macho theme for ateneo blue eagle’s quest for the One Big Five
they have t-shirts with the line proclaiming “we fight for the blue and the white”. it’s a provocative line but it is very aggressive and combative, perhaps too much? we have not seen lines like that for a very long time.
so maybe it’s appropriate now given that the ateneo blue eagles are fighting to make it 5 consecutive championships this UAAP 75 season. getting it 5 straight will make history if ateneo pulls it off this year. players do graduate after 4 or 5 years and that means a change in crew, a loss of power every year. winning the championship in consecutive years in college basketball is indeed very hard. losing your top players every year to be replaced by rookies mean you need to have a great coaching staff and equally important a well oiled and strategic recruitment program.
ateneo has won the UAAP championships 4 straight years. that means this year all the players it had the first time it won are all gone and others in between have been lost to graduation.
ateneo had their first game this season last sunday and they did very well beating adamson on a pile of many points – tambak in other words. that could be a good sign. the game with adamson started on shaky grounds for ateneo. the team lost it’s defensive skills, something they are known for in the league, during the first half of the game. the shooting prowess was still there, including the most feared fast-break shots made on transition but they allowed too many open shots for adamson and some errors.
norman black, ateneo’s legendary coach made the adjustments and the defense came back in the second half, enabling ateneo to comfortably pull away in the second half.
the usual suspects, actually stars were there – slaughter, salva and ravena killing adamson on defense and offense. it was also good to see buenafe back. buenafe’s presence was not yet felt as much as he was still recovering from an injury. but he played good minutes on the court so that can mean the injury is all healed and he just needs to get back on the groove. when he does, it can be very devastating to the opponents of the blue eagles.
slaughter has improved a lot. he has added new shots to his repertoire of shots. he was unstoppable when he was close to the ring and all he needed to do was to gently scoop or drop the ball inside the ring. the coaches has done very well to sharpen slaughter’s guns, exploiting his height to the max.
the ateneo blue eagles are known for two deadly things in the league – defense and the fast-break. no team has yet discovered a system to beat them on those.
ateneo will play UST today, a team seen as a top four contender. we will see how much prepared this new ateneo team is for a strong team like UST. coming from a four-peat championship win, ateneo’s top four players slaughter, salva, ravena and buenafe will pour it in to make one big five this season. UST can be ateneo’s 2nd victim in the league.