FURIOUS finishes, big turnarounds and meltdowns marked the UAAP season as it reached the second round of the eliminations. A coaching change also took place midway into the tournament, even as a team fell in danger of forfeiting its lone win so far. Here's how Spin.ph saw the best and the worst of the week just past.
Mariano burned National University’s defense for 22 points including the game-winning drive in UST’s epic come-from-behind 58-57 overtime win over National University. With his second game-winner of the season, Mariano, who returned this year after being sidelined by an injury last season, has cemented his place as one of the best clutch players in the league today.
The Tamaraws opened the second round with a pair of victories. FEU shot the lights out against erstwhile league leader UST, 87-60, behind a high 61 percent shooting from the field. Terrence Romeo, Roger Pogoy, and Anthony Hargrove finished in double figures, but it was RR Garcia’s assists total which impressed the most as the former league MVP dished out a season-best 11.
Romeo later sizzled with six three-pointers in the first half against Adamson and topscored with 27 points. Bruiser Arvie Bringas also played a solid game, contributing at the most crucial time to help the Tamaraws beat the Falcons, 76-68.
Mbe tallied a season-high in rebounds as he grabbed 20 in the Bulldogs’ 81-77 overtime victory over Adamson last Thursday, surpassing the previous high of 19 set by fellow African player Karim Abdul of UST in the first round.
Arnold Van Opstal
The Green Archers extended their winning streak to three games with a 73-52 win over University of the East. Jeron Teng had his usual huge numbers, but it was Arnold Van Opstal who made the biggest impact by scoring 12 points, including a thunderous dunk in the fourth period that changed the complexion of the game.
Ateneo defeated University of the Philippines, 73-66, to take the top spot with a 7-1 win-loss card, but no less than coach Norman Black voiced his displeasure over the victory, with top teams Far Eastern University and La Salle on the horizon in the schedule of the defending champions.
“We played good enough to win, but we won’t win if we play this way in the future,” said Black later.
The Falcons have lost six straight games, none more painful than their last two. On Thursday, they forced overtime against the NU Bulldogs by scoring nine straight points in less than 30 seconds to close out the regulation period, yet still wound up at the losing end. The Falcons then bowed to Far Eastern University despite holding a seven-point lead at one point in the fourth quarter.
The Fighting Maroons are facing forfeiture of their lone win of the season as they have yet to submit American Chris Ball’s alien certificate of registration (ACR). Ball’s fate will be decided this Wednesday in a special board meeting.
The Red Warriors made a coaching change by installing Boycie Zamar back as head mentor replacing Jerry Codinera. Unfortunately for Zamar, UE just has little pieces to make an improbable Final Four run this season.