CHRIS Tiu, a member of the Ateneo squad that finished runner-up to University of Santo Tomas in the 2006 UAAP season, had only one message for the 2012 Blue Eagles batch entering the Game Two: finish off the Growling Tigers.
Moments after the Blue Eagles won Game One at the Mall of Asia Arena against Santo Tomas on Saturday, the Rain or Shine rookie went inside the team’s dugout to congratulate the players and get one message across.
“I talked to some of the players after they won Game One. I told them win it (Game Two). Baka kasi matulad pa sila sa amin,” Tiu told Spin.ph, referring to that fateful 2006 season, which was his third season with the Blue Eagles.
The Blue Eagles won the opener of the 2006 Finals behind a miracle last-second alley-oop shot by Douglas Kramer. But the Growling Tigers fought back valiantly to take the next two games, wrapping up their first UAAP championship since the 1996 season.
Tiu recalled the Typhoon Milenyo somehow killed the momentum they had during that Finals because Game Two had to be postponed due to the massive flooding in Metro Manila.
“Nung magbagyo dahil sa Milenyo, Game Two was postponed for several days. I feel the momentum died down kaya nakabalik ang UST. But we were a super strong team that season because we had the best record that time and a lot of people were expecting us to win it,” said Tiu.
Tiu was a back-up guard in that team that also included JC Intal, who like Kramer joined the Eagles' celebration at center court after the title-clinching 65-62 victory on Thursday.
Kramer said the victory put to rest the ghost of the 2006 Finals.
“It’s really a very good feeling for me to see them beat UST in the Finals,” said an ecstatic Kramer, now playing for Barako Bull in the PBA. “I didn’t visit any of the players because I don’t want to be a jinx in this series. Feels really good because they (Blue Eagles) were telling me this (championship) is for us.”
Intal, on the other hand, thanked the current Ateneo Blue Eagles batch for redeeming their 2006 batch.
“Bawi!” said Intal after the Eagles' eighth overall in the country’s most popular college league.
Intal reserved his biggest praise for Ateneo coach Norman Black.
“I am really happy for coach Norman," he said. "He’s Ateneo’s hero."