Posted by: sportsandbeans | July 9, 2007

Who is the King Eagle?

by Milo 

It wasn’t pretty, but the Ateneo Blue Eagles managed to eek out a win against the very formidable Adamson Soaring Falcons last Sunday, July 8, 2007 with the score of 69-63. 

The way it looked, the Eagles are still hurting after the departure of frontman JC Intal, clutch point guard Macky Escalona and big man Doug Kramer as well.  They looked lost at the very start of the game when they quickly found themselves down a pit, 11-0.  The starters couldn’t buy a single basket as they were forced down a corner, throwing up desperation shot after desperation shot.

Suddenly, after having the Tenorios, the Fonaciers, the Villanuevas and the like for the past years, real heroes in their own time for the Ateneans, the Eagles had no leader on the floor that will lead the cavalry charge for this year.  There was no one they could turn the tides in their favor.

The truth struck hard, and struck good as Ateneo’s coach Norman Black scrambled to call a timeout to break the Falcons’ momentum. 

There was no King Eagle. 

As seen in game one, there wasn’t someone who was hungry enough to take the throne vacated by JC Intal, someone like Macky Escalona who has passion and intensity written all over his face that translated into exceptional ball handling and clutch scoring.

As seen in game 1, the men from Katipunan are looking for their floor captain.  However, unlike JC Intal who was touted as the next King Eagle, and eventually lived up to those expectations, this year’s crop may have a difficult time finding that gem of a player.  Yes, a team may live and survive without a floor leader through exceptional teamwork (which they still need to work on a lot).  However, when it comes to a clutch situation or a situation where the team needs a spark to ignite a run, they may scramble and crumble just like what occurred for most of the first quarter.

Let’s look at Chris Tiu, the Blue Eagle who is touted to lead the Ateneans this season.

Talent-wise, the King Eagle title will fall on the young shoulders of one Chris Tiu.  This sweet shooting Xavier graduate proved last season that he was a force to be reckoned with, especially when it comes to his outside shot.  He is very capable of making his own shot, even staying steady in the clutch.  I remember that Norman Black handpicked this guy to lead the Ateneo Blue Eagle team this Season 70 in an interview.

But that’s the problem.  Everyone in the league knows his talent and ability.  With the Ateneo team mostly unchanged this season, the other teams in the UAAP practically know the skill sets of each Atenean player through experience.  I’m not saying that they cannot improve anymore, but rather, the opponents have studied game tape, and have personally tried and tested the abilities of the Atenean roster.  Unfortunately for Ateneo, aside from Chris Tiu, I cannot think of any name in the roster that can strike fear in the hearts of his opponents yet based on the last UAAP season. 

In this light, as seen in game 1, the Soaring Falcons isolated Chris Tiu as the “superstar” and sent out hordes of double teams whenever he had the ball, forcing him to pass to his nearest teammate.  Once he did that, the play broke down and the Blue Eagles seemed unsure what to do next.  They made life difficult for him, resulting in a terrible performance from the supposed heir to that King Eagle title.  1-11 field goal percentage, 3 errors, and 9 points.

At least, Norman Black managed to adjust his game strategy in order to contain the Soaring Falcons.  Plus, a surprise performance from Ford Arao did wonders for Ateneo’s game one win.  The confusion on the face of the help defense was priceless as he was clearly battling whether to double team Arao or not.  After all, Arao was never known to be a spectacular player in the post.

But I digress.

Now here comes Tiu’s challenge that he needs to step up and answer right away.  Is he really that good as seen in his previous seasons in the UAAP, or is his ability only influenced by the top quality players surrounding him before?  If there are no more Tenorios, Intals and the Kramers that will draw double teams and leave Chris Tiu all alone to take the open shot, will he still be that good and effective?  This is the first time that he will experience being one, if not, the best player in the roster.

Yes, he has the skills, but it’s time to see if he is ready and mature enough to take these talents to the next level.

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Responses

  1. chris definitely can stand alone,with his skills and wills,surely they could be on top! proving that,,giving the green archers double-dose!! tiu is a rare but prized catch of the blue eagles,and yes he is their KING EAGLE!! *preTIUs*

  2. hi there

    imalasallian but ive been an ateneo fan since youve started playing

    cutie guy ka kasi atgaling pamaglaro

    gudluk and hop we can be frends

    heheheh

    hop ul win the championships this year

    god bless

    mwaaaaaaaahhhhh…………

  3. Chris deserves that title. :))
    He’s the KING EAGLE!!
    Magaling clang lhat but for me, c chris ung ngsstand out. :))


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