The first hardware for UAAP Season 79 was given out last weekend. And the season hosts, the University of Santo Tomas, were able to gain a huge edge in their campaign to bring the UAAP General Championship back to España Boulevard as they swept the Beach Volleyball competition.
Over at the historic Rizal Memorial Stadium, one of the longest winning streaks came to a halt, while two of the pound-for-pound most dominant teams in the league continue their quest to perfection.
Here are the top five storylines for the week of October 3 to 9, 2016 in the 79th season of the UAAP
Beach Volleyball: UST returns to the top of collegiate volleyball
October 9, 2016 – Sands SM by the Bay, Pasay City
It was the classic tale of redemption that ended in the sweetest of victories.
The proud UST volleyball program have started their campaign to retake their throne with a dominant sweep in both the Men’s and Women’s tournament of the beach volleyball competition.
In the men’s division, the uncle-nephew tandem of Kris Roy Guzman and Anthony Arbasto finally took home gold after four straight years of groomsmen finishes. The Tiger Spikers defeated the Far Eastern University Tamaraw Spikers in both games of the finals series.
“Sobrang saya ko kasi sobrang hirap maka-experience ng talo. Tatlong taon din kaming natatalo sa Finals,” MVP Kris Roy Guzman said.
Cherry Rondina and new partner Jem Gutierrez also reclaimed the sand tiara in commanding fashion. After failing to bring home gold a season ago, Rondina was a woman on a mission.
In the finals, the FEU Lady Tamaraws duo of Kyla Atienza and Bernadeth Pons – a team that have gone through the entire semi-pro beach volleyball circuit – proved to be no match for the sheer grit of the Tigresses, as they fell in two games in the Finals series.
“Talaga pong gusto ko bumawi after ng nangyari last year,” tournament MVP Rondina said.
The golden finishes give UST the full 30 points in the GC race. FEU lag behind with 24 points, while the University of the Philippines are currently in third with 16 points.
Women’s Badminton: The Lady Eagles stop the Lady Maroons’ 25 tie winning streak
October 9, 2016 – Rizal Memorial Badminton Hall, Manila City
Prior to the 77th season of the UAAP, the Ateneo Lady Eagles, led by Bianca Carlos and Trixie Malibiran, dominated the taraflex of the Rizal Memorial Badminton Hall. The Lady Maroons tough loaded its roster and were able to topple their neighbors two seasons ago. The lady shuttlers from Diliman went on to win two championships and 25 straight ties entering Game One of the finals, Sunday afternoon.
Bianca Carlos, as per the norm in the last five years, continued her five-year unbeaten streak in single’s play to give Ateneo a 1-0 edge in the best-of-five match.
The turning point of the tie, however, came in the second single’s match-up when sophomore Samantha Ramos faced Gelita Castillo, the shuttler who led the Ateneo de Manila University to the UAAP Season 75 championship. Ramos scored a huge two-set upset over Castillo, 21-19, 21-16.
The UP pairs of Season 77 MVP Jessie Francisco and Poca Alcala, and Castillo and Season 78 Rookie of the Year Lea Inlayo, were able to send the tie into a do-or-die game that pitted Malibiran against Season 78 MVP Bea Bernardo.
Sidelined during the UAAP 78’s title series, the fourth-year Ateneo senior showed her determination and upended Bernardo in two games, 21-17, 21-9. Malibiran’s and Ramos’ inspirational performance helped shake off the ghost of season’s past and, more importantly, gave Ateneo the edge in the finals series.
“[I am] super happy, but of course, we’re still focusing pa because there’s one more game before we say that ‘We have done it,” Ateneo head coach Kennie Asuncion said. “Sa mga games na di naming nakuha, we’ll work on it.”
Men’s Basketball: Adamson gives La Salle a scare
October 9, 2016 – SM Mall of Asia Arena, Pasay City
A 27-point explosion by Adamson University rookie Jerrick Ahanmisi was not enough to derail De La Salle University’s run to perfection.
The now 8-0 Green Archers were tested in their second round opener on Sunday evening. A beautifully executed elevator play that led to a Kib Montalbo triple gave the league-leaders an 84-80 cushion with 46 seconds. Rookie mistakes by the young Falcons in the end game sealed La Salle’s eighth straight win.
“Yung mga ganung klaseng laro, yun ang gusto namin ipasok yung pagiging spontaneous ng mga bata. We allow them to play basketball, make decisions, and go with the flow,” said head coach Aldin Ayo. “Pag ganung situwasyon, pag sinubukan pa namin mag-control baka mawala ang laro ng mga bata.”
On a side note, the Green Archers are expected to have King Archer Jeron Teng back on Saturday, October 15, when they face the UP Fighting Maroons.
Men’s Basketball: UP finally defeats Ateneo
October 8, 2016 – SM Mall of Asia Arena, Pasay City
It took 2,631 days and 14 UAAP games, but the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons have finally defeated their neighbors, their Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles, 56-52.
“We gathered as a team yesterday,” UP skipper Jett Manuel shared. “We all needed someone to step up or everybody has to step up for us to win.”
Gelo Vito heeded his captain’s call as he nailed a corner three that extended the Fighting Maroons’ lead to four with 16 ticks remaining.
“The game is on the line, kailangan may mag-step up. Good thing ipinasa sa akin ni Jett,” Vito, who finished the game with seven points and five rebounds, said.
“Tiwala, pare,” Manuel quipped.
The win may not have catapulted the Fighting Maroons to the top four in the standings, but it’s these small victories the squad needs to change the “losing” culture of the team.
The last time UP bested Ateneo in the men’s basketball division happened July 26, 2009, with a score of 68-58. Former Fighting Maroons Mark Lopez and Woody Co scored 15 points each in the game.
Women’s Basketball: Almost a rare quadruple-double for NU’s Bernardino
October 8, 2016 – SM Mall of Asia Arena, Pasay City
History was almost made Saturday morning when NU Lady Bulldogs ace Afril Bernardino almost tallied a rare quadruple-double.
During National U’s 54-point lambasting of the UST Growling Tigresses, the fifth-year senior was able to dish out her 10th assist with 1:08 left in the game to go along with 22 points and 11 steals. Having already logged in 35 minutes, she was subbed out afterwards, ending the game with seven rebounds.
“Siguro siya yung pinakamagaling ngayon sa college,” Lady Bulldogs mentor Patrick Aquino said about his star. “But again, I’m telling her na without her teammates, you could not do this.”
The only quadruple-double ever recorded in Philippine basketball happened on August 14, 1999, when Felix Belano of the Nueva Ecija Patriots posted a statline of 17 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists, and 10 steals in an MBA-sanctioned game.
The win against UST gave NU their seventh straight win in the tournament, their 39th straight overall.