Tab Baldwin pays tribute to ‘special’ group of Ateneo seniors

The Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles conquered the UAAP Season 82 after an unblemished 16-0 run en route to their 11th title in franchise history.

Winning the championship certainly gave their five graduating seniors a fitting sendoff, as Finals MVP Thirdy Ravena, Isaac Go, Adrian Wong, and Mike and Matt Nieto all played their final game in Ateneo uniform last Wednesday.

The Kiwi-American coach had nothing but kind words to his veterans, starting with the leadership of Mike and Thirdy.

“They have grown as leaders. Mike is probably a natural leader. Mike is a communicator. Mike is a thinker. As we go through this group, Thirdy is an incredible competitor, he’s a fighter, he’s impetuous, he’s emotional. He can go the wrong way as easily he can go the right way. Fortunately for us, he so often goes that just by weight of numbers, he goes the right way a lot,” he said.

ALSO READ — Thirdy Ravena says winning 3 championships feels much better than 3 MVP awards

Baldwin then credited his 6’8 back-up center Go for being a consummate professional throughout his five-year stay in Ateneo.

“George is a guy that I didn’t expect a lot from the beginning. I knew he was intelligent. But what he has in terms of the context of our team, he has respect from everybody, including all the coaches, for a person who gives everything he has to give, and we want more. We want more athleticism, we want more speed, we want more quickness. And he tries, he gives everything he’s got. The one thing he gives that we all depend on a bit is that intellect, that basketball IQ. And that calm under pressure. And he’s been for us for forever,” he shared.

READ — Outgoing Isaac Go looks back at five-year playing career for Ateneo

The former Gilas coach then admitted that losing a player of Wong’s caliber stings, but said he wishes nothing but the best for him as he will try his luck n the pros next year.

“AD I don’t really have a lot to say because I really didn’t think that I was gonna lose him. I thought he was gonna stay for another year. I told him I will support him in whatever he did. I haven’t told him this but it hurt when he told he was leaving. I told him I love you, God bless you, go and I’ll support you no matter what you do. But I hate losing him. I hate losing any player I could have another go with. Why do I hate losing him? Man, two-way players there aren’t around everyday. He’s a force at the defensive end and he’s such a reliable offensive player when it comes to shooting. He’s execution on offense, he’s just incredibly reliable. And he’s a star in the making this guy. Trust me he’s a star in the making,” he said.

Baldwin saved his best praises for his floor general, Matt, who embodied his teachings both on and off the court.

“This guy right here (Matt), he’s something between a brother and a son, certainly a friend. You can just put a W on his head. He’s a winner. He wins all the time. And losing hurts him more than anybody else. And he takes it personal and he carries it onto the next event so he doesn’t lose that one. I think all of these guys give us a lot of character but a lot of times, as Matt goes, we go. The rest he knows. I’ve told him. He’s a special human being,” he said.

The Blue Eagles truly had one of the deepest rosters this year, and Baldwin managed to bring out the best of each individual.

“So I thank you to each and every one of you guys. You’re all special. You’ve brought something incredibly special to this team and you will be a gigantic hole  to fill. Of course we will work hard in filling it. And they know they better come back and see us and even train with us and we’ll get them in shape. I love them all. I love them all,” he concluded.

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Outgoing Isaac Go looks back at five-year playing career for Ateneo

George Isaac Go is one of five graduating players for the Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles who wrapped up their collegiate career on Wednesday.

Along with Thirdy Ravena, Adrian Wong, and Mike and Matt Nieto, the team’s seniors were given a fitting sendoff as they defeated the University of Sto. Tomas Growling Tigers in two games of UAAP Season 82 Men’s Basketball Finals to clinch their 11th UAAP title in history while accomplishing a perfect 16-0 season in the process.

After maxing out his five playing years of eligibility for the Katipunan-based squad, Go opened up about being part of Ateneo’s dynasty and winning three championships in the last four years.

“It’s an incredible feeling. Not everybody gets a chance to play in the finals, not even come four straight finals. So I guess we’re blessed in that sense that we have the opportunity to play the game that we love in one of the biggest stage in the country. It’s not a result of luck or anything else. It’s a result of everybody’s hard work, blood, sweat, and tears. Coming in everyday and working ad we did that, some more than others in terms of years. But it’s been a hell of a ride. It’s sweet and next year’s team is gonna have a big challenge ahead of them,” he shared post-game.

