Reigning champs the DLSU Lady Spikers continued their romp as they demolished the NU Lady Bulldogs 25-8, 25-22, 25-19read more
The highest fan and issue threads will be posted weekly. Check out the gorgeous female celebrities that came out on top this week!read more
Fans just got a taste of what to expect this season. Here are the numbers that shaped the first week of UAAP volleyball action.read more
Japeth Aguilar's trey and block saved the day as Barangay Ginebra escaped the Talk N Text Tropang Texters 97-95.read more
Anyare na nga pala sa UE MBT? Sayang ang 7-peat legacy.
UAAP Season 75 Outlook: The LONG SHOTS: UP Fighting Maroons & UE Red Warriors
UP FIGHTING MAROONS
Vergel Evangelista, Don Fortu, Moriah Gingerich, Carlo Gomez, Miggy Maniego, Martin Pascual, and Mark Juruena
Returnees: Mark Lopez, Alvin Padilla, Diony Hipolito
Newbies: Raul Suyod, Chris Ball, Joseph Gallarza, Renzar Asilum
Season 74 Record & Finish: 2-12, dead last
2012 Filoil Record & Finish: 1-7, dead last in Group A
Surprisingly enough, the numbers reveal that the UP Fighting Maroons weren't half-bad on defense. They topped the entire Filoil cast in fewest three-pointers allowed per game (just 2.5 opponent threes per match), and blocks per game (5.9bpg). At 15.4 turnovers per game, UP was actually not as turnover-prone as one might think. In fact, they turned the tables on their opponents, forcing roughly 19 turnovers per outing.
So UP played pretty solid defense, and defense wins championships. Sadly, however, UP won't win the championship this year, at least not with the way they've been playing offense. The Maroons were dead last in the Filoil field in points scored with just 59.4 per game. They were also the worst UAAP team in the preseason when it came to field goal % and three-point %, shooting just 34.1% and 23.6% respectively. And since they do have a penchant for settling for outside shots, the Maroons also didn't go to the line much. Their foes shot about 9 more charities than they did per game. UP's opposition, on average, made about 16 FTs per game, while the Diliman five connected on just 8.6. And despite having Alinko Mbah and a promising new big man in Raul Suyod (or is it Soyud?), they were also -7 in rebounds per game. Their playmaking also left a lot to be desired -- dishing out 13.3apg was last among UAAP squads.
What should work in S75:
Alinko Mbah was great last year in terms of rebounding and patrolling the paint on defense, but his offense wasn't up to snuff. Carlo Gomez was perhaps UP's best legit low post threat, but he's gone now. This is where Raul Suyod comes in. Suyod was UP's third-best scorer in the preseason while also leading the team in rebounding. His weakness, it seems, is his penchant for foul trouble. He was third among all UAAP players in terms of fouls per game in the preseason.
The return of Alvin Padilla and Mark Lopez should add more wing options/threats for coach Ricky Dandan. In the event Mike Silungan and/or Jett Manuel get cold, both Padilla and Lopez can take on the scoring cudgels.
Another potentially exciting prospect for the Iskos is the development of youngsters Paolo Romero, Renzar Asilum, and Manuel. Manuel, last season's Most Improved Player, should see even more playing time this season even if Padilla and Lopez play pretty much the same way he does. Romero is undersized at the 4 or 5, but his grit is nothing to scoff at, while Asilum has a lot of upside. Look for these former RP-Youth standouts to have many bright moments this season.
What will be tough in S75:
For UP to match or improve on its Season 74 standing, they'll have to score more consistently. Mike Silungan is still going to be their best scoring threat, but he's not the type of player who can carry a team UNLESS he shoots the lights out. He's not a prototype facilitator who can make plays from anywhere. His biggest weapon is his shooting, which is not saying much since, at least in terms of percentages, he's not exactly Mr. Velvet Touch. He did finish in the top 5 in the Filoil tourney in terms of 3pt field goals made per game, but he shot at an un-amazing 30% clip. On average, that's maybe 2 converted threes out of 6-7 tries per game. Volume shooter, but volume misses, too.
The re-entry of Padilla and Lopez might also bring in some unexpected challenges -- like whose minutes will get slashed. I definitely think Manuel and Silungan should be the main options in the wing rotation, which means Padilla can be the top reliever. Both Lopez and Jelo Montecastro (yet another wingman) can pinch-hit at the PG spot, but that means less time for UP's other playmakers (Mike Gamboa and Asilum). Looks like coach Dandan will really have to evaluate his rotation. Oh, and where is Mark Juruena anyway?
UP will not make the Final Four this season. Of course, that's barring injuries and other fortuitous events, but, the way things stand, they might not even win more than 3 or 4 games. We will see improved defense from the Maroons, but they will find it tough to score consistently. They also will be wanting of a true leader (my fingers are crossed for you, Jett Manuel).
Looks like UP will, again, finish at 8th spot.
UE RED WARRIORS
Paul Zamar, Biboy Enguio, Von Chavez, Lucas Tagarda, Nico Montelibano, RR De Leon, JM Noble, Lord Casajeros, BJ Zosa, and Jess Sabangan
Returnees: Sam Razon
Newbies: Dan Alberto, Ian Valdez, Gene Belleza, Ivan Hernandez, Roy Villarias, Carlo Duncil, JP Mena, Mark Olayon, and Pedrito Gallanza, Jr.
