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10 things you missed in the classic Ateneo-La Salle Game 3 Finals

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Ateneo beat De La Salle, 88-86, as it won its first championship since Nico Salva held the last of his five trophies five years ago.

We’re still rocking from one of the best Finals game and series we’ve ever seen but our team at Fastbreak is dedicated to bring you a list of the all the things you may have missed from the clash at Araneta Coliseum.

1) No matter how good De La Salle are, they don’t have a big shot player, Isaac Go, in their pocket. Go made 3 of 5 attempts in the game and is1 of 1 from the three-point line, the shot that nailed the Archers’ coffin – 85-80 with only 24 seconds left for De La Salle to recover.

2) Chiz Ikeh was a factor because he wasn’t in foul trouble. Ikeh played his most minutes in the series with 28 in Game 3. Not only did he keep his fouls at three, he shot well (12 points on 56 percent shooting) and was a monster off the board (13 rebounds, 8 offensive).

3) What were you thinking? King Archer Ricci Rivero’s fourth foul in the dying minutes of the third quarter was unforgivable. Just when he was about to make his impact on the game after a blah first half, he was forced to ride the bench until the start of the fourth.

4) The only major trash talking in the game was Aljun Melecio letting Aaron Black know who’s got hops as the diminutive Archer outrebounded the high-leaping Eagle. Overall, the players and officials were behaved, the referees were relatively fair, and the 22,109 crowd was wild and rowdy.

5) Prince Rivero’s foul on Raffy Verano triggered Ateneo’s 6-point barrage with less than six second left in the first half : the split by Verano; the rebound and put back by Isaac Go on Verano’s miss; and Anton Asistio’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer.

6) But if you ask us, it was Aljun Melecio who should be blamed for the Archers trailing by a bigger margin. DLSU was trailing 38-39 and they had the last possession with less than 24 seconds in the for the second quarter. At this point, DLSU could either end the half one point down or one point or two points ahead. But no, Melecio shot it with still six seconds left in the game. The Archers went into the dug out behind by seven points. If you think about it, that was enough cushion for Ateneo in the end game.
But then again, DLSU wouldn’t be in the game without his clutch shooting and all-around brilliance (16 points, 3 rebounds, four assists, 1 steal) except for his failed time management.

7) Santi Santillan was a revelation in the game as he was always there to make the shot or rebound the ball whenever La Salle was in danger of falling behind Ateneo. Santillan poured in 11 points on 59 percent shooting with 11 rebounds, 7 off the offensive glass.

8) DLSU lived and died with its talisman Ricci Rivero. God was obviously not with him in Game 3 as he scored 14 points in 15 attempts (most of them forced shots in the fourth quarter) and one of six from the three-point line. He had seven turnovers and four fouls.

9) Ben Mbala was catching his breath in the first three minutes of the last quarter which forced Coach Aldin Ayo to sub him out with the scored tied at 68 all. Mbala played 35 minutes the entire game and the time he sat on the bench, Ateneo made a decisive run, took the lead and never looked back. In contrast, Mbala’s backup, Abu Tratter, played only less than half of Mbala’s minutes or 14 minutes so it’s a mystery why Mbala didn’t sub in the last minutes of the third quarter.

10) There was blood shed in the game and another Blue Eagle, Thirdy Ravena, spilled it this time. The Ateneo Talisman was rewarded for his gusty performance; from his ankle breaking drives to his sky-high rebounds, Ravena had no equal on the floor – he had a team-high 17 points on 50 percent shooting with eight rebounds, 3 steals and five assists, including that dime for Go’s 3-point dagger.