After a standout high school career for Xavier high school, the 6’8 center willingly accepted a back-up role for Ateneo after Angelo Kouame’s emergence.

His sacrifice didn’t escape the eye of head coach Tab Baldwin, and he praised Go for his professionalism and willingness to do whatever it takes to win for Ateneo.

“George is a guy that I didn’t expect a lot from the beginning. I knew he was intelligent. But what he has in terms of the context of our team, he has respect from everybody, including all the coaches, for a person who gives everything he has to give, and we want more. We want more athleticism, we want more speed, we want more quickness. And he tries, he gives everything he’s got. The one thing he gives that we all depend on a bit is that intellect, that basketball IQ. And that calm under pressure. And he’s been for us for forever,” he said of Go.

ALSO READ — Thirdy Ravena says winning 3 championships feels much better than 3 MVP awards

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Thirdy Ravena says winning 3 championships feels much better than 3 MVP awards

Thirdy Ravena is enjoying a storybook ending to his stellar collegiate career, leading the Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles to a historic 16-0 season en route to the UAAP Season 82 Men’s Basketball title.

The Katipunan-based squad edged the University of Sto. Tomas Growling Tigers, 86-79, in Game 2 on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena, winning their 11th UAAP Senior’s title in franchise history.

“Finals Thirdy” once again rose to the occasion, as Ravena was awarded his third straight Finals MVP award, after averaging 24.5 points in two games. Speaking post-game, the 6’3 athletic specimen once again emphasized that his team’s success far outweighs any individual accolades he gets along the way.

“Para sa akin, ganun talaga, bonus lang yun eh. Kaya rin siya gumagana cuz it’s every single one of us ginagawa ginanagawa yung roles namin to the best of our abilities. Whether big or small. Yun ang strength namin. We all want to do it for one another. Honestly, mas masarap yung feeling na nag champion kami ng tatlong beses kesa sa mag MVP ng tatlong beses,” he said.

After nothing 32 points, five rebounds and three assists in Game 1, Ravena cooled down a bit but still managed to come up with 17 points in the close-out match. He and SJ Belangel hit crucial shots down the stretch, preventing UST from securing a comeback.

Under Tab Baldwin’s watchful eye, Ateneo has been a model of consistency throughout Season 82. The team also embraced a “next man up” mentality, with several role players stepping up in the eliminations, helping them achieve a pristine record in 16 matches.

“Masarap. Masarap hindi dahil nanalo kami, masarap kasi we won it in a way na we were playing for one another,” Ravena described his final collegiate title.

“It’s an incredible feeling, di ko ma-describe eh. It’s an incredible feeling. Di ko ma-describe eh. I just want to thank the entire team. Tinatanong nila kung pano namin nagawa yung 16-0, yung sagot ko is that strength doesn’t lie with one person, with one player, or one coach, but it lies on all of us. It lies because we want to play for another and we preach servanthood. Kaya kami malakas, kaya gumanagana yung system is that we do what we do not for ourselves but for our teammates and the guy beside us on the bench,” he added.

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Southeast Asian Games 2019: Hidliyn Diaz, weightlifting 55kg, schedule, live stream, when and where to watch, timings

The 30th Southeast Asian Games is upon us, as a total of 11 members of Southeast Asian Games Federation (SEAGF) countries will duke it out in the biennial regional multi-sport event.

Set to take place on November 30 to December 11 across 23 cities in the Philippines, the 2019 SEA Games is expected to host almost 10,000 of the best Asian athletes in their respective fields.

Hidilyn Diaz put Philippine women’s weightlifting in the map, after becoming the first Filipino woman to win an Olympic medal. She won the silver medal in 2016 Summer Olympics in the women’s 53-kg weight division.

Philippines Weightlifting schedule

The weightlifting event will be held for four days from December 1 to 4 at the (Rizal Memorial Sports Complex) Ninoy Aquino Stadium in Malate, Manila.

Day 1: Women’s 45 kg will begin at 1pm and end 3pm. This is followed by the Men’s 55k at 4pm to 6pm.

Day 2: Women’s 49 kg (10am-12 noon)

    Men’s 61kg (1pm- 3pm)

    Women’s 55kg (4pm to 6pm)

Day 3: Women’s 59 kg (10am-12 noon)

    Men’s 67 kg (1pm-3pm)

    Women’s 64kg (4pm-6pm)

Day 4: Women’s 71 kg (1pm-3pm)

    Men’s 73 kg (4pm-6pm)

After Diaz’s international success, Filipino fans are now paying attention to the sport more than ever, hoping for the next big star.

