THE boys in blue emerged the winner in a highly-physical main game of the UAAP basketball tournament Wednesday, although the biggest attraction at the Mall of Asia Arena turned out to be the star of the `Men in Green’.
And it’s not you, Arvie Bringas.
Boston Celtics stalwart Rajon Rondo graced the Ateneo-Far Eastern University showdown won by the four-time defending champion Eagles, 77-64, catching the tail end of the first period after he came from a visit to the San Juan National High School where he helped apply the finishing touches to a newly refurbished court.
Words in bold letters proclaiming `Welcome Rajon Rondo to the Mall of Asia’ flashed on the giant screen as soon as the three-time All-Star and two-time All-Defensive First Team member walked in.
The 26-year-old all-time assist leader of the Celtics didn't react much to the action except when he smiled a little after FEU’s Terrence Romeo missed a tough, reverse layup late in the period.
But the brilliant point guard out of University of Kentucky stayed long enough to see Bringas get ejected for spitting at an Ateneo player. He momentarily talked to his companions following the play, and then eagerly waited to see the replay of the incident on the giant screen.
Fans of both Ateneo and FEU tried to catch a glimpse of the Boston Celtic great, who came over wearing a red shirt and a cap. Rondo even high-fived an Atenean fan wearing a Boston Celtics shirt.
He and his entourage left the MOA in the final 1:49 mark with the outcome of the game already settled in Ateneo’s favor.
Rondo came over from Barangay Corazon De Jesus in San Juan where he laid the finishing touches to the renovation of its basketball court located near the San Juan Arena and Pinagbuhatan area. He was welcomed by San Juan Congressman JV Ejercito and Mayor Guia Gomez.
He later donated basketballs to 21 barangays of San Juan.
On Tuesday, Rondo conducted basketball clinics for several UAAP and NCAA players at the Ronac Art Center in San Juan, kicking off his short, two-day visit in Manila.
Prior to his arrival at MOA, Ateneo’s Ryan Buenafe and FEU’s Mark Belo were both ejected after being slapped with technical and unsportsmanlike fouls.