Season 74 Record & Finish: 3-11, 7th place
2012 Filoil Record & Finish: 3-5, 6th place in Group A
The Red warriors can look back on several good things that happened this past preseason. The troubling thing is most of those good things are because of just two guys – Roi Sumang and Adrian Santos. Not surprisingly, Sumang led UE in scoring with 14.6ppg, which was tops among all point guards in the Filoil meet. He was also the top playmaker bar none with 5.5apg while turning the ball over just 2.5 times per game. That gives him a 2-1 assist-to-turnover ratio, which is rare in this part of the globe. He was also a pretty good defender, netting 1.3 swipes per game. Sumang is the biggest reason why UE was the second-best playmaking UAAP team (15.6apg) next to NU.
The other guy UE coach Jerry Codiñera might be able to count on is forward Adrian Santos, who is in his third playing year. Like he did in Season 74, Santos was near the top of the heap in field goal shooting (61.9%), and rebounds (7.6rpg) during the Filoil wars. He’s a good reason why the Warriors topped all other UAAP teams in rebounding with 45.1 a game.
Apart from Sumang and Santos, however, there are certainly a lot of chinks in the Warriors’ collective armor. When measured against all other UAAP teams, UE was the worst in points allowed (74.1ppg), which can probably be explained by them allowing their foes to shoot 40.8% from the field and 27.3% from beyond the arc, both dead last among UAAP squads. Coach Codiñera’s boys also need to sharpen their sights from the charity stripe, since they shot just 58.5% from the line. And, unlike UP, UE was quite turnover-prone at 18.4 miscues per game.
What should work in S75:
Despite the risk of sounding foolish in the face of other awesome floor generals like RR Garcia, LA Revilla, and Jeric Fortuna, I’m calling it right now – Roi Sumang is going to be the best point guard of Season 75. That’s in terms of numbers, at least. He’ll also be pretty much the only reason for any non-UE fan to tune in to any UE game, unless the Warriors happen to be playing against one’s own school, of course.
Still, like last season, nobody can put it past these fearless Warriors to spring a few upsets and beat up a few giants. They did that against the Green Archers and the Tamaraws last year, and they repeated over DLSU this past summer. In short, one shouldn’t expect big things out of the Recto-based five, but nobody should drop his guard either. This is the saving grace of a team replete with young talents who are willing to grind it out in every match. That’s the kind of team coach Codiñera has built, and that’s the kind of team the other seven teams must prepare for.
What will be tough in S75:
The other side of the coin when it comes to a young team, of course, is inexperience. As great as Roi Sumang will be, I’m pretty sure he’ll fumble in some crucial moments – maybe a pass too late here, or maybe a hurried shot there. Ditto with the other guys on the team. This is why, despite definitely not being the number one option on the team, not having someone like JM Noble is significant. In what could've been his last tour of duty with UE, he would've been able to fulfill the role of “old wise man” in their scheme of things.
Another stumbling block this season will be UE’s depth, or lack thereof. The biggest reason why only Roi Sumang and Adrian Santos figured prominently in the preseason player rankings is that the rest of UE’s roster is filled with players of promise, not necessarily players of, umm, awesomeness. Don’t get me wrong. When compared to many other collegiate programs in the country or in the metro, UE is stacked, but when measured against Ateneo, FEU, DLSU, UST, or NU, it’s undeniable that UE’s depth is, well, not so deep. The danger with that, of course, is that this could be the Roi Sumang show, which is not the worst thing in the world, but it’s certainly not what will propel the Warriors back into title contention.
UE will be an interesting team. I doubt if they’ll get blown out left and right, but I also doubt if they can win more than a handful of games. Right now, I’ll consider it an upset if they lost to UP, but it’ll also be as much of an upset if the Warriors beat anyone else, which they will, just not often. UE should win about 4 or 5 games. Anything past that is reason to bust out the champagne.
They won’t be doormats this season, but there are a lot of reasons why they’re underdogs. 7th.
Podcast interview with AdMU's Norman Black here.
Last edited by zoman114; Jul 10, 2012 at 07:53 AM.
^ Mikee Reyes wont be returning this season. His shoulder isnt fully healed.
With regards to Juruena I think the coaching staff has had enough of his lackadaisical attitude...shape up physically and mentally or ship out.
Mbah, almost didnt make the team. It was a decision that went down the wire so to speak.
A final 4 finish for AHS is not far fetched behind NU and possibly ahead of FEU. The bigger question is who is the 4th team. My choice is between Zobel and UST.
Right now I'm ranking NU ahead of AHS and FEU with Zobel as 4th. UST and UPIS are the dark horses.
Looking back, unless I'm mistaken, the freshies who've gone directly to the AHS's Jrs team are:
Gian Chiu -- 2004-2005 (moved to the US after I think)
Kiefer Ravena -- 2007-2010
Jay Javelosa -- 2010 (moved to Reedley afterwards to focus on the RP Youth Team)
Jolo Mendoza -- 2012
UAAP Season 75 Outlook: The DARK HORSES: Adamson Soaring Falcons & UST Growling Tigers
Lester Alvarez, Jerick Cañada, Janus Lozada, Jan Colina, Austin Manyara, Genesis Manuel
Ar-Raouf Julkipli, Jericho Cruz, Eric Cabigas, Gian Abrigo, Celedonio Trollano, James Deans
Season 74 Record & Finish: 10-4, seeded second in the Final Four, but lost twice to the FEU Tamaraws
2012 Filoil Record & Finish: 4-4, tied for fourth in Group B, but because of the win-over-the-other provision, College of St. Benilde was the one that advanced.
One big concern for the Falcons going into this UAAP season is the point guard position. It’s very difficult, after all, to replace a duo as dynamic as the one Adamson had with Lester Alvarez and Jerick Cañada. Ryan Monteclaro is next in line for the Falcons, but he doesn’t exactly send shivers down anybody’s spine. So far, he’s accounted relatively well, especially in terms of taking care of the basketball. With him as coach Leo Austria’s chief playmaker, Adamson ended the preseason as the team with the third fewest turnovers per game, and as the third best UAAP team in terms of assists. Does this mean Alvarez and Cañada won’t be missed? Of course they’ll be missed, but maybe their absence won’t be as bad as once thought.