Live stream, when and where to watch

Live telecast of the games will be broadcasted by two of the biggest networks in the country. ABS-CBN and TV5 have agreed to join forces to cover 56 sports which will have somewhere around 530 gold medals up for grabs.

Both networks are available on cable and free TV.

Squad

Women’s

Mary Flor Diaz — 45 kg

Elien Rse Perez —  49 kg

Hidilyn Diaz — 55 kg

Margaret Colonia — 59 kg

Elreen Ann Ando —  64 kg

Kristel Machrohon — 71 kg

Men’s

John Fabuar Ceniza — 55kg

Dave Lloyd Pacaldo — 61 kg

Nestor Colonia — 64 kg

Jeffrey Garcia — 73 kg

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Chooks-to-Go gives National Team pool incentive for conquering Jakarta meet

A week after winning the Jakarta 3×3 International Invitational Challenge 2019, the quartet of Joshua Munzon, Alvin Pasaol, Santi Santillan, and Troy Rike were given a handsome incentive.

Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 league owner Ronald Mascariñas gathered the players to his office, Monday afternoon. And it’s because the past few months have been a grind for them.

“The past few months have been very stressful not just for us but also our players. With the uncertainty of whether we will make it to the FIBA 3X3 OQT, the players played almost on a daily basis to rack up points for us,” admitted Mascariñas.

“That is why this reward is not just for them winning the Jakarta tourney but also for the sacrfices they made.”

Days after the announcement that the Philippines was announced as one of the 20 teams that will compete in the OQT scheduled to take place on March 2020 in Delhi, India, the top players of Chooks 3×3 were invited to compete in the Jakarta meet — a tournament that features three teams that will compete in the upcoming 30th Southeast Asian Games.

The Filipinos easily took down Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Chinese-Taipei to stamp their class.

After receiving their rewards, the players expressed their gratitude that their work has been greatly appreciated.

“Nagpapasalamat kami kay Boss Ronald at sa Chooks-to-Go dahil hindi nila kami pinapabayaan bilang players,” said Alvin Pasaol, who is the country’s number two-ranked player.

“Kahit pagod na pagod na kami, all worth it ang aming mga sakripisyo.”

But there will be no rest for the weary as come December, Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas is looking to host another FIBA 3X3-endorsed Super Quest. And the country’s top players are ready to grind it out once more.

“Our bodies and minds are tired. But we have to make the ultimate sacrifice for the country,” said Philippine ace Joshua Munzon.

“We only have one shot at making it to the Olympics and we have to remain sharp heading into it. Having little to no breaks is our ultimate sacrifice for each and every Filipino who believes in us.”

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Tab Baldwin insists Ateneo not thinking about season sweep: ‘We just want to be 1-0 from here’

Wednesday’s game will be a chance for the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles to forever etched their names in the record books.

Not only does the Tab Baldwin-mentored team have a shot at three consecutive UAAP Men’s Basketball titles, they can also finish the entire Season 82 without a single blemish in their record.

The last team to achieve a perfect season was the University of Sto. Tomas who went undefeated in 14 games in Season 56 back in 1993.

But as far as Baldwin is concerned, his team just wants to close out the season and think about the feat once they win the championship.

“We just want to be 1-0 from here,” he said after Ateneo’s 91-77 Game One win over the UST Growling Tigers last Saturday.

“We don’t really care what’s going on in the past. Each of those games was won because we took those games seriously and tried to play our best game in that game. We have one game left. If we win it… And we just want to be 1-0. Whatever people want to say after that game is up to their perceptions of this team. We understand that this game on Wednesday is a chance to finish the season. And then we’ll let all of you talk about what you think about the team, what you think of whatever is related to our team. Believe me, we just want to play this game on Wednesday well, play it really well. Win the game and whatever comes with that, comes with that. We don’t want our focus on anything else. Especially any talk about records or anything like that. Let’s just play this game on Wednesday and do the best we can,” he added.

The Kiwi-American tactician also addressed earlier concerns that his team might display some rust after a long lay-off, as they waited who will emerge out of the stepladder semis.

“I always thought the big break was an advantage, not a disadvantage. I’m a big believer in preparation. I think if you give me as a coach more preparation time, that’s gonna be an advantage for our basketball team,” he shared.

