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Sep 27, 2012
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After 2,315 minutes, 57 games, 10 game-winners, seven overtimes, two protests, and one spitting incident, the UAAP men’s basketball elimination round finally came to a cardiac-arresting close. Season 75 should be up there in the list of most memorable UAAP years in recent memory, with the bulk of the matches ending in nail-biting finishes. Not to mention, the several physical altercations we all witnessed. Ooh fights, yeah! Even the lower tier teams were entertaining as hell. It was competitive to say the least.

That, however, was only the calm before the storm—or if you’re hungry at the moment, the top layer of a hot cheesy lasagna. Now, the real acid test begins: the Final Four. Only four schools remain (duh!) in the hunt for the right to hoist the much-coveted trophy and, more importantly, for the right to be awkward guests in noontime shows.

Since we don’t like leaving you like a high-five hanging in the air, we have meticulously drafted this incredibly awesome UAAP Final Four Primer. It’s the Jun Limpot (only three-time MVP in UAAP history) of all F4 previews! Or also equally possible, the Joseph Lingao-Lingao (NU Bulldogs represent!) of all F4 previews. It’s up to you.



ATENEO BLUE EAGLE (1) vs. LA SALLE GREEN ARCHERS (4) 
Records:
Ateneo – 12-2 (4th top seed finish in five seasons)
La Salle – 9-5 (Entered via playoff win vs. FEU)

Eliminations head-to-head:
July 28 – 71-61, Ateneo
Sept. 1 – 77-67, Ateneo

ATENEO will bitch-slap La Salle because: The Blue Eagles are the most potent collegiate squad in the land. Head coach Norman Black has molded his wards into a disciplined, unselfish, and intelligent bunch. Ateneo tops the league in offense with 74.4 PPG on an impressive 44.3% field goal shooting. The three-headed blue monster of Greg Slaughter, Kiefer Ravena, and Nico Salva will be too much for the Green Archers, much like in their elimination round encounters, where the trio combined for 43.0 PPG and 19.5 RPG—more than half of the entire team’s production. Plus, there’s the cunning Ryan Buenafe, who has a knack for stepping up in big games despite leading the league in highest body mass index. Off-tangent: Could someone please, for the love of Baby Jesus, get Patty Laurel out of courtside reporting retirement?

The Loyola United is hipster: Slaughter loves music. You’ll usually see him with his headphones on before every game. But you won’t find Alter Bridge or other corny mainstream shit in his playlist. The big fella likes under-the-radar stuff like The Flaming Lips and Death Cab for Cutie. He’s into ’90s music too, even jamming along with Jeric Teng to Alanis Morissette on Twitter.



Awesome Ateneo Youtube clips:
Welcome to Flight Phenom. Seat No: 15. Status: Ready for take-off. Altitude: Up, up, and away.  Passenger: Karim Abdul. Destination: Republic of Insane Throwdowns. We’ve featured this one before, so what? If you don’t like watching this sick slamma jamma over and over again, you are nuts.

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Unlike in the PBA, we don’t usually see locker room championship celebrations in the UAAP. That’s why this video of Ateneo’s merriment after annexing its fourth straight title last season is well, full of win. Plus, Mr. 100% (aka Norman Black) scared about getting wet! Drinking beer, too! Will the Men in Blue celebrate this year?




LA SALLE will bitch-slap Ateneo because: The Green Archers are unforgiving on the defensive end, a striking contrast to the Blue Eagles’ fluid offense. The boys from Taft only allow 64.6 PPG on 34.2% shooting clip from the field, both tops in the league. They may not rack up the steals and swats, but they sure know how to play excellent team D. Rookie of the Year Jeron Teng has proven during the elimination round that he’s not intimidated by their nemesis. Now that they’re facing off anew, this time in a grander stage, expect him to bring it to the defending champs. La Salle will also use its tall frontline to offset the seven-foot Slaughter. Arnold Van Opstal, Norbert Torres, Yutien Andrada, or even Papot Paredes will contain him in the paint. If they still can’t, they can always get that pot-bellied official who whacked Arwind Santos in the head in 2005.

The Taft Nation is funny: Internet memes are this generation’s chain e-mails. Everyone’s doing them and, of course, La Salle fans won’t be left out. The subject of their meme machine is Teng, who has a hilarious Chowking series with his big brother Jeric and the “Kalma lang” bit. We say, keep ‘em coming!



 
Awesome La Salle Youtube clips:
Okay, this might not be exactly what y’all like to watch: Teng and fellow rookie Thomas Torres, along with Team B guys, dancing while dressed in drag during their pre-season pep rally. But yeah, whatever. You can always make fun of host Joshua Webb and his coño slang, anyway. Move over, Ariel Ureta!



The UAAP has produced countless stars in RP hoops, and now, as seen in this spectacular Nike commercial, La Salle’s Van Opstal, Norbert Torres, and L.A. Revilla are hell-bent on following suit. The production value of this one is, for the lack of a better word, wow. That’s not counting AVO’s deep voice.




Our fearless prediction (which we won’t really go to the bookies with): Ateneo will defeat La Salle in one game. The Blue Eagles are just too good and too proud to be upset by a fourth seed. It has never happened before and it won’t happen to them. Fifth straight Finals stint, here they come.

NEXT: UST Growling Tigers vs. NU Bulldogs


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WORDS BY PAOLO S. MARIANO
PHOTOS COURTESY OF WWW.INBOUNDPASS.COM AND ARVIN LIM
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