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Aug 14, 2014
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After the first round of play in UAAP Season 77, some teams are where we expected them to be while others aren’t.

Here are the team standings after the first round:

uaap season 77

So Ateneo, FEU, and DLSU make up the top three while Adamson is at the cellar. Oh, look! May panalo na ang UP!

A win-loss record is a clear indication of how well a team has performed. However, they don't tell the WHOLE story. So which schools really played the best and the crappiest b-ball so far? Join us as we hand out our mid-season grades...


ATENEO BLUE EAGLES

uaap season 77Photo from Inboundpass.com

While “A” is for “Ateneo,” it's also the mark we give the Blue Eagles for their general performance beyond general expectations. Privately, the team felt good after a summer camp at home and abroad, despite shunning the usual pre-season tournaments. Yet, even with a supposedly better than average rookie haul (despite not getting much out of most of them), and still without the size to go up against the taller squads, they have been taking down foes.

It has been a character-building first round for the Blue Eagles, with the win versus Adamson being their only victory by a comfortable margin. The close wins should help the team more in the long run. And create more Kiefer Ravena-for-MVP moments:


Video via ABS-CBN Sports And Action on YouTube

Their veterans have stepped up (Chris Newsome, Von Pessumal, and Nico Elorde) while some of the new additions have been pleasant revelations (Arvin Tolentino and Alfonso Gotladera). But the man who has led them is Ravena. The Phenom is clutch. He's also showing that his abysmal Season 76 is nothing but a forgotten memory.

uaap season 77Photo from Spin.ph

Tolentino is a huge pick-up for this team. It's also the right fit for the prized freshman, as he can grow his skills while also being under the tutelage of a very good coaching staff and some heady and smart players like Ravena and company. Making the Final Four is the target but this team, even before league tipoff, could make the Finals…provided their rookies shine or contribute heavily.

What they need to do is get more production from shock troopers Gwyne Capacio, Gboy Babilonia, and hopefully, players like John Apacible and Jay Javelosa if they want to battle taller teams in a protracted series (read: Final Four and the Finals).

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FAR EASTERN UNIVERSITY TAMARAWS

uaap season 77Photo from Spin.ph

FEU gets a B+ for their first round finish of 5-2. They are one of two teams (the other being NU) that have bucked the loss of a league MVP and a slew of old reliables to play terrific basketball. With Nash Racela’s system firmly in place, they are finally playing team ball. With every win, their confidence grows.

For the entire summer, the Tamaraws’ yardstick was La Salle. Thrice DLSU dumped them in the summer but with every result, FEU was getting better and narrowing the margin. Come the Season 77 opener, the overhauled a double-digit deficit and took the endgame from La Salle. They also garnered similar wins over UE and NU.


Video via ABS-CBN Sports And Action on YouTube

While team effort is essential, how far they go will also be determined by the continued growth of Mike Tolomia (see video above for some nasty highlights). Their penultimate second round match versus NU supports this point.

Late in that game, Mike began to look for his own shot. He badly missed back-to-back attempts and turned the ball over twice. Each time, the Bulldogs capitalized on FEU's miscues to cut down what was a comfortable double-digit lead. Then Tolomia set up Anthony Hargrove for a huge undergoal shot and then scored on a drive to the basket in transition.

uaap season 77Photo from Inboundpass.com

Tolomia hasn’t been alone, though. Mac Belo has been outstanding. Carl Cruz, Roger Pogoy, and Achi Iñigo have also been steady for this team.

However, aside from Tolomia’s better discernment, if this team wants to go deep in the tournament, they will need better production from Hargrove, and an end to the moody American's foul-plagued ways.


NEXT: The Green Archers and the Bulldogs


Photos via Spin.ph and Inboundpass.com
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