“We never bought into the stuff about a long layoff makes you rusty and things like that. Not working makes you rusty. Working makes you not rusty. And we worked. We worked hard. But we’re not prepared to say that it has won us anything yet because all it’s done is get us to the next game.”

ALSO READ — ‘Finals Thirdy’ | Ravena going all-out for Ateneo as college career nears end

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SiPons dominate Gervacio-Rodriguez duo to take Rebisco Open title

The duo of Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons ruled the sands anew after clinching the 2019 Rebisco Beach Volleyball International Open at the Sands SM By The Bay on Sunday.

Rondina and Pons overpowered the pair of Dzi Gervacio and Dij Rodriguez in straight sets, 21-10, 21-16, in the finals match.

It was a better outing for the SiPons duo who competed in the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour 1-Star last May in Boracay, where they reached the quarterfinals.

The competition serves as good preparation for both pairings as they will represent the country in the upcoming 2019 Southeast Asian Games.

(Image from Twitter/@phbeachvolley)

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Despite bridesmaid finish, FEU Cheering Squad happy to win crowd’s hearts

When the Far Eastern University (FEU) Cheering Squad took their turn on the floor, the crowd went wild.

After all, no team can go wrong with a six-minute performance paying homage to Michael Jackson, King of Pop. With their anti-gravity lean, moonwalk, and a Thriller-inspired dance routine, the FEU Cheering Squad made a strong case to win the UAAP Season 82 Cheerdance Competition title.

But it was hard to topple a dynasty.

READ — Sacrifices all worth it for NU Pep Squad’s cheerdance dynasty

The Morayta-based squad fell short of the cheerdance crown anew, finishing in second place behind back-to-back champions NU Pep Squad earlier at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Despite FEU’s solid performance, the back-to-back Sampaloc-based champions delivered a spellbinding tribute to the country to win their sixth title in seven years.

This competition marked FEU’s back-to-back bridesmaid finishes in the said event, also placing second in last year’s edition with their 70s-inspired routine.

Despite a hard-earned silver medal finish, FEU head coach Randell San Gregorio admitted he expected his squad to snatch the title.

“Can I be honest? I was actually expecting a different score. [Pero] hindi naman ako judge, so okay pa rin,” San Gregorio said.

Winning their last title back in 2009, the head coach said their back-to-back silver medal finishes were already a ‘great accomplishment’.

With the roaring sound of applause inside the arena, the FEU Cheering Squad felt like they already won the title.

“Judging from the crowd’s reaction sa routine namin, we’ve done our job. Feeling ko naman, the crowd cheered the loudest during our performance, [so] okay na ako doon,” San Gregorio ended.

RELATED — Funniest tweets during the #UAAPCDC2019

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From college to pros: JC Intal pays tribute to ‘brother’ Doug Kramer

Dennis Rodman on matchmaking Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un

Longtime basketball teammates JC Intal and Doug Kramer are never shy of expressing their “bromance” for one another both on and off the court.

Starting as college teammates with the Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles way back in 2002, the pair’s bond continued in the PBA, playing together with the Phoenix Pulse Fuel Masters.

After 12 seasons in the pro ranks, the 36-year-old Kramer has decided to hang up his sneakers for good and played his final game in Phoenix’s 120-117 win over the Blackwater Elite last Friday.

In a lengthy Instagram post, Intal detailed his admiration for the 6’5 slotman, who was beloved by every team he played for due to his leadership and professionalism.

“I witnessed your highs and lows during your 12 year stint in the pros. From our early years playing with Air21, to being a reserve in Ginebra for one conference, you never gave up and you proved everyone wrong,” Intal wrote.

“You are an MVP as a family man, a teammate and friend on and off the court. I’m grateful we got to be teammates in your last years in the PBA.”

