Caught up in circles, confusion is nothing new - Eagle's Nest by ARSamson
Photos courtesy of Philip Sison, Fabilioh.com
There are three reasons given by someone all dressed up in blue and white on why he is leaving the house so early (isn't the game at 4pm?) and why more than half of the paying audience for the second round of the Ateneo-La Salle match at the big dome, recorded at 17,126, arrived at noon for a match, which even then started as usual 36 minutes late: 1) they want to have a long lunch, sip coffee in a leisurely manner, shop for sunglasses, browse at the bookstore, and do the groceries; 2) they are fearful of parking too far and thus want to find a space early; and 3) what will they do at home while waiting to leave for the game being too antsy to read Thackeray's "Vanity Fair" worrying about the traffic getting to the venue? This unscientific premise of why people come early for this particular game is based on observing the huge color-coded crowd wandering all over Gateway as if in a procession but without candles, or sitting at the restaurants with an empty cup of capuccino, and constantly checking their watches, as if the very act of looking edges time forward to the decent hour of 3pm when they can head up for the entrance, find their seats, and then watch in a semi-darkened light the players warming up. This time they look at the scoreboard for the time.
This long introduction on lost time does not relate to Marcel Proust but to Cyndi Lauper. (See, I can write short sentences too.) the eponymous line is from her 1984 hit, "Time after time" which has one of the highest number of cover versions by other singers. The song is, you guessed it Dear Reader, about our favorite game. This is about rallies and pull-aways in games where only one side led the whole time, therefore with no lead changes. A game of runs, not to be confused with diarrhea, where one side first pulls away and then the other side frantically catches up is caught in another line: "you say go slow/ I fall behind / the second hand unwinds". See, there are only forty playing minutes, and they do run out.
The closest that the Archers got after the biggest 16-point deficit in the first quarter was in the third quarter where they came as close as two points, one possession, at 35-33 and then again at 46-44. These close encounters were always followed by a run of the Blue Crew--6-0 after that last one. "I'm walking too far ahead/you're calling to me, I can't hear". Ah, Cyndi Lauper, how could Madonna have left you behind?
The first quarter started hot for the Blue Eagles with 11-2, ending the period with 26-10. In the first half, it was clear that perimeter shooting had been added to the menu of baskets to complement the usual inside play, with Greg now acting as bait and passing out the ball, thus ending up with only 4 points, with just one goal, a put back. In the first half alone, the team made 5 triples and added 3 more in the second half. Was that 8 triples after making 7 in the last game? Is there some disgust over being constantly dubbed by the doubting duo of denigrators (alliteration alert) prior to these last two games as the seventh of eight teams in rainbow shooting? 4 of the triples were made by the man on fire with the determined eyes of a serial killer, as if anything green set off his rage.
This was clearly Ryan's revenge maybe for his ejection from the court in the last bruising game or being out for one season. He has started now for Coach Norman in two games. Ryan's 24 points and 8 rebounds were spread throughout the game, as if he would take out his portfolio of moves when the Greenies started to entertain flickering hopes of catching up...even, you know, notching the "W" word. There were four triples, perfect foul shooting, put backs, rebounds, dishes to team mates, and defensive chores. He was putting out fires and igniting them. So, Ryanites, unite, we're all in the same team after all. There are no villains in blue.
Still, it was a group effort with Ravena too (18 points) playing his usual zone busting penetration, making short jumpers, and a triple too. Salva made one as well, looking pleasantly surprised (was I outside the line?) as he struggled with only 5 points up to the start of the fourth and ending with a nice cluster of shots and impeccable foul shooting for 12 points at the end. This was a nice clean game with only basketball being played, and the Green Archers turned on the juice to try to climb out of the 16-point hole. Okay, enough. This is an Ateneo site and this man-for-others thing does not extend to basketball. But the flurry of points from both sides coming in waves and exciting both sides of the coliseum made for a nice ending when the school songs were being sung to the applause of the other side. No boos this time, and folks that wasn't nice the last time. It was too soft--did I just say that?
At 9-1 win-loss, the Blue Eagles have improved their chances for twice-to-beat in the F4. The fourth place now includes at least two teams with 4 losses. With just 4 games left, the probabilities favor the solo lead position.
The contest between the Blue and the Green is always billed as a rivalry, if not "the" rivalry. And the record attendance of over 17,000 this time demonstrated that the contest was seen to be evenly matched, or at least had the possibility of either side winning. When the talents are perceived to be lopsided, the dominance of only one side can bring down the gate. Does this presume that only the prospect of winning brings out fans to the live event? Well, all I can say is that even if it's true that win or lose, it's the school we choose some who weigh the prospects of either outcome would sometimes opt to watch on TV. There are those of course who watch live and then rush through dinner at home for the replay--hey, didn't you just come from the game? Yes, but it was just a blur. And I didn't see the close-ups. Why were the men in blue smiling the whole time? They seemed to be really having fun. As Cyndi Lauper would put it for all of us... "oh girls just want to have fun".
7:45 AM 2 September 2012