Sometimes in sports there appear such things as the so-called “invincible” player or sports team. They are the ones who manage to breeze through either season or even career without ever seeing defeat. Floyd Mayweather Jr. was one, and there have been several times in different leagues where a team just seems to hit the sweet spot for an entire season’s worth of games. The latter scenario has lately played out at the closing of the 82nd season of UAAP basketball. The Ateneo Blue Eagles has long been one of the powerhouse squads in that collegiate league. But for this season long, they made themselves into the UAAP’s glass ceiling.
And, as CNN Philippines tells it, during the UAAP Men’s Basketball Finals game 2 this Wednesday, November 20 at the SM MOA Arena, the Ateneo Blue Eagles humbled the UST Growling Tigers a second time to win the men’s championship for season 82. With their 86-79 victory over the University of Santo Tomas team, Ateneo would finish the season having won all 16 games they played: a clean sweep of the men’s basketball tournament. Only six other seasons in UAAP history have seen a team triumph in all their games including the finals; and the last time it happened was in 1993 with UST’s 14-0.
Finals victory for the Blue Eagles in season 82 could be partly attributed to the powerful Ravena basketball bloodline. Guard Ferdinand “Thirdy” Ravena did his brother Kiefer and father Bong proud as he put 17 points into the Ateneo squad’s score and pulled off 7 rebounds as a bonus. He was followed by 15 points from PG Samjosef Belangel, the result of his 50% shooting percentage for Game 2. He also made sure the Growling Tigers’ final-quarter rally, which shaved the Eagle lead to a single point, never got anywhere.
In addition to their season 82 clean sweep, the Ateneo Blue Eagles also have the ongoing honor of winning three consecutive UAAP men’s basketball titles, starting from 2017. This “three-peat” in itself is also a repeat on Ateneo’s part, making them the only team to win thrice consecutively at two different points in the “Final Four” tournament timeline, which the UAAP adopted in 1994. League-wise, the Blue Eagles are now the proud claimants of 11 men’s seniors basketball titles total. And thus they cement their season 82 reputation as that invincible team that other squads compete to finish second of.
Image courtesy of ABS-CBN News