A couple of firsts as we close out the season with this year's final Top 10: first, we have a team with a losing record at the UAAP men's Final Four (UST), and the NCAA season won't end until perhaps the UAAP Finals are over.
On with the top 10.
1. Ateneo Blue Eagles
The Eagles closed out the "regular season" with a come-from-behind win against #2 FEU. Rabeh had a bad night and the Eagles still won. Wait, I said that two weeks ago...
2. San Sebastian Stags
The Stags are in a date with destiny. If they manage to sweep the elimination round 18-0, it'll be perhaps the most remarkable eliminination round sweep in Philippine collegiate history. Unless of course you are the UM Hawks that went 86-0 in one point. But the tough games loom in the horizon, and the Stags, with their 13-0 record, will face each times wanting to beat them for the first time.
3. San Beda Red Lions
The Stags' neighbor to the east can't wait themselves to face their unblemished neighbor. Too bad they'll face each other in mid-October. When it's sembreak already.
4. UE Red Warriors
The Blue Eagles swept the second round, UE, the next best team had a 6-1 record, and are in 6-game winning streak. Now you know why the Eagles did everything in their power to beat FEU in their elimination round finale.
5. JRU Heavy Bombers
The boys from Kalentong sure are peaking at the right time, and with John Wilson playing like a man possessed, and players such as John Agas and John Lopez playing like it is their contract year, the Bombers are optimistic for a breakthrough against SSC and San Beda to clinch the twice-to-beat advantage.
6. FEU Tamaraws
If you're a Tams fan, you now know how "so close, yet so far" means. But at least they still have that twice-to-beat advantage, and they'll need it against peaking-at-the-right-time UE Red Warriors. Unless they jinx themselves for like 1397696th time.
7. Adamson Falcons
The Falcons ended the season with a two-game winning streak, blowouts against #4 UST and #8 UP. If they could've just converted on a couple of baskets in some games, they would've been in the playoffs. Still, the future looks bright for the boys and girls of San Marcelino. But it has always been that way, so...
8. NU Bulldogs
If you're talking about lake-peaking teams, the Dawgs are your best examples. They always manage to win their last game in the elimination round. Against UST in 2003, famously against twice-to-beat-seeking Ateneo in 2007, and now vs. the Final Four-seeking La Salle in 2009. The Sys will have a field day in fine tuning this squad of theirs, and other UAAP teams should take notice.
9. EAC Generals
Among the NCAA's guest teams head coaches, Nomar Isla has to be the best among the three, and it shows despite his team's pretty bad lineup. Their double-digit win against CSB gives the Generals some measure of respect; remember, this was the last NCAA team to barge into the win column.
10. Letran Knights
The reason why the Knights are in #10 is that there aren't really other teams that made a good showing this week (unless you'll consider Mapua, which at, 2-11, beat a UPHSD team with a 3-10 record.) to knock them off the list. A dismal showing against AUF (that was remedied when the Great Danes ran out of dog food late in the game), and an even more dismal showing against the Heavy Bombers (plus the most dismal halftime performance to date), the Knights are lucky to be in the top 10 of the NCAA.
Since this is the last top 10 for this season, let's include the other 8 teams to make us all happy.
11. Mapua Cardinals
The Cards have to thank Raffy Ynion who made sure that the Cards will snap their 10-game losing streak when he committed a useless unsportsmanlike foul on a Mapua player that sealed their loss.
12. La Salle Green Archers
This season marks an end of an era: the end where La Salle is in the Final Four in all seasons that they participated at. But don't fret, since Lasallians are more than happy to see those three veterans go away (not necessarily graduate), and with L.A. Revilla suiting up next season, plus a sure-as-hell blue-chip recruit, the Archers will be back. Next year.
13. UST Growling Tigers
Dylan Ababou should be MVP, but his teammates should be ashamed of themselves. If it weren't for NU winning against La Salle, UST should have no reason to lose against UE. Well, that's how the chips fell, and the Tigers must prove that they deserve the Final Four berth that has been given to them.
14. Arellano Chiefs
The Chiefs didn't play a game this week. Thanks to the guy that makes the NCAA schedules, he switched, edited, and amended (and I'm running out of synonyms for "change") the schedule, leaving it unbalanced.
15. CSB Blazers
One can only wonder what would've happened if it was Gee Abanilla who was at the helm for the Blazers this year. He coached last year, and the system was in place, but Abanilla was needed elsewhere, and the question if Del Rosario deviated from the system far enough would be answered next year.
16. UPHSD Altas
The Altas had promise, but until they learn to play smart hoops, they'd have to lose some more games.
17. UP Fighting Maroons
The Maroons closed out their season on a somber note: Braganza's father passed away the day after he had heart attack watching his son play basketball. But unlike Adamson and NU, one can only wonder what the future holds for the State U.
18. AUF Great Danes
Cheer up Danes fans. Your teams are doing well at NCAA volleyball. That is, if anyone cares.