View this post on Instagram

I have nothing but LOVE for you, @dougkramer! God blessed you with so much and basketball is just one of those blessings. What an AMAZING journey, brother! I've witnessed every single day in your career, from our college days, I saw how hard you've worked to improve your game that brought you to the pros. We played for 5 years together in Ateneo, we dreamt of playing in the PBA, and pursuing that made us even closer. I witnessed your highs and lows during your 12 year stint in the pros. From our early years playing with Air21, to being a reserve in Ginebra for one conference, you never gave up and you proved everyone wrong. Seeing you grow and play your best basketball during your days in Powerade made me really proud. I know you worked your ass off, and it paid off. Knowing when to retire is difficult for any athlete. As they say, you have to give up so much and start another life. Only few people know that it's a different ball game for you. You said goodbye to the game on your own terms. You are retiring as a winner not only in basketball but in life. You are an MVP as a family man, a teammate and friend on and off the court. I'm grateful we got to be teammates in your last years in the PBA. Continue to inspire more people and be a blessing for them. You've been my role model brother! Looking forward to playing billiards and golf with you haha! I honestly thought we were going to retire together in a few years, but God had different plans. I will miss our 1on1s, coffee talks in the morning, JT's manukan lunch, and mga pang aasar mo sakin! Haha! We are lucky and blessed to have a strong support system in our own lives. You won't reach this far and I won't reach this far if our partners never pushed us to believe in ourselves. We may not be superstars in our teams but I know it's our brotherhood that makes us stand out in my books. Thank you as always, @iamsuperbianca and @chekakramer. We appreciate you! You are our MVPs! All the best, Mr. Biceps! 💪 Love you bro! 🙏🏀 Cheers! 🍻 (thank you for the photos, Bief and Tammy! 📸 @fuelmasters ⛽)

A post shared by JC Intal (@jcintal7) on

Kramer, meanwhile, responded with a lengthy post of his own, thanking Intal for the impact he had on his basketball career and personal life.

“We’re more than teammates, we’re brothers. We originally planned to retire together, but you still have so much to give, and I respect that. You’re an amazing friend. One who’ll go out of his way just to spend time and enjoy our lunch dates and billiard games,” he revealed.

View this post on Instagram

Here's a reply to @jcintal7 post today. ❤️ . If there's one person in this league that knows the journey I went through since 2002, it's this guy. . Being recruited the same time in high school 2001, entering Ateneo 2002, losing together 2006 in our last heartbreaking championship game in college, then being drafted together in the PBA 2007, simultaneously picked no. 4 and 5 in the draft with the same team, then playing for 4 teams together in the PBA, and finishing my career with you at Phoenix. . All the emotions, the highs and lows in basketball, my courtship with Chesca, getting married and having kids and be ninongs to each others babies. You witnessed it all with me. We know each other so well and our love… Well… it makes @iamsuperbianca and @chekakramer wonder who's the real partner. 😂😂 . But that's just it, we're more than teammates, we're brothers. We originally planned to retire together, but you still have so much to give, and I respect that. . You're an amazing friend. One who'll go out of his way just to spend time and enjoy our lunch dates and billiard games. . So thanks so much for the beautiful message you left for me, the basketball memories we shared, and this friendship, I'm super blessed and appreciative that God gave me a friend like you. I love you bro! ❤️

A post shared by Doug Kramer (@dougkramer) on

After losing in heartbreaking fashion to the UST Growling Tigers in the Finals of UAAP Season 69, Intal and Kramer applied for the 2007 draft. They were picked simultaneously at 4th and 5th by the Air21 Express and went on to enjoy solid PBA careers.

(Image from Instagram/@jcintal)

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Ayo taking full responsibility for UST’s Game 1 loss: ‘Coaching yung may pananagot diyan’

Mark Nonoy’s phenomenal outing in his first Finals appearance went for naught, as the University of Sto. Tomas Growling Tigers still fell short against the Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles, 91-77, in Game One of the UAAP Season 82 men’s basketball tournament finale.

UST head coach Aldin Ayo said his players did everything they could against the tournament sweep-seeking team, and the blame should be handed to himself and his coaching staff.

“We played bad, really bad. We were not executing. Some players did not play their usual game. But I think, the problem is coaching staff. Tingin ko we were not able to prepare them well. There were situations na hindi namin nadaanan sa practice so, on our part, we just want to be patient. I told the players that we just have to handle this loss the right way. That means going back to our videos and titignan namin kung ano yung mali. We have to correct them. We have three days to prepare for Wednesday,” he shared after the match.

The youth-laden UST squad had a cinderella-run in Season 82, as they bested six other squads with far more experience, just to set up a Finals clash against Ateneo.  Ayo commended his players’ valiant stand, and said he needs to come up with a better game plan to prepare them for Game 2.

