Monday, September 14, 2009

UAAP Weekend: Surprising Results

Last weekend feature three classics of te UAAP season 72...

UP vs. Adamson: Arvin's final Game

First was UP's last game versus the Adamson Falcons. It was more of a no-bearing game for both teams as they were just battling the 6th spot in the elimination round. What made it a game to remember was it became Maroons point guard Arvin Braganza's last game of his UAAP career. A game that his father had wished to see but failed to do so...

Last week, in the second meeting of UP against Ateneo, Arvin's father watched in the sidelines as his son's opponents broke away early in the game. He collapsed in the midst of the second (or was it third) quarter, and was immediately attended to by the standby doctors. He was able to move that day, and somewhat signalled that he was going to be okay. He was hurried to the hospital that day, along with UP's skipper Arvin who left in the middle of the game. It seemd like everything was going to be okay, but then I was shocked to have read the news that hours later after that collapse, Arvin's dad passed away. It was very difficult for Arvin, especially that he was about to get married the following Friday...

So that game last Saturday, where he played his last as a UAAP cager, he dedicated it to his father, who was, until the end, his number one fan. Unfortunately, his efforts were not enough to bring the Maroons to win number four. The lackluster defense, alongside the killer threes of the Adamson sealed the league with a double-digit win over the Maroons. But I'm sure Arvin's dad would have been proud of his dear Arvin, for he has played hish eart out in his final game as a Maroon, and proved that he can deliver through adversity and much pain. To Arvin, as part of the UP community, my condolences to you and your family.

Ateneo vs. FEU - Surprise Comeback

The second game was a nail-biter! It was Ateneo and FEU's battle for the highly coveted top see in the UAAP final four. They both want to evade the tremendously deadly UE Red Warriors team as they posted third place in the final four. FEU was defeated by UE once, so they would try their very best to stay away from UE's path.

FEU led by as much as 18 points late in the Third Quarter! I was about to turn off the television in disgust, until I saw Emman Monfort's three-point prayer in the dying seconds of the third quarter. That gave FEU a 15-point margin entering the fourth. With that, I stayed on to watch, and voila! In just a few minutes in the fourth quarter, FEU's 18-point lead disappeared! Eric Salamat, Ryan Buenafe, Nonoy Baclao and Rabeh Al-Hussaini brought their "never say die" attitude in the fourth, giving Ateneo a scoring streak in the fourth! Nonoy Baclao sealed off FEU Center Reil Cervantes as he blocked Reil's turnaround shots! Andy Barroca had a hot start but finished off cold and damp as he was not able to make a conversion in the dying minutes of the game. FEU needed to win this game by five or more points in order to be in the number one spot, but the Reil Cervantesmis in the free throw line during the final seconds gave Ateneo a 74-73 win over the Tamaraws. Now, they will face the streaking UE Red Warriors, while Ateneo will battle the silent but deadly UST Growling Tigers. It really feels different to not having La Salle in the final four. The Blue Eagles surely miss their beloved arch-enemy. Better luck next year boys.

Cheerdance Surprise!

Another surprise show was the Cheerdance Competition, where, for the first time in years, neither UP nor UST won the top award! FEU Tamaraws won the championship, followed by Ateneo and UP. UST came out fourth.

Many UP alumni and alumnae went ballistic over the results. Some would even say that the judges did not appreciate art, grace, and real cheerdance when they see one. My take on this is that it is sometimes good to not win a game. This often gives the team a wake-up call in its strive for excellence. When you are already on top, much is expected. UP has already set the bar in terms of making the moves and doing the grooves in cheerdance. This year, they came short of expectation. They had a repertoire and other symbolisms that only UP students and alumni could understand. If UP was one of the judges, they could have won the competition since it concentrated on UP culture, school spirit, student activism, and other pressing issues of a UP student, then and now. But still, we have to consider that some of the judges are not from this country, and they might not have a single idea about UP's idealism and culture. That's how this competition works. They might have done an excellent routine in a deep and Isko perspective, but of course, judges would look at it differently. And on this note, they failed to please the judges.

In fairness to both Ateneo and FEU, their routines were okay, their gimmicks were good enough. This is just a reflection that the UAAP Cheerdance Competition is no longer a bi-polar competition between the Maroons and the Tigers. All schools have stepped up, the competition has become more exciting. What UP can do is to stop sulking and sourgraping about this year's results, but look forward and strive harder for next year's competition. I'm confident that being Iskos and Iskas, they know well how to handle adversities, pick up the pace, and move on. Next year is a totally different year. We will return to being champions. :)

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