ATENEO stakes its crown Wednesday when it battles dangerous Adamson University, needing a win to sneak into the Final Four of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Men’s basketball championship.
The 2 p.m. clash at the MOA Arena in Pasay City was forged when the Adamson Soaring Falcons grabbed a stunning win from the grave on Sunday.
Adamson’s live-for-another-day win came in the form of an improbable triple from Matthew Montebon in the dying seconds of its game against University of the East (UE).
So surreal was Montebon’s off-balanced shot from deep left that when the ball swished the net, it triggered a crowd roar heard as far as the Pasay City Hall.
Shocked beyond belief, the UE Red Warriors froze, failing to convert in their feeble counter-attack in the last 2.6 seconds as Adamson carted away a 63-61 victory.
Still, I give credit to UE, which played its hearts out despite already being out of the running for a Final Four slot even before the first jump ball was contested.
That’s what you call playing your guts out up to the last ounce of your strength, even as only prestige was at stake. Pride is such a prime commodity in sports.
That’s what also makes the UAAP a beacon of sportsmanship, a true test of character and dignity.
Hooray to UE!
But back to the Ateneo-Adamson knockout today.
For sure, Adamson will play with maximum momentum on its side as its thriller of a win over UE could spur victorious sparks in the Falcons’ mission.
You don’t waste that gift of a miracle by not playing with all your strength, with all your heart, with all your mind.
As for Ateneo, it must forget that bitter 82-79 weekend loss to arch-rival De La Salle. As has been repeatedly said, never dwell on the past.
Move on. There is still a mountain to scale for Ateneo should it succeed to overcome a foe as pesky as Adamson.
And that’s none other than the University of the Philippines (UP), which nabbed the No. 1 spot to earn a twice-to-beat bonus against today’s winner of the Adamson-Ateneo playoff.
The other half of the semifinals pits No. 2 De La Salle against No. 3 National University (NU) Bulldogs at the Smart Araneta Coliseum beginning Saturday, November 25.
Like UP, De La Salle also enjoys a twice-to-beat advantage against No. 3 NU.
But which between Ateneo and Adamson will UP face in the Final Four?
If luck—like lightning—should strike twice, Adamson could be it.
THAT’S IT The referees in the recent Magnolia-Ginebra Phiilippine Basketball Association game were suspended for committing a non-call on a foul against a Gin King. Just right. This marked the second time that league officials censured erring referees. That deserves applause as disciplinary actions against refs will surely strengthen the fans’ belief in the unadulterated integrity of our games. Take a bow, Commissioner Willie Marcial.