnecessarily escalated quickly. Sucker punches and kicking a guy already on the ground are never good things. Here’s a never-before-seen, bonus footage from that game:
These two teams don’t like each other. The recent incident gave us a sneak peek into their heart of hearts, but the hostility between the two squads has been there all along. Listicles on the FEU-La Salle rivalry exist, which means it’s legit. Forget Ateneo-La Salle, that old rivalry can’t come to the phone right now.
Why? Oh, ’cause it’s dead.
During the UAAP presser, the Davao brawl was referenced by the entire room. Coach Aldin Ayo and Coach Olsen Racela hugged and vowed to move on from the ugly brawl, which was expected from the two gentlemen. But something tells us we haven’t seen the last of Ron Dennison. Kib Montalbo won’t easily forget.
The dream is that when FEU and La Salle meet again to open their respective UAAP seasons, the game doesn’t get cancelled; no one gets hurt. The dream is that the game goes into overtime, with both teams exchanging big shot after big shot in the dying seconds. That kind of entertaining basketball would suffice.
Now, if in the heat of the game, they decide to sneak in elbows while jockeying for position or whisper unfavorable remarks to each other, that’s their call. We promise that we won’t condone this unsportsmanlike behavior. But, like many basketball fans, we can’t promise that we won’t be entertained.
[Thumbnail photo from Twitter; videos from YouTube]