Two perfect seasons and an unlikely championship that was marked in college basketball in 2019 with the Ateneo Blue Eagles and National .
U Lady Bulldogs end the UAAP season and the Letran Knights overcome the chances of winning the NCAA title.
Each championship run had its own unique plot, but Ateneo, NU and Letran
Everyone shared the same relentless and relentless urge to reach the top.
The Blue Eagles started chasing the "biggest team" earlier in the season – and did well with an efficient, yet unscrupulous, display that was crowned by a hard-fought victory against the University of Santo Tomas in the final ,
The Lady Bulldogs had the weight of a perfect record for the past five years – and were delivered as promised. The season ended with NU extending his run to 96 wins – a winning streak never seen before in college basketball.
"We are simply satisfied with everything: six tiles in six years without losses," said NU coach Pat Aquino, who also led the women's national team to a first gold medal at the Southeast Asian Games later that year.
The burden of expectation was not that high for the knights in the NCAA. It belonged to the San Beda Red Lions, who won the last three titles.
But when the Knights reached the finale after the breathtaking second seed Lyceum, Letran had already turned into an impressive and wild entity that showed no fear of the three-time reigning master. A group of players who wanted to prove that they were worth a second chance took the clubs off Letran.
Jerrick Balanza, who underwent a brain tumor surgery operation a year ago, returned to take the Knights to power in the biggest games, while Bonbon Batiller and Fran Yu, outcasts from their previous schools, were heroic Achievements came to the fore in Letran's 18th title and second in five seasons.
"People doubted we could win game 3, but as the captain of this team we motivated ourselves to win," said Balanza, who scored 27 points in the 81-79 win in the series decision at the Mall of Asia Arena November 19
"Defeating San Beda was difficult, but nothing is impossible," said Letrans coach Bonnie Tan, who had friends Alfrancis Chua, Pido Jarencio and Jeff Napa as part of his brain trust during the season. "We only believed in ourselves that we could do it."
There was also no lack of faith and trust in the Blue Eagle camp when they finished the elimination round in 14 games. While Ateneo has consistently won, the University of the Philippines, with their narrow wins, provided the drama for most of the season. For a team full of talents, the Fighting Maroons tried to conquer the No. 2 seed. This season, however, the Growling Tigers appeared, driven by Soulemane Chabi Yo, the most valuable player, and newcomers Mark Nonoy and Rhenz Abando. The Growling Tigers also had a magical run defeating the Maroons in the Final Four, but they encountered an Ateneo team that barely missed a blow even after a 16-day break in the finals.
Thirdy Ravena has brought his game to a new level in the final two seasons. This was no different in the championship round, since the Ateneo star dominated the series for the MVP final round.
"The best feeling is winning for each other," said Ravena after an average of 24.5 points and six rebounds when the Eagles finished the sweep in an 86-79 game.
“This is for the entire team. This 16: 0 showed that our strength is not with one person. We want to play for each other. The system works because we don't want to do it for ourselves, but for each other. "
Ateneo's trainer Tab Baldwin downplayed the idea of a perfect season for the entire campaign, but couldn't help but rave about how the Eagles ended an incredible run.
"It's really something we dreamed of, but we hardly talked about it," said Baldwin.
"It's really a dream season. You have to beware of arrogance. You have to beware of exaggerating the pretty extraordinary because it's still a basketball game. But these players are more than just basketball players. They are extraordinary young Men. They sacrifice their egos. Sacrifice their time. What they haven't sacrificed is their love of the game. "
The finale was a testament to the attitude, serenity and aggressiveness of the Eagles. It was indeed a demonstration of power.
"We promised to do everything we could to win," said Captain Mike Nieto. "We have only given an example of how we can become better versions of ourselves every day."
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