Another good thing about Adamson in the preseason was that they played reasonably good defense. They were the best among all the UAAP teams in terms of forcing turnovers, and were near the top in both the blocks and steals categories. This is mainly because of the development of Rodney Brondial at the slot, and the emergence of newcomer Jericho Cruz as a good on-ball defender.
Most impressive, however, was how Adamson enjoyed a plus 4 difference in terms of scoring average. The Falcons averaged 71.0ppg, while allowing just 66.9 for the opposition. This means that Adamson has what it takes to be a winning team, but, of course, that alone doesn’t automatically mean they WILL be a winning team.
For one thing, despite the improvement of Brondial and the generally solid play of Eric Camson, the Falcons still floundered in terms of rebounding. They were the worst UAAP team in terms of rebounds, and were, on average, -4 against the opposition. When one considers that they didn’t even battle the bigs of Ateneo, DLSU, and UST in the Filoil tourney, it seems their rebounding average of 40 per might sink even further when the UAAP wars commence.
Despite generally scoring better than their opponents over the summer, Adamson also showed a disturbing propensity to sputter from the charity stripe and from behind the arc. At just 56% shooting, the Falcons were the worst UAAP team in terms of free throw accuracy. They were also near the bottom of the rankings when it came to three-point shooting with a paltry 23.9% success rate.
Still, the most significant concern coming off the preseason is the underperformance of Alex Nuyles. With the exit of most of Adamson’s core after last season, the onus is on Nuyles to really take over. He has, however, so far been overtaken. In the preseason, the once prolific wingman averaged just 8.5ppg while shooting 33% from the floor and 46% from the line. He also had the second-highest turnover rate on the team. Needless to say, those aren’t the numbers the San Marcelino faithful are expecting from their undisputed leader.
What should work in S75:
Aside from Alvarez and Cañada, two other names no longer on the roster are Jan Colina and Janus Lozada. Both were highly regarded players, and they had their share of brilliance in the past few years. They will be missed, but maybe not as much as one might assume. This is because their exodus leaves just enough room for Brondial and Cruz to blossom.
The bleach-haired Brondial showed his top-tier potential by averaging about 11 points and 8 rebounds in the preseason, both stats just second to Camson’s numbers. For his part, Cruz has been as good as advertised, too. He normed better than 10 points per outing to go along with about 2 dimes and a team-leading 1.3 steals per game. Brondial should now start at center, especially since Austin Manyara won’t be returning. Cruz will probably start, too, unless Nuyles slides to the two and streak-shooter Roider Cabrera starts at the three.
No matter what scheme coach Austria uses, though, he should still have a really solid starting unit for each game. Imagine a first five composed of Brondial, Camson, Nuyles, Cruz, and Monteclaro. Not too shabby, right? Whether that’s championship or even Final Four material, however, is still up for discussion.
Having said that, what the Falcons may lack in depth should be compensated to some degree by their Final Four experience last season and the high level of coaching Leo Austria is sure to bring. The Falcons are going to be plenty competitive in Season 75.
What will be tough in S75:
Being competitive, however, is never really enough to get high praise from all corners. There will be many moments in the next few months when Adamson fans will be left wondering about the “what ifs” of last season, which many viewed was the Falcons’ best chance at really vying for a title. After beating Ateneo (finally, after a gazillion and one tries), everyone and his granny thought Adamson had finally figured things out, that they were good enough to dethrone the Blue Eagles. In reality, maybe they WERE good enough, but they never really found out because they squandered their twice-to-beat edge against FEU. It’s this mentality of crumbling under the pressure that really gets Adamson down, and, coupled with the dearth of talent, the proverbial mountain might just be too high even for these Soaring Falcons.
Like I wrote, Adamson will be a competitive team, but they won’t be a winning team. They should still be a notch above both UE and UP, but, unless Alex Nuyles rediscovers his old fighting form, they might not figure prominently in the Final Four race. I expect Adamson’s win ceiling to be at 7 games, which is a couple of wins away from a Final Four berth. 6th place.
UST Growling Tigers
Chris Camus, John Sheriff, Ed Aytona, Aljohn Ungria, Kent Lao, Ron Javier
Returnees: Clark Bautista, Aljon Mariano, and Eduardo Daquioag
Newbies: Janrey Garrido, Errol Villar, Robert Haingan, and Ken Mamaril
Season 74 Record & Finish: 8-6, advanced to the Final Four where they got eliminated by Ateneo
2012 Filoil Record & Finish: 5-3, advanced to the quarterfinals, but got eliminated by NU.
Despite the absence of energy man Chris Camus, UST still defied expectations by being a good rebounding team. That’s mainly due to Karim Abdul averaging nearly 10 boards a game, and returnee Aljon Mariano being surprisingly effective on the glass, collecting a little more than 6 caroms per outing.
The return of Mariano also added another dimension to UST’s offense, as the slasher brought his devil-may-care penetration to the fore. The result? UST led all UAAP teams in free throw attempts and free throws made per game. The Tigers attempted about 24 charities a game, converting about two-thirds of that amount. That means they made 16 extra points per game, which should be significant since they were mainly a jump-shooting team last season.
Another preseason plus was being one of the top 5 Filoil teams in scoring at 70.6ppg, but, knowing how coach Pido Jarencio is fixated with lighting up the scoreboard, that shouldn’t be much of a shock. At least the España fans can still expect a lot of buckets this coming season. I guess some things never do change.
