Now that the gut-wrenching PBA season is over and the NBA is on vacation mode (well, except for the teams madly pursuing LeBron James as if he has the solution to world hunger), hoop nuts can shift their attention to the country’s premier collegiate basketball league.
All eyes will be on powerhouse La Salle as it tries to defend its title. All the other squads are unanimous in believing that the Green Archers are the team to beat. But throughout the annals of the UAAP, there’s no such thing as a sure win. Well, except maybe against those Adamson teams that went 0-28 in 1999 and 2000 (head coach Luigi Trillo was just 22 at that time). Melvin Mamaclay, anyone?
Of course, as always, we’ll give you a fun, serious, and not-so serious team by team prognosis. Who’s in and who’s out? Who are the new coaches? Who among the rookies will shine? How is Kevin Ferrer’s tongue? Those are just some of the important questions that will be answered in the next few months. In the immortal, inspiring words of Quad City DJs: "Everybody get up / it’s time to slam now" (c’mon, you sang it didn’t you?)!
ADAMSON UNIVERSITY SOARING FALCONS
Season 76: 7th place (4-10)
Head coach: Kenneth Duremdes
Holdovers: Axel Iñigo, Dawn Ochea, Ryan Monteclaro, Jansen Rios, Don Trollano
In: Matthew Aquino, Alexis Barrera, John Baytan, Harold Butron, Francis Donahue, Christian Garcia, John Gumtang, Joseph Nalos, Jessiery Pedrosa, William Polican, Ivan Villanueva
Out: Gian Abrigo, Michael Agustin, Rodney Brondial, Eric Cabigas, Roider Cabrera, Jericho Cruz, Jerome Garcia, Ar-raouf Julkipli, Harry Petilos, Ingrid Sewa
If you can count, Adamson has 11 players in the “In” section. Nine of them don’t have a millisecond of UAAP experience. Basically, that means the Falcons will be one of the weaker teams this season. Think of them as the Miami Heat, only with Greg Oden, Michael Beasley, and Toney Douglas as the Big Three.
The exit of Cruz, Cabrera, Sewa, and Brondial—the team’s top four scorers last year—is a humungous blow to the San Marcelino-based squad. Finding consistent offense this year will be as difficult as scouring for a toothpick in the Amazon Jungle. Or a peklat on Marian Rivera’s skin.
Don’t expect the Falcons to improve much on their stingy 67.1 PPG (7th in the league) last season. What you can expect though are breakout stints for Rios and Trollano and a promising run for Nalos, a transferee from Cebu’s Southwestern U.
...and still no more Apple David. 'Pag minamalas ka naman nga oh!
New head coach Duremdes and deputies Vince Hizon and Marlou Aquino, also UAAP rookies by the way, will have their work cut out for them in squeezing something out of their inexperienced wards. We can’t believe we’re saying this, but—OMG!—the Falcons might be worse than that team in Diliman.
Time to shine player: Don Trollano
Analytical question from Adamson fans: "Puwede ba maglaro ‘yung coaching staff?"
ATENEO DE MANILA UNIVERSITY BLUE EAGLES
Season 76: 5th place (7-7)
Head coach: Bo Perasol
Holdovers: Anton Asistio, Gwynne Capacio, Nico Elorde, Isaac Lim, Chris Newsome, Kiefer Ravena, Von Pessumal, Vince Tolentino
In: John Apacible, Gideon Babilonia, Clint Doliguez, Ponso Gotladera, Jay Javelosa, Kris Porter, Thirdy Ravena, Arvin Tolentino
Out: Fran Asuncion, Ryan Buenafe, Ivan Enriquez, JP Erram, Frank Golla, Earl Murphy, Juami Tiongson
The entire Loyola almost crumbled into pieces last year after Ateneo failed to advance in the Final Four for the first time since 1998. It was a wake-up call for the Eagles that blue isn’t always the favorite color of the basketball gods. The setback should serve as motivation for them to play with more desire and hunger. And by that, we don’t mean eat at every food joint along Katipunan like Buenafe probably did.
The Eagles will still utilize a wing-oriented offense with the lack of a dependable post option. Prized recruits Tolentino and Javelosa are promising but might be overpowered by bigger, heftier guys. So like last year, Kiefer, Newsome, and Elorde, who combined for 32.8 PPG and 16.4 RPG last season, will spearhead their fast-paced flight.
And the Urian goes to...
One of the more interesting storylines for Ateneo is the new Ravena in town. Thirdy dominated the Juniors last year, but can he translate that in college? While he already has the body, size, and skills, he needs to be patient and let the game naturally come to him instead of trying to make an immediate splash.
Also, will Perasol, um, get extra accommodating with a heckling fan again?
Time to shine player: Vince Tolentino
Analytical question from Ateneo fans: "Sino kaya ang mas paboritong anak kina Kiefer at Thirdy?"