Very Interesting UAAP 1st Round

11 08 2007

Let’s start at the bottom. The University of the Philippines looks like a team of boys playing among men. Joe Lipa does not seem to have the consistent recruitment program needed for this league. Though he was able to get Lopez and Rivera from FEU, he should have made a strong effort to find a big man that he so badly needs. Recruitment for UP should not be difficult considering that it is the country’s premiere learning institution.

I also think that Lipa’s coaching style is quite different from the younger coaches like the Pumarens, Capacio, Jarencio and Black. It’s either he adjusts to the changes in the game or gives way to a younger coach like maybe Magsanoc.

The 2nd round will be more or less a replica of the first round for the Fighting Maroons.

Adamson came from their first ever Final Four appearance last year and have had a few games where they gave their opponents a scare. The trio of Cabahug, Hugnatan and Canuday have been at the center of this team’s efforts. Yet it is only Cabahug who has been consistent. Bogs Adornado knew the big obstacle he had to face with the departure of Ken Bono. He has done as much as could with what little he has. Like the Fighting Maroons, Adamson does not have that big man that Bono was. But unlike UP, they have played a few good games for 3 quarters only to crumble in the fourth.

Adamson may have 1 or 2 wins in the 2nd round that will disrupt the Final Four ambitions of one of the contenders.

National University is a much better team than what their record shows. Their problem is their inability to win the close games. Asoro, Fernandez and Lingao-Lingao could match up against any other front court tandem in the league. But Asoro has not had the breakout season that many expected him to have.

NU also has a very good player in Agular coming off the bench. Their weakness seems to be in the inconsistent play of their point guard Jahnke. All in all, this team may not make it to the Final Four, but will definitely figure in who will. I’m sure all the contending teams do not take the Bulldogs lightly, like they have in the past. They have 3 wins and if they win 4 of their next 7, they might just fall into a tie for that 4th place.

NU will definitely duplicate its win-loss record of the first round but if the breaks go their way in a couple of games, they may end up with a better record. Don’t count the Bulldogs out!

The Ateneo Blue Eagles have had an up and down first round. After losing to powerhouse UE, they came back and beat La Salle. But their celebration was short-lived as they lost to the rookie laden FEU Tamaraws and UST Growling Tigers. The problem with Ateneo is that they depend too much on Chris Tiu. FEU coach Glenn Capacio defended Tiu well and the Eagles were beaten.

UST seemed to have scouted that game and did exactly the same thing. Coach Norman Black has to have more than Chris Tiu. After a good start, Ford Arao seems to have lost his touch. Only Jai Reyes has been consistent. But in this league, a team needs to have production from many players to succeed.

In the 2nd round, Ateneo may have more difficulty than the 1st. They may end up fighting for that 4th and final spot along with NU and FEU.

The FEU Tamaraws were an early favorite of mine. This team has what it takes to beat any team in the league. Though made up mostly of newcomers, these “rookies” are experienced. Cawaling is slowly but surely proving that he could be the 2nd coming of Arwind Santos. Baracael is also a solid player that will definitely just get better. Add to that its height and depth, FEU will be in the thick of the fight for the Final Four.

The down side of the Tamaraws is experience. This is what wins close games. With 6 teams vying for the Final Four, the Tamaraws have to be able to gain the confidence that only comes with experience.

The 2nd round will show a better and more experienced FEU team. If I were the coach of the other teams, I would be very wary of the Tamaraws. I predict FEU taking the 4th slot.

The UST growling Tigers started slow and then strung up 4 wins in 5 games. The solid play of Jervy Cruz is a nightmare for other teams. He is unstoppable! He averages a double-double and is just tearing up the league. The Tigers need a consistent supporting cast to help Cruz out. Ababou has to step up and play consistently well.

Pido Jarencio is doing a great job with this team and he just has to put his temper in check. Just like last year, his team is peaking at the right time. Cuan is the key to this team. If he can start hitting the mid-range shots consistently then he will open up the inside for Jervy Cruz. Teams are giving Cuan an open look from the outside and doubling up on Cruz.

In the 2nd round, UST will just get better. They have a lot of pride and will not get pushed over. They have an excellent team and the key will be consistency. If Mirza continues what he started in the game against Ateneo, it will give them an inside and outside game. But again Cuan is the key

The La Salle team is an enigma. I honestly don’t know how they won 5 games. Maierhofer is playing an average of 10 minutes a game in the last 3 games due to early fouls. Tang has not had a break out game. It is JV Casio and James Mangahas who have been consistent. The Green Archers’ advantage is experience. This is how they have managed to win the close games against UST and NU.

I think La Salle will start peaking at the right time. But it has to start with TY Tang. He has to lead the Archers and direct the offense. Defensively, they are playing well but offensively they need more points from Maierhofer. Rebounds and foul shooting has also been a problem for La Salle.

The Green Archers have not shown their full potential. They are a much better team than what they have shown so far. I think that the losses have taught them more than their victories. Expect them to start playing better basketball.

The UE Red Warriors have steamrolled the competition in the first round. Their extremely deep bench has made them seem unbeatable. Their 2nd stringers could start for other teams. Their defense is awesome and their outside shooting is unbelievable. In the game against La Salle, they hit 80% from the field in the 3rd quarter. Dindo Pumaren has just totally outcoached all the other coaches of the league.

The question though is how much better can UE get? Have they peaked too early? They will definitely come in as either 1 or 2, but will they experience the same letdown that they did last year? It has been proven that the UAAP is about peaking at the right time. Ateneo can attest to that. As all the teams get better in the 2nd round, can UE keep itself ahead of the pack.

After seeing the first round, my pick for the Final Four is UE, La Salle, UST and FEU.




2 responses

12 08 2007

great article!

13 08 2007
The Dont Mind

Can UE sustain its game?

can it repeat the feat of the fabled 14-0 season of UST?


Maybe they can, if the 25 year old player can get away with it.

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