“Finals is a different atmosphere. But as I told you, we have to be patient. Whatever it is, you can’t blame the players. Trabaho ng coaching staff to simulate things. Sa abot ng makakaya namin, we are going to do that. Pero yung mga players, they did everything that they could. Hindi lang talaga lumabas yung laro. Sa ganitong situation, coaching yung may pananagot diyan,” he said.

UST once again relied on the long ball, taking 40 attempts as a team from behind the arc. But the Tigers only completed 34 percent of those tries, as Berent Paraiso was the only one who got it going after hitting four triples/.

“Well, that’s our game. We are not going to change that,” Ayo said.

“Kung titignan mo yung Ateneo, if you want to beat them, you have to make those threes. If you don’t, then papabalikin at papapabalikin lang nila yung bola sa harap mo. So, let’s see. Titignan din namin yung system namin and, of course, palagi namang may butas yan. We have to look at those weaknesses we can exploit.”

Thirdy Ravena was the biggest thorn on the side for UST, torching the Espana-based squad with 32 points on Saturday.

ALSO READ — ‘Finals Thirdy’ | Ravena going all-out for Ateneo as college career nears end

Ayo, however, said his team should not focus on stopping Ravena alone, but come up with a total team effort on defense in Game 2.

“It’s not about Thirdy e. If we want to stop them, well we have to stop the whole team. If you focus on Thirdy only, the other guys will step up also. Ngayon, nandun yung points ni Thirdy because of our transition defense. He played well. This is his last year. Hopefully, we can cover him on Wednesday,” he said.

UST will be in familiar territory once more in Game 2, as they figure in their fourth elimination game of the season. But Ayo downplayed their previous close-out wins, claiming it won’t have much bearing against a team as formidable as Ateneo.

“It won’t matter because it depends kung sino kalaban mo. You cannot compare other elimination games because it’s different. Walang basehan yun.”

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‘Finals Thirdy’ | Ravena going all-out for Ateneo as college career nears end

Thirdy Ravena is willing to leave everything on the court as he nears the tail end of his stellar collegiate career.

‘Finals Thirdy’  once again showed up in the Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles’ dominant 91-77 win over the University of Sto. Tomas Growling Tigers in Game 1 of UAAP Season 82 men’s basketball tournament on Saturday.

Ravena could do no wrong inside the Smart Araneta Coliseum, scoring a game-high 32 markers on 14-of-18 field goal shooting, while also collecting five rebounds and three assists.

He admitted that one of his primary motivations was the fact that he didn’t want to leave Ateneo with regrets.

“I guess one of the reasons is the fact that It’s my last year. I don’t wanna say at the end of the season na hindi ko binigay lahat. So I’m just laying it all on the line for my team and for the community. Kasi ayoko naman umalis na may feeling ako na kaya ko pa magbigay. So for me it’s just about doing whatever it takes to make your teammates better, to help the team win. And to make sure na yung community natin is masaya,” he shared post-game.

Ravena and the rest of the Blue Eagles quickly erased misconceptions that the defending champs might be rusty after a long lay off. Ateneo came out of the gates firing, as Ravena led the charge by scoring 11 points in the opening canto.

“Well for me I just take it strong to the basket. Mas malakas yung pag atake ko, mas malaki yung chance na ma-shoot yung bola number one, number two to get a foul, and number three kung mag mintis man yun, I know that Ange and the other players are ready to get the defensive rebound. Yun yung mentality ko, nothing too complex. Basic lang na take it strong,” Ravena said.

Ateneo is now on the cusp of history and have a chance to brand themselves as one of the most dominant collegiate teams in Philippine history if they manage to complete their 16-0 season sweep.

The 6’2 swingman, however, said his team’s sole focus is to win the championship and they know UST will not make it easy for them in Game 2.

“Business is not done. We can’t celebrate. We can’t feel happy about this although we did a lot of things really well. May mga ginawa naman kaming bagay na di rin kaayaaya. So we have to learn from that. The coaches are gonna make sure na wala kaming mali. And we’re gonna make sure as players we’re gonna try our best to be perfect. It’s gonna be tough considering UST sobrang tapang nila lahat. We just need to make sure we do our jobs,” he added.

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Paras, Rivero thank faithful UP following, De Liano posts cryptic tweet

After a runner-up finish last season and adding several key players to start the year, many had pegged the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons to once again reach the Finals of the UAAP Season 82 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

But those hopes came crashing down on Wednesday, as UST’s Renzo Subido’s dagger three erased their twice-to-beat advantage and eliminated them from contention.

