After suffering a painful exit, UAAP Most Valuable Player Kiefer Ravena vowed to come back next year still donning the Ateneo jersey.
Ravena announced his decision on Twitter shortly after the Blue Eagles’ 65-63 loss to National University on Wednesday which put them out of the title picture.
Ravena is about to enter his fifth and final year with Ateneo after guiding the Blue Eagles to two straight titles which are part of their five-peat run.
Two-time UAAP MVP Bobby Ray Parks may no longer be on the National University roster but he’s still very much connected to the team.
That’s why when the Bulldogs defeated the top-seeded Ateneo Blue Eagles to book their first UAAP finals appearance since 1970, the former NU star Parks was right out there celebrating with his old teammates.
Parks told a small group of sportswriters outside the NU locker room that he has rejoined the team’s practices, lending some encouragement and some pointers to his old squad.
The championship round of the UAAP will feature neither Ateneo nor La Salle, the two schools involved in the league's biggest rivalry.
And that's a good thing, according to Far Eastern University coach Nash Racela, whose Tamaraws ended the Green Archers' reign with a thrilling win on Wednesday.
That set up a finals date between FEU and National University, which book the first seat in the title series earlier in the afternoon after toppling the top seed Blue Eagles.
Management of SMART-Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday issued a statement over the power failure that happened during a critical juncture of the UAAP semifinals matchup between National University and Ateneo.
The game between the Bulldogs and the Blue Eagles suffered a long delay because of the incident, and it came at a crucial time. NU had just grabbed the lead on two free throws from Gelo Alolino with just 9.3 seconds remaining when the incident happened.
"The power fluctuation during the game was due to severe weather conditions outside. Circuits of the whole Cubao and Kamuning area were affected," said Big Dome officials in a statement.
Mac Belo made one of the biggest shots of his career after nailing a buzzer-beating triple to send Far Eastern University to the UAAP Season 77 finals on Wednesday.
But Belo, who finished with 23 points and scored his team’s last 12 points of the game, downplayed his heroic performance.
“Nung puntong ‘yun sabi ni coach sa corner lang talga ako. After nung nakita ko si (Jason) Perkins na humelp kay Mike (Tolomia), sabi ko ililipat ito ni Mike sakin,” Belo said after the game. “So ayun, tsamba.”
Ateneo’s Kiefer Ravena may grab most of the spotlight, but for one game at least, NU’s Gelo Alolino was able to overshadow the player most consider to be the best in the collegiate ranks today.
In a knockout game against Ravena’s Blue Eagles, Alolino scored seven points of his 12 points in the fourth quarter – including the Bulldogs’ last five – to lift his team into the UAAP finals, the school’s first appearance in 44 years.
He wasn’t on point for the entire the game, though, and he admitted that a pep talk from teammate Alfred Aroga helped boost him in the final stretch.
When Eric Altamirano stepped away from coaching in the PBA in the 2000s, he never thought he would ever return to the helm of a basketball team again.
And yet here he is, not only coaching the National University basketball team but also reaching the finals for the first time since he led the PBA’s Mobiline Phone Pals to the Centennial Cup and Governors’ Cup finals in 1998.
“I just want to thank God for giving me this opportunity to be back in the finals again. This was never planned,” Altamirano told InterAksyon.com in an exclusive interview.