By: Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
“And the Blue Eagles, have won their third straight championship while sweeping the season with a perfect 16-0 record!”
History! The Ateneo Blue Eagles are once again champions of the UAAP Men’s Basketball and this time everything seemed perfect. Ateneo not only won their third consecutive title, they did it in historic fashion by sweeping the competition to boast an unblemished record in season 82 of the UAAP.
With an 86-79 victory against the young and emerging UST Growling Tigers, the Blue Eagles are the only team in UAAP history to win a title while being undefeated.
Thirdy Ravena also stamped his name in the UAAP history books as the only player to win three straight Finals MVP award with a three-peat, and an undefeated season.
Despite the adjustments UST coach Aldin Ayo made to keep the match interesting in game 2, the Blue Eagles kept on finding ways to score.
UST even got close, cutting down the lead to only 1-point in the 7:34 mark of the final canto after coach Ayo added more running in their gameplan and ordered his boys to attack and challenge Ange Kouame that paid off.
But the man of the night was SJ Belangel, coming up huge with 14 points and knocking down threes to nip every UST run.
Ateneo’s hunger became evident in the clutch minutes after a Ravena monster rebound that put the Ateneo community on their feet, admiring Ravena’s hustle and desire to win.
After the win, Ateneo stars rushed to UST’s promising core and kept on telling them not to be discouraged and continue to work hard in their quest for a championship.
One of the most touching scenes was when Matt Nieto of Ateneo rushed to a crying Mark Nonoy and said that Nonoy still has a long way to go, just keep on working hard and practice then his time will come.