Can UE and NU take the heat?

9 07 2007

Everywhere it’s La Salle. The preseason tournaments were dominated by La Salle. Anyone I talked to says that La Salle will again go all the way this season. Ok, let’s put that tick mark for La Salle for the 1st prize. But for the other 3 teams, who can they be? Let us go over who I think might be 2 of those 3.

The UE Red Warriors:

Familiar Faces: Marcy Arellano, Fhadzmir Bandaying, Mark Borboran, Jorel Canizares, Elmer Espiritu, Kelvin Gregorio, James Martinez, Raffy Reyes, Hans Paul Thiele

Newcomers: Paul Lee, Hezy Vel Acuna, Gino Etrone, Meark Fampulme, Rudy Lingganay

No More: Robert Labagala, Lawrence Briones, Bon-Bon Custodio

Coach: Dindo Pumaren
Asst. Coach: Ferdinand Ravena, Victor Escudero
Video Coordinator: Lorenzo Yulo

Last year, they had their share of controversy. Last year, they came very close to a finals appearance, losing to the current UAAP champs, the UST Growling Tigers, in a close Final 4 contest. A team almost intact from last year will hopefully reverse the fortunes of a once proud basketball institution. With the exit of Robert Labagala, the Red Warriors will have to transfer the quarterbacking chores via a committee led by James Martinez and Raffy Reyes, on occasions Marcy Arellano will take the helm and try pitch-in.

Since Coach Pumaren took over as coach, the Red Warriors have been lacking in size if not in experience. But this season, the Red Warriors will have both size and experience in the shaded area. Mark Borboran and Hans Thiele are both versatile, Kelvin Gregorio has matured and Elmer Espiritu has always been reliable. UE will boast one of the most athletic big men in the league. Coming off the bench will be another versatile player in Jorel Canizares that can play both ends. Paul Lee is an explosive and probably an exciting rookie to watch. And UE can now rebound then explode in transition, defend both inside and the perimeter.

In the past, the Red Warriors engaged their opponents on offense with various traps to cover their deficiencies on individual defense. This year, with their size and experience, they can stand toe to toe in the shaded lane with the rest of the pack.

A lot of skeptics are zeroing in on the ability of the Red Warriors to finish games. A team with an intact line-up can be intimidating especially if they have been playing for so long. But who, in tight situations, do you expect will finish the job for the Red Warriors? Who will have the ball at crunch time? Who will be their money man?

But with all the hype that goes with them, skeptics still remain doubtful of the Red Warriors chances, after all, this is what Coach Pumaren would definitely welcome, a chance to operate below the radar. And because of their line-up on paper, it is hard to believe that the Red Warriors will not figure as a final four candidate.

NU Bulldogs:

Familiar Faces: Edwin Asoro, Jonathan Jahnke, Cyrus Malagueno, Joseph Lingao-Lingao, Jonathan Fernandez, Chris Catamora, Michael Luy, Christopher de la Cruz, Michael Salvado

Not there: Dave Catamora, Howard Flor, Jesset Garcia, Julian Cooper.

Newcomers: John Aguilar, Mervin Boloran, Jessey Galora, Jewel Ponferrada, Aaron Galapon, Joseph Terso

This is another team that will enter the season with an intact line-up. For 3 years, the basketball circle has been waiting for this team to grow up. This UAAP 70 season, the Bulldogs will hopefully come full circle and present a different look. The Bulldogs boasts probably the best small man combination in the league. Edwin Asoro, the multi-skilled Jonathan Fernandez and Jay Jahnke will form the backcourt for NU. You put them on the floor and you form a good and exciting transition combination.

Joseph Lingao-Lingao will still be the main man the middle for the Bulldogs. But for 3 years, the problem for the Bulldogs is the lack of size and power at the forward spot. With the arrival of power forward John Aguilar, the Bulldogs can easily shift from defense to its quick kill offense because it now has the extra man to take care of the boards. In the half-court, Aguilar can attack the post and help settle down the Bulldogs’ offense.

Coach Manny Dandan will now have the luxury of going 9-man deep because coming off the bench will be veterans Cyrus Malagueno, Chris Catamora, Jewel Ponferrada and Michael Salvado. The four of them can do the little things that will keep the Bulldogs in the hunt.

Coach Dandan also can point exactly were the ball will go during crunch time. That will not be the issue here for the Bulldogs. But as a team, can they survive and control tempo plus the outcome of the game? For sure, the Bulldogs will hustle and attack from inside and out, but sustaining that energy for 48 minutes will be the next big question mark for NU.

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3 responses

9 07 2007
Jayvee

La Salle might have won most of the offseason tourneys but UE is still the top-ranked teams. Hell I’d put Ateneo over La Salle in the pre-season rankings.

9 07 2007
Jayvee

Oh typo error. That should be top-ranked team, not top-ranked teams. Sorry for the typo error.

10 07 2007
Mike Abasolo

I would definitly agree with you that UE is a top ranked team. The way Ateneo played Adamson in thier last game, they cant play like that all throughout? I’m kinda disapppointed with Ateneo, they can run but they cant always hide. DLSU is still the favorite. But UE getting the most out of UST will be a plus for confidence.

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