Another thing that hasn’t changed is UST’s penchant for turning the ball over. The Tigers were the second most turnover-prone UAAP team in the preseason with 18.1 per game. And the times when they did have the ball? They weren’t particularly stellar, either.
UE and UP were the only teams who fared worse from the field, and a 25.8% clip from rainbow country isn’t exactly inspiring. Considering how UST attempted nearly 19 threes a game during the summer? Uh oh.
Another “uh oh?” There’s a big donut-hole where Camus used to be. The athletic Fil-Am was one of the best interior defenders last season, and one of the more immediate results of his absence was UST becoming the worst shot-blocking UAAP team in the Filoil tourney. Consequently, the Black & Gold became the second worst defending UAAP team, too, allowing their foes to score about 69ppg.
What should work in S75:
Having said that, UST still made the quarterfinals of the preseason tournament by winning 4 of their 8 elimination round games. Among their victims were UE and UP. Backed by a solid starting unit, the Tigers should continue to be at least marginally better than both the Warriors and the Maroons. Imagine Abdul at center, Kevin Ferrer at PF, Mariano as swingman, Jeric Teng at off-guard, and Jeric Fortuna calling the plays. Rock-solid. Championship class? Hmmm…
I guess if Aljon Mariano does bust out the way Jojo Duncil did in 2006, then perhaps UST can make the Final Four. But will he? Early signs indicate he just might. He averaged more than 15 points per outing while shooting about 45% from the field in the preseason. The only UAAP players who scored better were Ray Parks and Greg Slaughter. Pretty good company, right? I doubt he’ll supplant Parks as the best SF in the league, but if he continues to be effective, then the other 7 teams should definitely watch out.
Couple Mariano’s production with a refined Abdul and an accurate Fortuna, and UST can give any team a run for its money. Abdul should average at least close to a double-double this season, and Fortuna should continue his hot shooting form from the summer, where he led all UAAP players with 50% accuracy from three-land. Factor in the experience from the last season’s Final Four run and anything can happen.
What will be tough in S75:
What will happen, though, is that the shallowness of UST’s bench will be its undoing. Sure, Clark Bautista is back and Melo Afuang isn’t exactly the worst big man in the country, but the talent really tapers off relative to the depth of other UAAP squads like Ateneo, FEU, DLSU, and NU.
The thing UST’s got going for itself is its trademark streakiness. With Fortuna, Teng, and Bautista, coach Jarencio has a group of shooters who can erase a double-digit deficit in a flash. That same group, however, can also shoot the Tigers out of any game if left untempered.
And this is where Chris Camus’s absence really hurts, because even in the moments when UST suffered a shooting drought, he could keep them in the game thru sheer athleticism and will. If Camus were still here, UST would be a cinch for the Final Four. Without him? UST might be outside looking in.
UST is too streaky to be taken for granted. When they’re on, they’re really on. And for how many games will they be ON? Maybe 6, 7 at best. By the middle of the season, we’ll all talk about how UST is in the thick of the Final Four race, but when the dust settles, we’ll see España flooded with tears again. 5th spot.
Last edited by zoman114; Jul 10, 2012 at 07:56 AM.
UAAP Season 75 Outlook: The CONTENDERS: De La Salle Green Archers & FEU Tamaraws
DE LA SALLE GREEN ARCHERS
Sam Marata, Simon Atkins, Dan Sara, Maui Villanueva, Martin Reyes
Returnee: Jed Manguera
Newbies: Mark Tallo, Jeron Teng, Gabby Reyes, Thomas Torres
Season 74 Record & Finish: 5-9, 6th place
2012 Filoil Record & Finish: 7-4, finished third in Group B and advanced to the Finals, where they lost to NU
There were a lot of things that went well for the Green Archers in the preseason, and many of these were really due to one overarching reason: defying what their moniker might suggest, the Archers went inside deep and often.
They went inside to Norbert Torres and Yutien Andrada. Star rookie Jeron Teng repeatedly made beelines to the basket. The Archers had the second-fewest three-point attempts among all the UAAP squads. Quite uncharacteristic, right?
Yes, but that could be what’ll make them more dangerous in Season 75. With the exit of both Simon Atkins and Sam Marata, it’s pretty clear rookie UAAP coach Gee Abanilla will have to look down low for most of his offense. And he has great tools in Torres, Andrada, and Teng.
The early returns indicate Abanilla’s onto something here. La Salle was top 3 among UAAP teams in FG shooting at 39.4%. That’s not exactly stellar, but it’s a definite plus knowing your team is taking it strong instead of settling for jumpers. The focus on the interior has also led to DLSU attempting 22 freebies per game, which was third among UAAP clubs.
The Green & White have also seemed to tighten up on the defensive end. La Salle finished as the second-best shot-blocking team in the preseason with 4.7bpg. That’s thanks mainly to Torres and Andrada pairing up for almost 3 rejections per outing. That improved inside D has also helped the Archers become one of the top defensive teams, allowing just 63.8ppg for their opponents. At 45.0 rpg, DLSU was also the second-best rebounding group in the summer, netting an average plus 4 difference on the boards against their foes.
Looks like the big changes post-Season 74 might be reaping dividends faster than expected.
Before the DLSU fans can break out the alcohol, however, they have to temper their expectations with the following chinks in their armor.
Perhaps due to the fact that much of their offense revolves around pounding the ball down low to Norbert Torres or watching Jeron Teng break his man down and go strong/fish for a foul, the assist numbers of DLSU aren’t super impressive. At 13.7 dimes per game, the Archers were second-worst among UAAP teams in the preseason. A bright spot, though, was the play of almost-Blue Eagle Mark Tallo, who led the Greenies with 3.1 assists per outing.
