EAGLES  UNTOUCHED  IN  LOFTY  PERCH

MANILA,  July 26, 2004
 
(STAR)
By Abac Cordero  -  The last time Ateneo got off to a 4-0 start, the Blue Eagles won the title. Half the job looks done this year.

Despite injuries to two key players in the first half, Ateneo went on to beat University of the Philippines in a very physical game last night, 72-63, for its first 4-0 start in the UAAP since 1988, the year the Blue Eagles emerged back-to-back champions.

Rookie coach Sandy Arespacochaga, however, refused to be carried away by history, saying his Blue Eagles will just take it one day at a time, one game at a time and one win at a time.

"We’re not really looking at the records. All we wanted was to beat UP in this game because the last time we went 3-0 (in 2002), UP (then 0-3) beat us on our fourth game," said Arespacochaga.

But last night’s victory may prove costly following injuries to Larry Fonacier and Magnum Membrere. Fonacier hurt his left knee while driving to the basket while Membrere suffered a contusion on his left leg after colliding with UP’s Toti Almeda.

Fonacier was immediately brought to St. Luke’s on a mini-van that was personally driven by team manager Chito Mossessgeld. He was undergoing MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) as of presstime. Membrere stayed on at the Araneta Coliseum with a bandaged left leg.

"We’re all hoping and praying that it’s nothing serious with Larry," said Arespacochaga.

Over the telephone, Mossessgeld told The STAR that Fonacier was not so much in pain at the hospital, even insisting that he finished the game on television before undergoing the tests. He did.

University of the East gladly took its second victory in four games by beating winless National University, 67-51. The loss was the fourth for the Bulldogs who are slowly running out of teams to beat this season.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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