F Ateneo buries FEU - Powcast Sports

Ateneo buries FEU

By Josiah Israel Albelda for Yahoo!

Ateneo takes Game 1.

Kirk Long's new gold hairdo might have waxed prophetic for Ateneo de Manila.

In a match where everything went golden for the Blue Eagles, the Katipunan five took one step closer to its dream three-peat after an easy 72 - 49 drubbing of the lethargic Far Eastern University squad in Game 1 of the 73rd UAAP men's basketball tournament finals Saturday afternoon.

Ateneo looked every bit a champion, stunning the Tamaraws with a 15-0 blitz in the first quarter to turn a 9 to 6 lead into a 24 to 6 bubble, which they never relinquished.

On the other hand, the Morayta cagers were more like pretenders than contenders in their first Finals appearance in four years as they turned the ball over 10 times in the first half and shot an atrocious seven-of-32 (21.9%) before 16, 834 fans at the Araneta Coliseum.

"We just did a good job preparing," an ecstatic Coach Norman Black told reporters.

"We're happy. We're excited. But we're not overconfident."

The Blue Eagles ran roughshod over their shocked foes, converting on 15 fastbreak points while holding the Tamaraws to none in the latter's worst performance of the season.

FEU came tantalizingly close to equaling their horrible performance in Game 1 of the 1998 Finals, when they bowed to De La Salle, 47 - 72, in the lowest output in recent memory.

"I am embarrassed," said Athletic Director Mark Molina of his team's showing. "We were completely outplayed. We let everybody down. We surrendered."

True enough, the Ateneo five pushed the ball until the dying seconds and outscored the Tamaraws in every quarter while still enforcing their leech-like defense to the hilt.

"We had our best game of the year," Black added. "We did a good job shooting the ball. We did a good job on our perimeter defense."

Long who had his hair done by a sister who left for the United States this week typified the Blue Eagles' clock-like efficiency with 14 points, five rebounds and two steals on a perfect 4-of-4 from two-point field.

Meanwhile, Justin Chua, Nico Salva and JP Erram combined forces to dominate FEU's big men and post 27 markers, 17 rebounds and six blocks.

"Matagal na naming pina-practice yun (containing FEU's bigs)," Erram said. "Ginawa ko lang yung role ko kase kailangang mag step up."

League Most Valuable Player Ryan Roose Garcia and Rookie of the Year Terrence Romeo were pestered by the Ateneo defense all night long and finished with 11 and 10 points, respectively.

The rest of the Tamaraws, however, sank only 10 field goals among themselves.

To make matters worse, the Blue Eagles had 18 assists while FEU had a pathetic nine.

Ateneo tries to close out the series on Thursday, September 30 before another overflow crowd at the Araneta Coliseum.

The scores:

Ateneo (72) - Long 14, Chua 13, Salva 10, Monfort 9, Austria 8, Salamat 8, Erram 4, Gonzaga 2, Golla 2, Buenafe 2, Tiongson 0, Dela Cruz 0

FEU (49) - Garcia 11, Romeo 10, Cervantes 7, Noundou 6, Ramos 6, Cawaling 3, Exciminiano 2, Cruz 2, Bringas 2, Guerrero 0, Mendoza 0, Knuttel 0, Sanga 0

Quarterscores: 26 - 8; 42 - 21; 60 - 38; 72 - 49

Photos by Jerome Ascano/NPPA Images and Jan Dizon. 


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