Another surprising dip for the Taft quintet was steals. In Season 74, DLSU averaged about 4.7 steals per game, but that number went down to just 3.5 in the preseason. The culprit? I’m not really certain, but I’m guessing the absence of the Pumaren press might be a factor.
Of course, La Salle wouldn’t be La Salle without awful free throw shooting. Last season, they shot about 51% from the line. They upped that in the preseason to a more respectable 63.6% clip, but that still places them in the bottom half of all Filoil teams. The good news is the guy who got to the line the most during the summer, Jeron Teng, actually hit 74% of his freebies. The bad news, however, is that the other guys who normed about 2 free throw attempts per game, Norbert Torres, Jovet Mendoza, and Joshua Webb, collectively shot just 59%.
What should work in S75:
Those preseason issues notwithstanding, the La Salle faithful should feel renewed hope for the coming UAAP wars. This is primarily due to the new coaching staff seemingly able to adjust well to what the team really needs – a new system.
What we all have to remember is that by and large this is not Gee Abanilla’s team, or, more accurately, this is not a team he formed 100%. Of the guys on his roster, Abanilla directly recruited (maybe not even) the bona fide rookies – Teng, Gabby Reyes, and Thomas Torres (Tallo is technically not counted because he’s in his sophomore year in college already). The natural implication of this is Abanilla has to put in a system that plays to the strengths of the players. He cannot, or should not, force the players to buy into a system they’re not really suited for.
This early, it’s pretty evident Abanilla is utilizing his best players’ strengths. Norbert Torres is carving space down low instead of mimicking Dirk Nowitzki. Yutien Andrada’s defense is making us all remember why there were Tayshaun Prince comparisons in his rookie season. Almond Vosotros’s outside shooting is being maximized. Mark Tallo has enough room to create, given his awesome streetball handles. And Jeron Teng is being cleared enough space to wreak havoc with his trademark penetration.
So far it’s all looked good.
And speaking of Teng – man, he’s exceeded my expectations so far. Not that it matters to him, but I really thought his progress would start a little slower than it has. Instead, at least in some preseason games, it looked as if he has already become La Salle’s main man. Think of that big three in the waning moments against Ateneo, and you can be forgiven for making Mac Cardona comparisons. Will he do a Parks and become the MVP? I don’t think so. Will he do a Kiefer and be a shoo-in for the ROY? Barring any injuries, I think it’s a foregone conclusion.
What will be tough in S75:
What isn’t a foregone conclusion, however, is whether all those positive things can actually outweigh all the team’s negatives throughout a 14-game season.
Like what was mentioned earlier, free throw shooting is still a nagging issue. Sure, Teng, Webb, Luigi dela Paz and Co. might be able to continuously slash and get hacked, but if they cannot hit their charities, then what’s the use?
Another possible issue is the distribution of playing time. On some level, this undoubtedly factored in on the numerous green-to-elsewhere defections of the past couple of seasons. Will guys be given the playing time they expect? Will their talents be utilized enough? Will they see enough burn time for them to warm up and/or get a rhythm going?
For guys like Jovet Mendoza and Jed Manguera, that might not be a problem. So far, they’ve shown a propensity to really play their respective roles to the hilt, but what about the other guys?
What about guys like Jarelan Tampus, Ponso Gotladera, dela Paz, or even Arnold Van Opstal? These guys need to see significant daylight to really be effective. Will they be able to adjust, or will the prospect of green pastures turn into broken promises instead?
I think Norbert Torres will give Greg Slaughter, Emmanuel Mbe, and Karim Abdul a run for their money as the league’s best big man. I think Jeron Teng is the standard for all newcomers this season. I think Gee Abanilla is on the right track. I see DLSU making the Final Four and making life difficult for whomever they’ll face, but, like in previous seasons, I also see them having the occasional stumble to a team like UE or UP. 4th spot.
Aldrech Ramos, JR Cawaling, Ping Exciminiano, Pipo Noundou, Christian Sentcheu, AA Fabian
Raymar Jose, Arvie Bringas, Anthony Hargrove, Mark Belo, Patrick Guerrero, Antonio Iñigo, Jr.
Season 74 Record & Finish: 9-5, 3rd seed in the Final Four, where they beat Adamson twice, and then advanced to the Finals, where they got swept by Ateneo
2012 Filoil Record & Finish: 6-3, advanced to the quarterfinals, but got eliminated by Ateneo.
FEU is FEU. They’re good at playing two-way basketball. They excel offensively and defensively. Their performance this past summer is proof.
They were the second-best UAAP team in FG shooting (39.6%) and were top 3 overall in scoring (71.3ppg). They didn’t have much trouble on the offensive end, what with RR Garcia, Terrence Romeo, and Anthony Hargrove all averaging in twin digits. Garcia and Romeo lived up to their billing as volume shooters while Hargrove was well-settled at the slot, averaging 10 points and nearly 8 rebounds per game. FEU was also the second-best UAAP team in terms of taking care of the ball.
The Tamaraws were plenty to handle on defense, too. They forced more than 16 turnovers from their opponents on average, and were top 5 overall in points allowed. They allowed the opposition to score just 65.8ppg. And because nobody on the FEU roster is really near the top in terms of blocks and steals, we can only assume that their team defense and rotation really contributed to making life difficult for their foes.
That’s not to say life was all rosy for the Tamaraws themselves. It seems that even with shooters of renown like Garcia, Romeo, and Cris Tolomia, the Green & Gold still found a way to be tied as the worst-shooting UAAP squad from beyond the arc. They connected on just 39 of 165 attempts from rainbow country, which is good for well under 24%. Considering how they hoisted, on average, about 19 threes a game, that might just be a really slippery slope for them.