READ — UST’s semis hero Renzo Subido on clutch dagger vs UP: ‘I’ve been practicing those everyday’

Although the star-studded team failed to live up to expectations, several members took to social media to address the UP community, who stuck with the team through thick and thin.

The team’s prized recruit Kobe Paras shared a video of several fans chanting “UP Fight”, as they patiently waited for the players outside the arena. The 22-year-old high-flyer shared his gratitude to everyone who embraced him in his first year as a Maroon.

Ricci Rivero, who transferred to UP from La Salle, also thanked those who worked away from the limelight to make sure the team played to its potential.  He also thanked those who have been doubting the team since the season began.

The tweet that garnered the most buzz came from Juan Gomez de Liano, who might have hinted his departure from the team after the heartbreaking defeat. The lefty guard still has one year of eligibility left, but will reportedly weigh his options in the coming weeks.

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After duel with Akhuetie, Chabi Yo braces for match-up vs Kouame

After duking it out against the University of the Philippines’ Bright Akhuetie in two grueling games, it doesn’t get any easier for UAAP Season 82 MVP Soulemane Chabi Yo.

The University of Sto. Tomas Growling Tigers have earned the right to face the unblemished Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles in a best-of-three Finals series, after overcoming UP’s twice-to-beat advantage on Wednesday.

ALSO READ — UST’s semis hero Renzo Subido on clutch dagger vs UP: ‘I’ve been practicing those everyday’

The Benenise workhorse posted yet another solid double-double in the deciding game, finishing 22 points and 16 rebounds, while playing solid defense against Akhuetie.

Speaking to reporters post-game, Chabi Yo reflected on UST’s tough road as they had to weather three straight knockout games to book a Finals trip.

“I feel very good, very happy to be in the finals. Difficult game. Very tough game. They really adjust. We tried to follow the system of the coach and be mentally tough to get the lead. The motivation, we wanted to win,” he said.

Chabi Yo has been nothing short of unstoppable since claiming the Most Valuable Player plum, posting a career-high 25 points in the first stage of the stepladder match against Far Eastern University.

He followed that up with 17-point, 15-rebound double-double in Game 1 against UP, and figuring in a duel with Akhuetie who 19 markers and 18 boards.

Chabi Yo’s magical run this season will reach its final challenge, as he is set to face Ateneo’s own foreign-student athlete Angelo Kouame.

The 6’6 UST slotman will once again be giving up some height, as Kouame is listed at 6-foot-10 with an incredibly long wingspan to boot.

The Final series, which begins on Saturday, will likely be determined as to which foreign student athlete manages to impose his will.

 

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UST’s semis hero Renzo Subido on clutch dagger vs UP: ‘I’ve been practicing those everyday’

The University of Sto. Tomas Growling Tigers needed a hero in dying seconds of their stepladder semis Game 2 versus the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons on Wednesday, and it was the fearless Renzo Subido who stepped up to the plate.

The outgoing senior made sure he reached the Finals before ending his collegiate career as he nailed the biggest shot of the ball game to give UST a 68-65 win at Mall of Asia Arena.

With UST down by two points, Subido connected on a deep three-pointer over the towering Bright Akhuetie to give the Tigers a one-point advantage with 23.6 seconds remaining in regulation.

“Just part of the game. I took the shot kasi di lumapit si Bright. I’ve been practicing those everyday. I was confident with that shot,” Subido shared post-game.

The 5’9 combo guard also credited coach Aldin Ayo’s system for allowing him to flourish and giving him confidence to take big time shots.

“Actually wala naman yun eh. It’s part of the preparation. hindi ko naman hinahanap yung clutch baskets na yun, dumarating na lang talaga sakin. Since dumarating lang sakin, I’m just confident enough to take those shots. I was just sticking to the gameplan na binigay ni coach Aldin. Tiwala lang talaga kay coach,” he added.

Wit UST struggling to dial it from deep all game long, going 7-of-39 from beyond the arc, Subido managed to keep his team afloat hitting four of his nine attempts. He finished the game with 14 markers, three rebounds, two assists, and two steals.

Subido and the rest of UST will take on their stiffest challenge yet, as they take on defending champions Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles in a best-of-three Finals affair, starting on Saturday, November 16.

RELATED — After duel with Akhuetie, Chabi Yo braces for match-up vs Kouame

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