FEU Tamaraws def. Ateneo Blue Eagles 63-60
Hubert Cani, FEU (12 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists)
After a rough start to the season, Cani has come out sizzling these past two games. He still has a penchant for overdribbling, then going for inefficient step backs that drive us crazy in Humblebola, but you cannot deny the sheer talent of the guy. He comes up in the biggest of moments and delivers. Welcome back, Mr. Cani. No longer Hubert Kanin. That was centuries ago. This is the guy that was so highly touted coming out of High School.
Brandrey Bienes (8 points, 2 rebounds) and Axel Iñigo (9 points, 2 steals)
There was a reason Coach Olsen Racela brought these two guys along with him to the postgame interview: they were a big reason for FEU’s victory in the short run and in the long run.
Short run: Bienes did his best Arvin Tolentino impression, hitting some key baskets as FEU made its run versus Ateneo. Iñigo showcased composure and control rookie LJay Gonzales didn’t have yet, and it was especially evident in the clutch.
Long run: FEU’s already ridiculous depth becomes even better because of added confidence given to Bienes and Iñigo. They are legitimately good basketball players.
Jasper Parker, FEU (9 points, 8 rebounds)
He may have ended up with a negative +/-, but Parker was the one that started FEU’s run during the third quarter. His pressure defense on Tyler Tio was a welcome sight, and how he chopped up the defense of Ateneo on the other hand was reminiscent of last year’s Final Four do or die.
Angelo Kouame, Ateneo (16 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 blocks)
Angelo Kouame is a legitimately good basketball player. Prince Orizu’s activity and girth surprised Kouame during the second half, but after getting hit along the ribs, he suddenly woke up. That’s the beauty of using anger to fuel your game positively, you throw out all the analysis and just play damn good basketball. Angry Kouame is a Kouame I don’t want to mess with.
- This was a HELL of a win by the FEU Tamaraws. Coach Olsen Racela has acknowledged saying this too much, but it holds true: defense was the key for them. They couldn’t outscore Ateneo, especially when they didn’t have their best scorer due to a suspension. But how they won was by playing hard nosed defense, staying focused on leaving no open space for the Ateneo offense, and letting the offense take care of itself.
- 27 turnovers is a KILLER stat for ANY basketball team. It’s difficult to believe the Tamaraws won just off this stat alone. But a big reason for their success: transition defense. Ateneo scored *just* 15 points off those 27 turnovers, which isn’t all that bad when you consider the predicament they were in.
- The topic of conversation for many, Ateneo. What the heck happened? In a sentence: it was weird. It’s easy to point fingers at Adrian Wong or Coach Tab, but they were pushed to a situation that was difficult to predict. They didn’t just lose their main creator in Matt Nieto to injury, but they also lost their next best option in Thirdy Ravena to foul trouble. It was an unfortunate situation for the Blue Eagles, but it would be irresponsible to just point the loss to one person.
- With the discussion of creation, Mike Nieto was a surprising source of points for Ateneo during the fourth quarter. The way he does it doesn’t look as pretty as we’d want, but boy, he is damn effective at it. He’s a VERY good second option in an offense. What a delight to watch as a teammate.
- The FEU defense clearly shook Ateneo, to the point that the Blue Eagles’ defense was affected as well. Angelo Kouame woke up late to put things back to order.
- On that note, loss and all, this should be a learning experience for Ateneo. Tab didn’t look downtrodden after the game, and for good reason. They will only become better. Situations like these are good for their growth.
- The FEU Tamaraws are LEGIT. They’re finally awake. FINALLY. We deserve an FEU team that is good. This team is VERY GOOD.