Season 76: 6th place (7-7)
Head coach: Derrick Pumaren
Holdovers: Dan Alberto, Pong Galanza, Ivan Hernandez, Chris Javier, Gino Jumao-as, Charles Mammie, Mark Olayon, Roi Sumang
In: Moustapha Arafat, Edgar Charcos, Zyron Cudal, RR De Leon, Clark Derige, Daryll Guiang, Emil Palma, Paul Varilla
Out: Lord Casajeros, Jai Flores, Leo Guion, JM Noble, Ralf Olivares, Luis Pujante, Adi Santos, Jay-R Sumido
Take a comfortable chair, grab your favorite drink, and watch the Sumang & Mammie Show unfold. No tandem in the UAAP is more electrifying and entertaining than those two. They’re the opposite of Kuya Germs and John Knight on Master Showman. With an overhauled lineup, UE will be forced to rely on its pair of superstars even more this season.
The Warriors lost a bunch of key players in Olivares, Casajeros, Santos, and Noble. Looking at the roster, it’s hard to pinpoint guys who can immediately fill their void. That’s why Sumang, poised to lead the league in scoring this year, and Mammie, expected to retain his rebounding title (a whopping 19.0 PPG in Season 76), will need to shoulder an even heavier load.
The first thing that new drillmaster Pumaren needs to address is defense. The Recto-based troop finished tied for worst last year with 75.8 points allowed. That’s simply shameful. Like Mommy Divine not allowing Sarah Geronimo to have a boyfriend. The Warriors have no problems putting the ball in the hoop, it’s their D that needs to be an A+ if they want to end their four-year Final Four drought, the longest in team history.
Or, you know, they could create a rule that would
bring back James Yap; sila naman host eh
Time to shine player: Mark Olayon
Analytical question from UE fans: "May hidden powers kaya ‘yung patilya ni Sumang?"
UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES FIGHTING MAROONS
Season 76: 8th place (0-14)
Head coach: Rey Madrid
Holdovers: Agustini Amar, Henry Asilum, JR Gallarza, Moriah Gingerich, Andrew Harris, Kyles Lao, Martin Pascual, Mikee Reyes
In: Vince Bederi, Diego Dario, Carlo Escalambre, Nomer Gonzales, Mark Juruena, Jarrell Lim, Dave Moralde, Chris Vito
Out: Chris Ball, Paul Desiderio, Jason Ligad, Joseph Marata, Andre Paras, Raul Soyud, Kyle Suarez, Julius Wong
Returning coach Madrid predicted at least three wins for UP. He didn’t clarify though if that includes the Cheerdance Competition. If there’s one thing we learned about making sports predictions, it’s this: Don’t make any sports predictions! But perhaps the former Maroon deeply believes in his team. The roster isn’t a championship-caliber crew, but hey, maybe notching three Ws isn’t too far-fetched.
Just like the target of FHM’s abangers moves, Kathryn Bernardo, the Maroons will only get better with age. Asilum and Gallarza have improved every season and Lao, the reigning Rookie of the Year, already has a year of UAAP experience in his resume. Moralde, a transferee from San Beda, has also gotten better and matured and could take over Marata’s role as primary offensive threat. Also, maybe Reyes could stick out for more than one game this time around.
Sadly, no one can replace Andre Paras' talents tisoy looks
State U finished last in four of the five major statistical categories last season, while also allowing 75.8 PPG (tied for league-worst). Obviously, a lot of work needs to be done. The graduation of Marata, Soyud, Ball, and the curious absence of Ligad, a promising scorer, don’t help the Maroons’ case, but they have no choice but to, well, fight.
Time to shine player: Dave Moralde
Analytical question from UP fans: "Ano bang feeling ng panalo?"
UNIVERSITY OF SANTO TOMAS GROWLING TIGERS
Season 76: Runner-up (8-6)
Head coach: Bong Dela Cruz
Holdovers: Karim Abdul, Ed Daquioag, Jeepy Faundo, Kevin Ferrer, Kent Lao, Kim Lo, Jan Macasaet, Aljon Mariano, Paulo Pe, Jan Sheriff
In: Regie Basibas, Levi Dela Cruz, Alfren Gayosa, Raymart Sablan, Renzo Subido, Louie Vigil
Out: Clark Bautista, Robert Hainga, Edcor Marata, Brian So, Robin Tan, Jeric Teng
Recuperating from back-to-back losses in the Finals is rough. It’s emotionally demoralizing, especially for young players. UST, however, has a veteran nucleus that knows that having a fleeting memory is better sometimes. The Tigers have no choice but to move on.
Move on na raw, Jeric...
The departure of Teng and Bautista are huge blows to the España armada, but the biggest loss is Pido Jarencio. His spirited character rubbed off on his players, making them play feisty and fearless basketball. Now that he’s gone, it’ll be interesting to see if the Tigers will respond to Dela Cruz, an unproven tactician who’s more reserved than Jarencio on tranquilizer. The season will be a huge test for him. Luckily, he was a talented core in Abdul, Mariano, Ferrer, Daquioag, Sheriff, Lo, and the returning Vigil, who’ll help him pass with flying colors.
UST did it with defense last year, only allowing 67.5 PPG, good for second in the league. They have an almost intact lineup and we don’t see any reason why they’ll deviate from their philosophy (a.k.a. Pido-ism) of being accountable for your assignment. We also don’t see any reason why pretty Kristelle Batchelor shouldn’t return as courtside reporter. Thank God she’s back.
Time to shine player: Louie Vigil
Analytical question from UST fans: "Sino na magpapaulan ng mura sa mga player ngayong wala na si Pido?"