It’s Game Time!!!!

4 07 2007

A lot of Burning Questions for UAAP 70 and my fearless forcast:

Is La Salle as good as everyone is expecting them to be? Is UST ready to defend it’s title? Will Ateneo’s Kirk Long prove to be the 2nd coming of LA Tenorio? Is UE ready to break the semifinals jinx that has been plaguing them throughout the pre-season? Will UP’s controversial rookies make an immediate impact? Will FEU’s rookie laden line-up surprise the other teams? Will NU finally break into the Final Four? Will Bogs Adornado make a difference at Adamason?
There are so many questions and in a very short time, we shall be getting answers.

Question 1. Is La Salle as good as everyone is expecting them to be?

Yes they are. The Green Archers have prepared well for the season and are the most obvious choice to make the Final Four. TY Tang, Pocholo Villanueva, JV Casio and Rico Maierhofer are coming into the season with determination and confidence. The other side of this is that all the other teams play much better when facing the Green Archers.

Plus points: Deep bench, experience, very solid coaching and well conditioned.

Minus points: Can peak too early, having won all the pre-season tournaments. Played too many games in the pre-season. Batricevic , Malabes and Mangahas are injured.

Question 2: Is UST ready to defend its title?

UST is definitely coming well prepared, especially considering that they have an (almost) intact line-up. But wait! The sudden withdrawal of Jojo Duncil has now left a void in the team.
This website and this writer were the first to report that a player was allegedly ineligible because of alleged spurious birth records. Though Duncil, Jarencio and the whole UST were shouting “conspiracy”, the end result was that Duncil is now gone.

Plus points: Jervy Cruz will be much better than he was last year. Confidence level is very high. Jarencio knows how to motivate this team.

Minus points: Duncil’s sudden departure, so close to the opening will definitely affect the team. He is or was a vital cog to the team’s performance.
UST will now face opponents who will not take them lightly. Last season, they came under the radar and no one took them seriously until it was too late.
UST also faces the “host jinks”. No host team has ever won the basketball championship. La Salle did it when they last hosted, but had to return it.

Question 3: Will Ateneo’s Kirk Long prove to be the 2nd coming of LA Tenorio?

A lot of things are expected from Kirk Long, who is expected to direct the Blue Eagles game. I’m sure that coach Norman Black is hoping that the pressures that come when playing in the UAAP, does not affect this former Faith Academy player. Is he the 2nd coming of an LA Tenorio? Only time will tell.

But Ateneo has a good rotation to help out Long. Tiu is coming back as strong as ever and will be ably supported by Barracoso, Al-Hussaini, Reyes, Arao and Laterra.

Plus Point: Overseas training has surely helped this team. The team also looks well conditioned

Minus Points: Ateneo has been known for starting strong but ending the season slow. Last year, they were on fire in the first round and slowly lost steam coming into the Final Four. It’s also a very young team. Norman Black still has to prove he can coach college basketball. He is a good pro basketball coach but college ball is a different ballgame all together.

Question 4: Is UE ready to break the semifinals jinx that has been plaguing them throughout the pre-season?

The UE Warriors are a very good team on paper. However, starting from the Final Four of UAAP Season 69, UE has found a way to come one game short of the finals. In this year’s pre-season tournaments, it was the same thing. The team is well coached, but loses their composure in the end game.

Plus points: An almost intact line-up from last year. UE is hungry for a title.

Minus Points: End game jitters. UE needs a court leader that can take this team over the hump.

Question 5: Will UP’s controversial rookies make an immediate impact?

It will take about a season more for this very young but talented team to mature into a contender. The Maroons picked up Gamboa from Ateneo. They got 2 good junior players in Rivera and Lopez from FEU in the controversial issue that brought out the “red shirt rule”. Woody Co won Rookie of the Year last season and former Greenies de Asis and Reyes will be coming from a very impressive Season 69.

Plus Points: Having players come from different junior UAAP teams will always motivate them to play well against the schools they came from. Of course no one can discount the coaching of Joe Lipa.

Minus Points: The loss of Marvin Cruz, took away the experience that this team badly needs. This team has to believe they can win.

Question 6: Will FEU’s rookie laden line-up, surprise the other teams?

Definitely! After being dismantled after last season’s dismal showing, FEU will be coming into this year’s season under the radar. They have a team of mostly rookies. However, this team is not an inexperienced team. The players they have are matured and definitely will surprise other teams. Watch out for this guy Cawaling. He is a star in the making and will probably walk away with the Rookie of the Year honors.

Plus Points: Like last season’s Growling Tigers, the Tamaraws are going to catch many teams unprepared. They are well coached and well trained.

Minus points: You can’t take away the rookie jitters that come from playing in the UAAP. The team still does not have an on-court leader and this always affects close games.

Question 7: Will NU finally break into the Final Four?

I believe that NU can finally break into the Final Four. They have the talent with Asoro, Fernandez, Jahnke, Lingao-Lingao and Catamora. They also have a decent bench to back up their starting line-up. If NU does not make the Final Four this year, then they will have to wait for a long time again.

Plus Points: Experience will be key. Asoro and Fernandez can match-up against any two players in the league.

Minus Points: Confidence has always been a problem for NU. Their end game is always suspect and it is again this year.

Question 8: Will Bogs Adornado make a difference at Adamason?

I believe that Adornado will make a difference. He is Mr. Cool and is not pressured to win. Regardless of what many say, the departure of Bono will be good for this team. They depended on him too much. This team has nothing to lose and even if they win only 2 or 3 games, it will affect the standing of whomever team they beat.

Plus Points: No pressure. They are rebuilding and therefore not much is expected of them.

Minus Points: Too many rookies and lack of exposure will definitely affect the Falcons

My Final Four prediction: La Salle, UE, FEU and either Ateneo or NU.

Finals: I’ll go out on a limb here and say La Salle vs. FEU.

Let the comments begin!




One response

4 07 2007

very nice of you to predict FEU to enter the Final 4 and eventually the Finals.

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