It seems they also struggled with defending the three, as they allowed their opponents to make about 4.6 triples per outing, which is the highest of any UAAP squad. Coach Bert Flores will have to tinker with his close outs if the Tams are to improve these numbers.
Another thing FEU will probably have to look at is just how serious RR Garcia’s ankle injury is. In one interview about a week ago, he said was just at 70%, which, considering how players like underplaying their pains and aches, might be an optimistic estimate. If, indeed, Garcia plays around or below 70%, then can anyone else facilitate the offense with relative efficiency? Neither Romeo nor Tolomia are known playmakers, they’re both scorers, so who will take the cudgels?
What should work in S75:
Still, a 70% RR Garcia is better than the 100% of most guards out there. He should remain a steadying force for FEU, and, last I checked, point guards can still make good decisions even with gimpy ankles.
Suffice to say, FEU’s backcourt trio is going to be the most prolific this season. LA Revilla, Mark Tallo, and Almond Vosotros will be interesting. Jeric Fortuna, Jeric Teng, and Clark Bautista will all put up a lot of shots. The group of Gelo Alolino, Mark De Guzman, and Cedrick Labing-isa in NU is pretty good, too. But this Morayta combo is going to be the best of ‘em. They combined for 35.6 points, 8.3 assists, and 4.2 treys per game in the preseason – scary by any standard.
FEU also has the requisite title contender intangibles in spades – experience and toughness. Their last two trips to the Finals, though both ended in utter defeat, should continue to make them headier in critical moments, while the addition of Baste bruiser Arvie Bringas should make their fierce frontline even more menacing.
What will be tough in S75:
What FEU has in spunk and toughness, however, they somehow lost in terms of versatility. Garcia, Romeo, and Tolomia can all play 1 or 2. Hargrove, the Bringas boys, Carl Cruz, and Russel Escoto are all strictly frontcourt beasts. What’s missing?
Think Reil Cervantes, Arwind Santos, Mac Baracael, JR Cawaling, and Marlon Adolfo – the prototypical FEU swingman who’s long on limbs and talent. Solid guards and big men coach Flores has, but who will he use to counter Jeron Teng, or Ryan Buenafe, or Ray Parks? Cruz might be too slow. Tolomia and Romeo might be bullied in the post. Roger Pogoy? Unless he becomes the new Ping Exciminiano, then forget it.
There aren’t a lot of things wrong with FEU. Truth be told, much of the criticism here is nothing more than nitpicking. Having said that, the Tams aren’t the juggernauts they once were. With RR Garcia and Terrence Romeo explosive, but volatile, scorers, and Anthony Hargrove yet untested in actual UAAP competition, it’s difficult to place the Morayta quintet at the very top. Still, anything less than a Final Four berth will be complete failure. 3rd place.
si Melvin Baloran magiging assistant head coach ng bullpups
My Fearless Forecast:
I cannot really see a team who can sweep the elimination round this season. Every team is dangerous; unpredictable (refers also to UE and UP, by the way hehe). My prediction is that the top seed team will end with either 12-2 or 11-3. I expect upsets this season And defending champions Ateneo should be careful with it (for at least five teams can beat them this season).
About the rankings, here is mine:
1. National University – they already have the momentum after sweeping and winning the Filoil Cup. The duo of Bobby Parks and Emmanuel Mbe will play big for NU’s “hopefully” sweet victory this season. But everything is unpredictable. Although many sports analysts expect them to show their fangs
Strength: Mbe and Parks, % FG
2. Ateneo de Manila University – experience will be their main factor. With coach Norman Black coaching for his last year, of course he wants to end his UAAP career with a championship, a rare five-peat championship. But the departure of experienced players Emman Monfort and Kirk Long will definitely affect their roster.
Strength: Big man Greg Slaughter, fastbreaks, experience
Three teams are expected to battle with the last two spots in the Final Four. The retaliating De La Salle Green Archers under a new tactician, the more intact UST Growing Tigers, and last year’s first runner up FEU Tamaraws. After seeing the line-up, I think UST and FEU have bigger chances in snaring the 3rd and 4th spot.
3. Why UST? – I expect them to pull an upset against Ateneo. Aside from NU and La Salle, UST could also overthrow the Eagles because of their cohesive line-up, with the return of shooters Eduardo Daquioag, Clark Bautista and swingman Aljon Mariano. I think this will be Mariano’s year. He led the scoring for UST in 7 of its nine outings in the Filoil Cup plus veterans Fortuna, Teng, Afuang and sophomore Ferrer will also fortify UST’s lineup.
Strength: Rebounding, Mariano, outside shooting
4. I give the fourth spot to FEU. They still have Terence Romeo, RR Garcia, Tolomia and Escoto plus the “expected to dominate” Anthony Hargrove. The younger Bringas will also for FEU. But despite of their good recruitment, they lost big man Aldrech Ramos which I really a dynamic element in their 2nd place finish last year. I expect them to land either third or fourth this season.
Strength: Outside shooting, experience
5. La Salle – they recruited two outstanding rookies Jeron Teng and Marc Tallo. But I’m not really expecting La Salle to dominate this season because they are still in rebuilding process.
And the last two spots, <- medyo kakulay nya
UE and UP? UE could pull off upsets, let's see who'd fill the place of noble. sumang has also improved a lot. UP need not rely on mike silungan and his volume outside shooting (volume misses too). Silungan should penetrate some more. the maroons also have a potent roster with padilla, manuel and montecastro. Soyud should impose his presence as a PF. Mbah should play heads up basketball. And their fil-am rookie Ball could shift into PF/SF/C position. The problem area I see is their decision-making. Lopez and Asilum should focus and not be affected by the pressure. The other guys on the floor should also move nifty on the floor since most teams would now apply pressure defense early on the game (esp NU, ADMU and DLSU). But they're still a long shot for the final 4
6 teams would compete for the final four!
