Ateneo Blue Eagles Drive for Five: Championship No. 1 (2008)



This was an obliteration. There’s no other word.

OBLITERATION.

The Blue Eagles did more than just capture their fourth title Thursday night, playing their finest game of the season and crushing the spirit of a longtime foe in the process.

Ateneo 62, La Salle 51.

And you know what? It wasn’t even that close.

For Atenistas, the only way Game 2 could have been more satisfying was if Rico Maierhofer flipped out in the fourth quarter and punched Franz Pumaren during a timeout, then got dragged to the locker room by his teammates screaming, “This isn’t over! This isn’t over!” while Franz sobbed into a towel.

Maybe that didn’t happen, but everything else did.

You know you attended a special game when you’re trying to fall asleep that night and the following things are in place: Your palms are swollen and pink, almost like when someone allergic to shellfish accidentally touches a lobster. Your voice sounds more hoarse and scratchy than Lindsay Lohan after an all-night bender. Your body is caked in sweat, only you don’t want to shower because it kinda feels like you played. You just lie there smiling and thinking about everything, and if you concentrate hard enough, you can still hear the crowd cheering and cheering.

I climbed in my bed at 4:30 a.m. and didn’t fall asleep until 8.

Everyone was three levels beyond euphoric last night. Say what you want about sports, but I can’t think of anything else that brings random people together quite like winning. You should have seen Araneta Center before the game—blue everywhere you looked, everyone walking with a purpose, Atenistas chanting different things, everyone just happy to be involved, like we were attending some Blue Eagles fan fantasy camp or something.

I can’t speak for everyone else, but I pounded my hands together for two solid hours. I jumped up in delight at least 50 times. I fought off a lump in my throat when Rabeh Al-Hussaini and Chris Tiu were hugging near the end. I hugged people I didn’t know and briefly turned into a blubbering idiot at one point.

Everything was a happy blur.

I headed down to Embassy to commemorate the victory with a packed house of deliriously happy Atenistas, threw down a few celebratory beers, turned down about 25 offers to do shots and had a series of “Can you believe this?” conversations with basically everyone in the bar.

Nobody really knew what to say.

We all agreed that, as great as the night was, that it happened at the expense of the Green Archers really pushed everything over the top.

Atenistas hate La Sallistas.

It’s in our DNA. It just is.

Blowing La Salle out of the building in Game 2 was the proverbial cherry on our hot fudge sundae. If it were FEU or UP, it just wouldn’t have been the same.

At one point, someone asked me, “How are you gonna write about ...THAT? I mean, how do you write about what just happened?”

I didn’t know, and I didn’t care.

The Ateneo Blue Eagles were the champs.

The La Salle Green Archers had been vanquished.

The school “on a hill, between the earth and sky where Loyola’s colors fly” was hopping.

Everything was right with the world again.

And that’s when I decided to do a shot.
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