The 74th season of the UAAP is opening tomorrow and we’re getting what is expected to be one of the most explosive seasons in recent history. Just the way we like it.
There’s an influx of new talent coming in that’s as loaded as we’ve ever seen. There’s a three-time defending champion that’s looking for that rare four-peat. There are a couple of new coaches that are ready to run with their new teams. Best of all, there’s some serious league-wide talent that will undoubtedly make this season one for the books.
So without further ado, we’ve prepared a preview of the UAAP Men’s Senior’s Basketball season the night before the fireworks begin at the Marikina Sports Complex in Marikina.
Dive in to the content and fasten your seatbelts, boys and girls. UAAP 74 is about to explode!
“They Could Win The Title…If They Were Playing In The Juniors Division”
The UP Fighting Maroons
The last time the UP Fighting Maroons won a game in the UAAP, we had a pint-sized mole running our country so we’re not too optimistic about their chances this year. They might win a game or two this year only because no proud team could live with losing 28 games in a row over two seasons. UP lost a couple of their key cogs from last year, including Woody Co, Magi Sison, and Martin Reyes, but let’s not cry a river over their departures. For all we know, this young team led by Mike Silungan could squeak in a win or two this season, something the departed triumvirate failed to do a season ago.
Forecasted Record At Seasons End: 2-12.
And that’s a mighty generous 2-12.
The UE Red Warriors
What happens when you lose two of your best players and Mythical Five members, Paul Lee and Ken Acibar, and your most high-profile acquisition in the offseason is a head coach?
We love Jerry Codinera when he was patrolling the lane in his PBA days, but even the Defensive Minister will have his hands full coaching a team that has no veritable main man to go to. Paul Zamar takes the reins as the team’s leader, which pretty much tells you everything you need to know about the Warriors’ chances this year.
A rookie head coach, a team full of role players, and a not-so high profile recruiting class; yep, sounds like a recipe for mediocrity.
Forecasted Record At Seasons End: 2-12.
At least we can get to root for which one of these two teams can get to two wins first.
“On Paper, They SHOULD Be Better, Right?”
The NU Bulldogs
Given the circumstances of their deplorable history in past seasons, things are finally looking up for the National University Bulldogs. Not only do they have a new coach with a winning pedigree in Eric Altamirano, but they’re also set to unleash quite arguably the most ballyhooed rookie since LA Tenorio: Ray Parks. The last name sound familiar?
Well, it should because the 6’3” Parks is actually the son of Hall of Fame PBA import Bobby Parks. If Parks is anywhere close to what his Pops was able to do while suiting up for Shell in the PBA back in the 90’s, then you’re looking at a team that should be better than what their reputation suggests. But in as much as Parks will give the Bulldogs a new bite, we’re more curious as to how Coach E can instill a winning culture on a team that has tasted defeat far more losses than they’d want to remember.
Forecasted Record At Season’s End: 5-9.
Give them one year to get acclimated to Coach E’s system and you could be looking at a team whose bite is finally going to be as bad as its bark for Season 75.
The UST Growling Tigers
Here’s another team that continues to tease with great talent that doesn’t translate to W’s. This year’s UST team is loaded with talent that should make them a formidable group at season’s opening, but if there was a team that best defines ‘paper tigers’ on the floor, it’s these guys.
The two Jerics – Fortuna and Teng – are expected to be front-and-center for the team and they’ve got some impressive recruits to complement them, including Fil-Am Karim Abdul (no Jabbar?) and prized Junior’s standout Kevin Ferrer.
But just as they need new uniforms and a new coach, the UST Growling Tigers also need to get on the same page if they hope of making it to the Final Four this year.
Forecasted Record At Season’s End: 6-8
At least two of those eight losses will go down to late-game screw-ups that will ultimately torpedo their season. Par for the course for UST.
NEXT: Season 74's top 4