UAAP Season 75 Outlook: The FAVORITES: NU Bulldogs & Ateneo Blue Eagles
Joseph Terso, Marion Magat, Robby Celiz, Spencer Eman
Newbies: Henri Betayene, Mark De Guzman, Tristan Perez, Troy Rosario
Season 74 Record & Finish: 6-8, 5th place
2012 Filoil Record & Finish: 11-0, beat DLSU in the Final to bag the Championship
There’s just one reason the NU Bulldogs went 11-0 in the Filoil tournament – they were just, by far, the best and most consistent squad in the whole 18-team field. They were really awesome.
They were the third-best UAAP team in rebounding (44.6rpg), second-best UAAP team in steals (5.2spg), top 4 overall in free throw shooting (67.3%), and top 2 overall in 3-point shooting (32.8%). NU was also the top team overall in three categories – assists (18.1apg), scoring (79.7ppg), and field goal shooting (44.7%). In terms of team defense, the MOA quintet finished second overall in both opponents’ field goal percentage and points allowed per game. San Beda was the only team better than NU in both categories
Not too shabby, right? I mean, by and large, this is the same team that finished 2 wins shy of a Final Four berth last season. On some level, however, this is also a different NU squad. They seem to have better poise, better decision-making, and they’ve actually become deeper. They are going to be plenty tough in Season 75.
Plenty tough, however, doesn’t mean perfect. Despite great playmaking from Ray Parks and Gelo Alolino, NU was still bitten by the turnover bug, as they coughed up the rock almost 17 times per contest, which placed them in the bottom half of the Filoil field.
That’s largely because they have the most turnover-prone big man in the UAAP – Emmanuel Mbe. Mbe normed a little more than 3 errors per game, which was tops among UAAP slotmen over the summer. If he can cut down on the mistakes while still maintaining his imposing presence on the low block, then a Mythical Selection might be in the offing.
What should work in S75:
Of course, Mbe should not be the only Bulldog for consideration in the Mythical Selection. In fact, the frontrunner not only for the Mythical Team, but also for MVP, is this corner of the world’s version of LeBron James – Ray Parks. Parks is just so darn talented, so gifted with basketball awesomeness, that it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him drop a handful of triple-doubles this year.
That’s not to say NU’s a one-man team – far from it. Aside from Mbe being a big plus, other guys expected to play big this year are the vastly-improved Alolino, Denice Villamor, Jeoff Javillonar, and former CSB hotshot Mark De Guzman. De Guzman, in particular, looks poised to complete NU’s own version of a Big Three. He normed an impressive stat line of 9.7ppg, 4.0rpg, and 1.1spg over the summer, including converting 46% of his attempts from three.
Another important positive for the canines of Sampaloc is the fact that they’re pretty much intact from last season. Of the guys who are no longer on the team, only Joseph Terso carried relative significance, and his absence seems to actually bring more good because both Alolino and former UST Tiger Cub Cedrick Labing-isa have really blossomed with the added playing time.
What will be tough in S75:
The exit of Terso, though, also presents an obvious weakness for NU – inexperience. Terso was one of the veteran members of the squad, and, without him, the Bulldogs will have to brace for a season of miscues and bad decisions due to inexperience. This will especially be critical in close games and in the Final Four, which is a stage NU should finally get to after more than a decade of futility. Yes, this is true even if one considers that the core of this team has had one full season under its belt. There is no question NU will be great this year, but will their greatness find its match in their own inexperience?
Another potentially intangible threat is the pressure borne out of going unbeaten in the summer and out of being the hosts of the league’s 75th season. Never has NU hosted on such a grand scale (they have a brand spanking new arena for God’s sake!), and never have expectations been so high. When the Sys invested in NU a few years ago, they envisioned a big change from perennial doormat to perennial powerhouse. We might be looking at year one of that plan coming to fruition.
Without a doubt, NU is the team of the future. They are to Season 75 what the Orlando Magic were to the NBA in 1995 (you know, with Shaq and Penny). But does that mean everything will be served on a silver platter for the hosts, and that they’ll go undefeated again? That’s highly doubtful, but what’s not doubtful is that NU will be a title favorite this season, and, quite possibly, for many more to come. 2nd place.
ATENEO BLUE EAGLES
Emman Monfort, Kirk Long, Bacon Austria, BJ Cipriano, Jeric Estrada
Returnee: Ryan Buenafe
Newbies: G-Boy Babilonia, Nico Elorde, Isaac Lim, Kris Porter
Season 74 Record & Finish: 13-1, beat FEU in the Finals to bag their fourth straight Seniors title
2012 Filoil Record & Finish: 9-3, lost to NU in the semifinals, but beat San Beda in the battle for 3rd place
For a team that many viewed as the runaway best college team in the country, Ateneo’s performance in the preseason was, shall we say, underwhelming. They placed third overall, with a final win-loss record of 8-3. Those three losses came at the hands of San Beda, De La Salle, and NU. We, however, have to take the following into account: Ryan Buenafe didn’t play in Ateneo’s first game against San Beda, and Greg Slaughter wasn’t around against La Salle. Ateneo lost both games with a combined difference of just 5 points.
The stinger was against the Bulldogs, to whom the Eagles lost by 17 points despite a full complement of players. Ateneo was outshot, outrebounded, and just outplayed by the hungrier NU side. And this was at the time Ateneo seemed to be getting better after beating the Tamaraws by 11 in the quarterfinals.
By far, Ateneo is still one of the best teams in college ball, but it seemed like the aura of invincibility that permeated throughout the past few seasons has burst. Still, there were reasons to hope that the Eagle’s drive for a fifth straight UAAP title wasn’t facing a premature end.
