Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Eagles vs Tamarwas - Round 1

Aug.7, Sunday
Tamaraws Torn Apart

Could the Eagles make it four in a row vs the Tamaraws?  [Ateneo had also elimenated FEU in the semis of the Pre-Season Fil-Oil Flying V Tournament last June]  Or could the Tams finally rid  themselves of the ghosts of Season 73 ? 
The August 7 sellout crowd at the Big Dome finally got the answer in dramatic fashion, none the less.  

Ateneo did make it four in a row, beating FEU by 20 [69-49] in a game that was an exercise in frustration for FEU -- The Tams being slappped a series of technicals [one each against Romeo, the FEU bench , and Escoto] which gave the Eagles three pairs of charities plus the corresponding possessions, midway in the 4th, when outcome of the game was still far from being decided [though Ateneo had already erected a decent lead at that point].

By the end of the match,  the Eagles had been awarded 28 free throws, of which they converted 23, and the Tamaraws had been given only 9 free throws, of which they converted 6.

One could imagine the mute anger and frustration  [understatement] the FEU team felt when the buzzer sounded.  I saw it in the eyes of Coach Flores, his staff, Mr. Anton Montinola -- in the faces of Romeo, Ramos, Bringas, Garcia, Escoto and the rest of the bench - It was a an ache that would probably linger for some time (until they would get a chance to exact revenge [perhaps] on their 2nd Round encounter with the Blue Eagles).  They had played their guts out, but they felt that they were robbed of a fighting chance, a fair shake, to decide the match.  Not that the Ateneans were just plain lucky, in fact the Eagles had shown great resiliency and have always found ways to outplay their foes, specially when the going gets very tough. (Remember their first match vs the Falcons when they played catch-up basketball [behind by 7] in the end game and somehow managed to prevent Adamson from scoring from that point on, to eventually tie the game and win by 3, by stealing the ball from the Falcons[ADM leading by 2] in the last 24 seconds ?)

I suppose that's how FEU unraveled - The Tams simply lost focus and let the string of technicals [even bad calls, if you may] get to their heads.  They should have hung on and stayed mentally strong.  [Yes, it's easy for me to say, being an armchair blogger].  Other teams might have used their anger to play harder and better  -- Actually, the Tamaraws regained their focus on the game, not the calls and fought back valiantly, albeit in desperation -- but the Eagles just held on.  

At the media room , after the game,  I heard all sorts of comments about the game.  "I saw this, I saw that", "Sinira ng referee yoong laro" yada, yada, yada . . . .  Hindsight, both teams just have to learn from that match to make the proper adjustments for the 2nd Round -- and move on.

As a photographer, I simply have to be more sharp, more mentally and visually alert, be more keen in observing the subplots which go on in a game -- and hopefully be at the right place at the right time when I press my shutter.
Yes, easier said than done. 

Some action shots here plus a few more comments.

  The power if instant replay.  OK, Gentlemen -- all together now   .  .  .

Though I didn't see it, according to some people, Romeo was pressing a dribbling Monfort when Eman's fingers inadvertently poked Romeo's eyes.
"Twas Romeo who was called for a foul [around 6:48 left in the 4th Quarter]. Terrence was so peeved at the call that he pointed a finger at the ref -- 
which netted him a technical.  This started it all.


Emotions ran high at the FEU bench.  They reacted in a manner that the refs considered unacceptable so they called another technical,
this time at the bench.

From the Big Boss, Anton Montinola, all the way down to the assistants, PTs, water boys  -  everybody AND everybody in the FEU side was just stupefied at this spate of technicals.  To make matters even worse, in an ensuing Ateneo offensive sequence, Russel Escoto was called for a flagrant which gave Ateneo a total of three PAIRS of charities plus ball possession after the charities.

FEU tried desperately after that to recover but the Ateneans
simply held on, and even added to their lead.
After the smoke on the battlefield cleared -- the collective frustration, disappointment, the final 20-point blowout -- it was just too tough for some of the Tamaraws to take.  Grizzled veterans like RR Garcia and  Aldrich Ramos  - - experienced players like Romeo and Bringas -- Coach Flores, Ticson, Anton Montinola  -- they were all in a very bad place.  One could see the toll it took on their psyches just by reading their body language,
let alone look into their disgruntled, weary faces.



It's like the nightmare that is Ateneo hasn't gone away  --
at least, that's how Anton Montinola seems to feel in this stolen photo.

FEU courtside reporter Andy Recto shows Tamaraw pride.

Head unbowed -- Rusell Escoto
The Tamaraws will bounce back, I know.  They just have to swallow this loss, learn from it, and move on. The First Round has yet to end.
And we all know Second Round is going to get even tougher.
More surprises -- more drama.

brosi gonzales

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