UAAP: FLIGHTLESS EAGLES GONE TO THE DOGS

MANILA, August 29, 2003
(STAR) By Joey Villar - Ateneo failed to flex its dreaded offensive muscle and found its eight-game win run snap by a National U squad which pounced on the Eaglesí uninspired game for a 76-62 victory in the UAAP menís basketball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum yesterday.

University of the Philippines capped the day of the underdogs, rather ousted teams, by pulling off an equally-surprising 80-70 win over La Salle in the other varsity game.

Marvin Cruzís triple at the buzzer way past the halfcourt underscored the decisive win, UPís second against eight losses, while inflicting the Archersí their fourth defeat against six wins.

"Itís a case of wanting a win and not playing," said Ateneo coach Joel Banal.

It was a horrible game for the reigning titlists who were held to just a basket in the third quarter by the Bulldogsí pressure defense.

The Eagles took their third loss in 11 outings, enabling the idle Far Eastern Tamaraws to seize the lead with an 8-2 card.

Ateneoís top scorer Larry Fonacier, who normed 13.8 points a game, sat out the game due to a fractured nose bridge he sustained in team practice last Tuesday.

"Somehow we got out of sync without him because he plays 30 minutes for us every game," said Banal of his talented player, who was operated on by sports medicine expert Dr. Raul Canlas last Wednesday at St. Lukeís Hospital.

Bryan Tolentino and Rey Mendoza led the NU charge with 24 and 19 points, respectively, but it was skipper Froilan Baguion who provided the spark that kept the Bulldogs together.

Baguion scattered 14 markers on top of 12 rebounds, five assists and two steals.

Rico Perez, NUís second year coach, said he wasnít surprise, saying it was their solid team game that pulled them through.

"We simply played how we used to play, " Perez said.

The victory over the Eagles was NUís first in five years since former mentor Sonny Paguia steered the Bulldogs to a 72-69 win over the Eagles on Aug. 16, 1998.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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