Ateneo was the top UAAP team in shooting from the line (67.8%), while also the best team overall in taking care of the basketball. That’s kudos mainly to the quarterbacking of the underrated Juami Tiongson, who will probably surprise a lot of people at the PG spot the way Jai Reyes did in his time. Both were considered pure shooting guards out of high school, and both had endured criticism for their playmaking abilities. Reyes shut them up with the 2008-2009 titles. Now it’s Tiongson’s turn to silence the naysayers.
The Eagles were also pretty good on the defensive end, limiting opposing teams to just 35.1% field goal shooting (third best overall), and, consequently, allowing just 64.5ppg from their foes (fourth best overall).
The great defense, though, wasn’t complemented by the best offense.
The three-pointer was a vaunted piece of Ateneo’s arsenal in their first three title runs, what with Chris Tiu, Emman Monfort, and Reyes taking turns sniping from range. With Monfort finally using up his eligibility, and joining Tiu and Reyes watching from the stands, the onus, once again, is on Tiongson to take and make those open jumpers he ought to have with such crafty inside operators in Greg Slaughter, Nico Salva, and Justin Chua. Early signs, however, point to something ominous. Ateneo averaged just 3 treys per game in the summer, which was worst among all UAAP squads. They were also the second-worst UAAP five in terms of overall scoring, with a mean of just under 67 per outing. Very clearly, it seems like much of the run-and-gun play style that defined the championship teams of recent past won’t be very apparent. That’s also because the Blue & White were the worst overall in steals per game (just 3.1). A dearth of steals, of course, means fewer chances in transition.
This team was also not exactly uberimpressive in the rebounds and assists departments. Ateneo was consistently middle-of-the-pack, which is not the best fuel for dreams of a fifth straight bonfire.
Needless to say, there’s a lot of work yet to be done. The edges are still rough, and the team is not yet in its peak form. The question, really, is will they be able to flash that peak form at the most opportune time?
What should work in S75:
A glance at the Ateneo roster suggests they have a good chance of peaking at the right time, since this is one of the deepest lineups outside of the PBA today. One need not even enumerate the big names currently populating Loyola Heights. They have become that ubiquitous. When it comes to college hoops, the stars of Ateneo have already become household names.
But, okay, if you really twist my arm, then picture this: Nico Salva snares a rebound and rifles an outlet pass to a streaking Kiefer Ravena. Ravena takes just two dribbles to get past his own three-point line and glances at the adjacent quartercourt. Ryan Buenafe just got away from his man and is asking for the ball. He gets it under the basket, where the last opposing defender awaits. The adept playmaker he is, Buenafe takes just a millisecond to bounce the rock to the 7-footer racing down the keyhole. Greg Slaughter deftly catches the ball and slams one home.
Cannot believe it?
Yeah, it’ll be on YouTube a few minutes after the game’s done.
Having said that (ALL THAT), it’s not really Ateneo’s depth that will be its biggest weapon. What other teams really have to look out for are things not even the best UAAP scout can scour the 7,107 isles for – championship experience and championship coaching.
Of the 16 guys on Ateneo’s S75 roster, only the newcomers don’t have any championship experience (duh). Many of the guys on the roster, with the exception of the rookies, Slaughter, Ravena, Von Pessumal, Gwyne Capacio, and Nico Elorde, were on the S73 Ateneo lineup – the team that wasn’t supposed to win because the exodus of Rabeh Al-Hussaini, Noy Baclao, and Jai Reyes should’ve been too much to handle.
The Eagles are in a similar situation now. Without Monfort, Kirk Long, and Bacon Austria, there will surely be a lot of tough and tense moments in the backcourt and at the wings, but I’m certain coach Norman Black will draw from his seemingly bottomless well of tricks to adjust to this.
The bottom-line is Ateneo is too seasoned, too well-coached, to crumble so easily.
What will be tough in S75:
That’s not to say Season 75 will be a walk in the park. It’ll be more like a run through an endless gauntlet with every other team out to thwart the Eagles’ campaign for a historic five-peat.
And there are many things the opposition can exploit to make life hell for the Katipuneros. The most obvious weakness in the roster is definitely at point guard, not because Tiongson and Elorde aren’t good. It’s just that they’re, shall we say, untested. This is almost the exact same way Monfort was untested in Season 73, and I’m confident both Tiongson and Elorde will respond to the challenge well. Don’t expect Tiongson to reel in 5 assists per outing – that’s just not his game. He’ll bring the ball up, call a play, send the ball to Kiefer, Ryan, or even Tonino Gonzaga to orchestrate. Juami will run through screens, curl past picks and square up for the open J. And he will hit it more often than not. Elorde is more of a facilitator. When he played for Zobel in high school, he was known to be able to find the seams in the defense and whizz passes to open teammates. Give him a few games and don’t be surprised to see him do some special things.
What is a little disturbing, though, (yes, I cannot emphasize this enough) is the Eagles’ offense. Considering that this is a team with Slaughter, Salva, and Ravena in the starting unit, and a bench mob led by Buenafe, Gonzaga, and Chua, averaging 66.9ppg is a little disappointing. It’s even more harrowing when one takes into account that the Eagles allowed their foes to score 64.5 per (as mentioned earlier). That’s just about a 2-point difference on average. Needless to say, expect the Eagles to remain favorites in every encounter, but it would be nothing short of folly to expect a ton of blowouts.
The biggest opposition to Ateneo’s Glorify-5 drive is, well, Ateneo itself. Will they let the weight of expectation slow them down and make them weary, or will it be an unparalleled driving force that will propel them to the annals of UAAP lore? If recent history is to be a barometer, then the good bet is on the Eagles to remain kings. Should finish 1st.