EVEN before the UAAP Season 80 basketball tournament, the teams made headlines with important player acquisition and a tuneup tournament brawl, while there were still some fireworks after the finals with top coaches' movement.
Let's look back at some of the biggest moments of the UAAP this year.
UST scores lone win in Season 80
The Growling Tigers salvaged some pride by avoiding a winless season with a three-point victory over University of the East. The Tigers finished with a 1-13 win-loss slate but it was simply not enough and Boy Sablan was dropped as head coach.
Isaac Go heroics in the Final Four
ATENEO faced elimination in its rubber match in the Final Four, trailing Far Eastern University by eight points. But gentle giant Isaac Go came up huge for the Eagles in the fourth quarter, sinking a clutch three that tied the game at 75 and forcing overtime. He sealed the win in the extra period when he scored a basket with him sprawled on the court, giving Ateneo a return trip to the finals against La Salle.
Teary eyed Ricci Rivero leads La Salle to 21-point comeback win in Game 2
WHISTLED for four fouls in the first half of Game Two of the UAAP Season 80 men's basketball finals against Ateneo, Rivero was reduced to tears as he faced an early exit from the do-or-die game.
But that became the rallying point for La Salle, which came storming back from a 49-28 deficit to force a series decider.
Paul Desiderio, Bright Akhuetie and UP´s resurgence
The Maroons brought excitement to the community as early as January when they were able to acquire Nigeria’s Bright Akhuetie after being released by the NCAA’s Perpetual Help. Paul Desiderio came up with the game-winner over University of Santo Tomas on opening day and the Maroons ended up one win short of a playoff for the fourth spot.
Brawl in Davao
La Salle and Far Eastern University figured in a brawl at the Kadayawan basketball tournament. At the center of the melee was Ron Dennison, who threw a punch at Kib Montalbo during the third quarter.
That resulted in a full-scale brawl that resulted to the Green Archers and the Tamaraws dropping out of the tournament. The UAAP did not sanction the players involved.
UAAP review finds 17 incorrect calls in La Salle-Adamson semis game
The UAAP suspended three referees who officiated the Final Four game between La Salle and Adamson, but made it clear it saw no evidence to prove there were bias and partiality on the part of the game officials.
La Salle defeated Adamson to reach the finals for the second straight time, and the Falcons filed a protest, with coach Franz Pumaren calling it the “worst officiated game,” that he’s seen in his coaching career.
Alvin Pasaol scores 49 points against La Salle
On October 4, Pasaol came up with a huge performances for the UE Warriors, exploding for 49 points against La Salle. The Red Warriors lost the match even as Pasaol surpassed the 43 points scored by former Jeff Napa for National University in 2002.
Ayo steps down as La Salle coach
In a shocking coaching change during the holidays, La Salle coach Aldin Ayo told team management he is not returning for a third season with the Green Archers. Sources say Ayo is headed to University of Santo Tomas, but La Salle and Ayo have yet to make official statements about their next steps.
Ateneo wins UAAP crown
The Blue Eagles regained UAAP glory, capturing the league crown.
Ateneo led by Thirdy Ravena, Matt Nieto and Isaac Go won the first 13 games of the eliminations before being denied an outright finals berth by La Salle.
The Tab Baldwin-coached Blue Eagles overcame Far Eastern University in the Final Four and staved off a big comeback win by La Salle in Game Two of the finals.