• Week 8 Roundup: Scene-stealers


    NU 8-3
    FEU 8-4
    DLSU 7-4
    Ateneo 6-5
    UST 6-5
    UE 5-5
    Adamson 4-8
    UP 0-10

    The race to the Final Four is hotter than ever. This week, however, off-court issues have gotten a fare share of the limelight just as the games remain suspenseful. PinoyExchange.com rounds up the controversies and events that have shaped up the past week.

    5. Commish strikes again, suspends three players

    League Commissioner Chito Loyzaga means business.

    If the suspensions in the first round have not been enough to illustrate that, then the bans he handed out on four players this week alone will do the job.

    Two players from University of the East Red Warriors received the brunt of the punishment as import Charles Mammie and shooter Ralf Olivares each got two-game suspensions, while forward Lord Casajeros was slapped with a one-game ban.

    Both Mammie and Casajeros were meted with the suspension after UE’s double overtime loss against the FEU Tamaraws’ last week. Mammie had been suspended in the first round for an altercation with Adamson Falcon Roider Cabrera.

    Olivares, on the other hand, was slapped with the penalty for the fouls he committed during UE’s tussle against the NU Bulldogs last Saturday.

    Meanwhile, DLSU Green Archers point guard Thomas Torres also received a one-game suspension for an unsportsmanlike foul on UP Maroon Tata Marata—his second this season.

    4. Tigers keep Final Four hopes alive

    Slumping University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers have arrested their three-game losing skid by winning two crucial matches this week.

    UST atoned for an anemic first half to beat the erstwhile league-leading Far Eastern University Tamaraws after two pulsating overtime periods, 79-78.

    “Players ‘yun, sila talaga ‘yun,” Coach Pido Jarencio said. “Not giving up, ‘yung effort, ‘yung desire, ‘yung puso nandu’n. ‘Yun ang hinahanap ko.”

    Karim Abdul converted on a three-point play and blocked the desperation jumper of Mac Belo to secure the win for the Tigers, who are now tied in fourth place with Ateneo.

    Aljon Mariano and birthday celebrator Tata Bautista bailed the Tigers in the regulation and first overtime as they both made a trifecta that tied the game.

    Abdul, Mariano, and Kevin Ferrer all had double-doubles for the Growling Tigers as they finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds, 21 points and 11 rebounds, and 15 points and 13 rebounds, respectively.

    In a scene-stealing moment, a UST fan proposed marriage to his girlfriend between the third and fourth quarters.

    Earlier this week, the Growling Tigers outlasted Adamson, 80-67.

    In that game, Abdul registered 19 markers and 12 rebounds, while Ed Daquioag and Mariado each had 17 and 16.

    “Big boost ito para sa team namin at sa standing namin,” Jarencio beamed. “Hindi pa kami out, andito pa kami.”

    3. Teng lifts Green Archers past Blue Eagles

    Both the defending champions Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles and the De La Salle University Green Archers came into the game with winning streaks. Something had to give.

    At the end of the game, the Green Archers have swept the Blue Eagles, 66-64, to keep their streak intact while breaking their rivals’ own run.

    Jeron Teng hit a jumper with 1.9 seconds left in the game to seal the victory for DLSU, and handed the team a hold of the third spot in the standings.

    “With the standings of all the other teams, it’s a close fight,” DLSU Coach Juno Sauler said. “Especially going into the last three-four games, every game is important.”

    Almond Vosotros paced the Green Archers with his 19 markers, while Jason Perkins added 13 markers and 15 rebounds. LA Revilla had 11 makes, while Teng finished with eight.

    Juami Tiongson and Nico Elorde paced the Eagles with their 14 and 13 points, respectively. Kiefer Ravena, who missed their first round encounter with DLSU, contributed 12 points, but also committed five of Ateneo’s nine turnovers.

    In a scene-stealing moment, Ateneo Coach Bo Perasol had a heated exchange with an alleged DLSU fan as the teams made their way to the dugout after the game. Perasol had to be restrained by team personnel and Araneta Coliseum bouncers during the incident.

    2. Tams relinquish lead to Bulldogs

    After seven weeks of pacing the competition, the Far Eastern University Tamaraws have been dislodged from their perch with a spate of sorry losses and with the string of victories that the National University Bulldogs have amassed.

    A listless FEU squad suffered a major beating from Ateneo last Wednesday, 92-73. The Blue Eagles’ choking defense limited the Tams’ shooters to just 34.6% accuracy. In contrast, the defending champs went 46.5%.

    Terrence Romeo finished with 19 markers in that game, but was made to bleed for every point as he converted only seven of his 24 shots.

    The Bulldogs then went to work as they disposed of an undermanned and emotional UE Red Warriors squad last Saturday, 81-73.

    Taking advantage of Mammie’s absence, NU import Sean Mbe dominated in the post with 18 markers and 11 rebounds. Reigning MVP Ray-Ray Parks was equally outstanding with his 18-10 production. Robin Roño finished with 12 markers.

    Roi Sumang ended with 10 points, but shot a miserable three-of-15 in the field. JM Noble carried the cudgels for the warriors as he registered his season-high 16 points.

    Then came FEU’s loss to UST yesterday, which relegated the Tams to half-a-game behind the Bulldogs.

    The Morayta-based squad has lost four of its last five games. Despite this, both Coach Nash Racela and Romeo feel that there is no need yet to press the panic button.

    “I don’t want to put pressure on the players,” Racela said. “A lot of people have been pressuring them already, and that’s when they struggle.”

    “Hawak pa naman namin destiny namin,” Romeo added. “Wala kaming dapat ika-worry. Focus lang kami.”

    1. Leo Austria mulls quitting Adamson coaching job after season

    After his team snapped a six-game losing streak with a 67-53 thumping of the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons, Adamson University Falcons mentor Leo Austria revealed that he does not plan to coach the team again next year.

    “I think this will be my last season with Adamson because I want them to have a change,” Austria said. “Naiinip na sila for the championship. They are starting to doubt my ability.”

    Austria said that the Adamson management had offered to extend his contract at the start of the season. But things have gotten from warm to lukewarm and then to cold when the Falcons have lost six straight games dating back from their last game in the first round.

    “After we were losing, everything had changed especially with the community,” Austria said. “They started to doubt my ability. I told them I will not insist myself if I feel that I am not popular with them or if they doubt my ability.”

    Easily one of the most brilliant tacticians in the collegiate scene, Austria said he declined offers to coach a PBA team because of his commitment to the Falcons.

    “Before, ang daming offers from other teams, but I stuck with Adamson because I believed I can do something and that they might like it,” Austria said. “Adamson regained the respect of other teams. Even if we were losing, I am sure they (opponents) were preparing hard for our team.”

    Austria clarified that his decision is not yet final. He, however, maintained that he plans to rest once his contract expires on October 31.

    Austria’s present and former wards in Adamson took to Twitter to express their sadness and frustration with Austria’s plan to step down.

    “Big s/o (shoutout) to Coach Leo. He's been there for me since day one. I'm with you, coach, till the end!,” Jericho Cruz tweeted.

    Former star Alex Nuyles even enumerated the sacrifices Austria and the players had to make for the team.

    “All I remember from Coach Leo is his heart (to teach) us no matter (what) the (situation) is. (He) sacrifices a lot just for the sake of the team,” Nuyles tweeted.

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