DLSU

UAAP Season 77 Team Performances

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The second round of the Season 77 UAAP Men’s Basketball Tournament is over and the Final Four games start this Wednesday, September 23. So how did the different teams perform? Let me count the ways…

1. Ateneo- Unbelievable! Who would have thought that Ateneo would top the elimination round? Though they had to go thru the eye of the needle in many of their matches, a win is a win no matter what. No team can count Ateneo out even if leading by 19 points with 7 minutes remaining, as FEU can attest to. This is definitely Kiefer Ravena’s team and wherever Kiefer goes, the team goes.

2. FEU – Surprising! During the pre-season, critics predicted FEU to fight for a Final Four spot. Not the twice-to-beat advantage. With the loss of Terrence Romeo and RR Garcia, the team learned how to pass the ball and play like a team. Mike Tolomia has become the new leader of the team and Mac Belo has been a revelation. FEU could have even finished number 1 had they not suffered a meltdown vs Ateneo in the last playing date of the second round.

3. DLSU – Embarrassing! DLSU won it all last year and have even improved their roster for this year. They are 3-deep in every position and were supposed to dominate this year by going 14-0! So what happened? DLSU all season long seemed to be content to win with just enough effort which was dangerous because they were ambushed by Feu and Ateneo to start their season at 0-2. Then they lost Thomas Torres and had other injuries. Why the coaching staff didn’t complete their 16-man roster haunted them. Though they won most of their games after that, they weren’t that dominating. Then, on the night before an important game vs FEU to determine which team gets twice to beat advantage, two key players participate in a fashion show. WTF?! Sorry about that but what stupidity is that! Where are your priorities? If you really had dengue, even a mild one, common sense says it’s best to rest! I guess the money was too big to pass up. And I thought you were student-athletes with a benefactor who takes care of everything. I hope for your sake it was all well worth it.

4. NU – Overachieved. Give credit to Coach Eric Altamirano for molding his players into a cohesive unit despite losing Bobby Ray Parks. This team plays tough defense and is anchored by their import Aroga. NU players are tall and athletic and most of all have learned not to collapse in the endgame. This makes them very dangerous.

5. UE – Regrettable. This pre-season top 2 pick started off at 3-4 then finished with a 6-1 run to force a playoff with NU to determine the fourth placer. Charles Mammie is the best center in the UAAP who dominates games but at times, he disappears too! Roi Sumang is a super-guard but he didn’t play that well this season. Maybe his style of play doesn’t fit the Pumaren system. UE had the momentum going into the do-or-die game but somehow faltered. I give credit to Altamirano out-coaching Pumaren to boot out UE and UE has one year to ponder what to do next.

6. UST- “Sayang.” UST had a chance of entering the Final Four with a core of Abdul, Mariano and Ferrer. Mariano didn’t play well all season. Only God knows why. Then when Kevin Ferrer went down with a season-ending wrist injury, so did the chances of UST. I believe they only beat the teams lower than them. Next year UST has to overhaul their lineup.

7. UP – Forgettable. Their coach predicted 3 wins. And when UP beat Adamson in the first round, it seemed pretty doable. But alas, as games went by, it seemed the most UP could win was two. Then they nearly beat Ateneo had Mikee Reyes converted even one free throw. That would have sent the Final Four standings topsy- turvey and UP would have had a bigger bonfire! But it wasn’t meant to be and they even lost to a determined Adamson squad.

8. Adamson – Hopeful. With 11 rookies and a new coach what could one expect? Maybe 14 losses but just avoid being blown out. Well that really didn’t happen and I’m giving credit to Adamson fans for still coming out to cheer for their young team. Next year they will have more experience playing together and they should win more games.

Fans were treated to many exciting games this UAAP Season 77 and the Final Four seems to be an unpredictable one. Ateneo is number 1 and will play number 4 NU which it hasn’t beaten in two years. And defending champion DLSU needs to beat FEU twice when it has already lost to FEU three straight times. Something’s gotta give and may the best team win!

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UAAP Team Performance in Season 77 to date

We are now well into the second round of the UAAP Men’s Basketball Season 77 tourney. Before the season started, my personal ranking of teams were as follows:

1. DLSU

2. UE

3-6. ADMU, FEU, NU and UST (not in any particular order)

7-8. Adamson and UP

So how have the teams performed so far? This is just my personal opinion, not scientific at all. Plus I’m Atenean so there will be some bias. Hehehehe.

DLSU¬†– So-so. When DLSU went 0-2 they were definitely underachieving. DLSU is practically intact and should be blowing away each and every opponent. But they aren’t doing that at all. They seem to be coasting and doing just enough to win. So when they faced FEU and ADMU, both of which torched them from the outside, they definitely got burned. Now they have won 6 straight games but still not in the dominant fashion most fans expected them to be. DLSU likes to place themselves behind the radar so I believe if you ask them they will say they are happy where they stand right now. Teng Animo Rin! ūüôā

UE – Underachieving. With Roi Sumang and Charles Mammie dominating their positions and enough role players to help them, UE should be a shoo-in for the Final Four, maybe even in the Finals! What happened to them? They have a good coach naman. Their vaunted press gives them many free points. I believe they are just having a hard-luck season. How many games have they lost by only 2 points? Overtime loss. UE starts strong but maybe because of the press they run out of gas in the end. Sayang. What could have been.

ADMU – Overachieving. Who would have thought they would lead after the first round and is presently 2nd place in the tourney this late into the season. With numerous rookies and a new system, Ateneo needed ¬†to jell quickly. Since ADMU didn’t join any pre-season tourneys, no one really knew how to rank them. It was just safe to say that they would vie for a Final Four ticket. Kiefer Ravena is having an MVP-type of season and Ateneo needs him to perform in their remaining games.

NU РOverachieving.  After the departure of Bobby Ray Parks, many thought there went the fortunes of NU. But NU is well-coached. Kudos to their coaching staff for defining the role of each player and making them play like a team. Oh yes, it helps to have a player like Aroga. Troy Rosario is the new alpha-male for NU.

FEU – Overachieving. Did anyone expect FEU to place second after losing RR garcia and Terrence Romeo? We all know that FEU can now finally share the basketball and Coach Nash Racela is doing a good job mentoring this team. And what can I say about Mac Belo? Simply Amazing! This guy is for real! Good for him.

UST – Sayang. Well everybody knows that UST will be a different team without Jeric Teng. Who will lead this team? Aljon Mariano, (Paula) Abdul and Kevin Ferrer should carry the team but all of them have had their fair share of misfortune. Vigil and Subido have their moments but this isn’t their year yet. Looks like they will miss the Final Four this year unless…

Adamson – Forgettable. Ok they have 11 rookies but scoring a measly 2 points in a quarter is simply horrendous! They now own the dubious record of having the fewest points scored in a quarter in a UAAP tourney EVER! Then they seem to be having coaching problems. This is definitely the longest season for them in recent history.

UP – Rollercoaster? I can’t seem to describe their season. UP has won one game so far. Does that make them Overachievers? Ok they will probably win their 2nd game vs Adamson. So should there be another bonfire? Their coach predicted 3 wins. If so, they are underachieving. UP does well up to the third quarter; then when the opponents make a run, UP seems helpless to stop it. I feel if they had one more star player, their fortunes would change.

I’m sure many will disagree and say I should have said this or I should’t have said that but I don’t really mind. Give me your counterpoints in the comments section and maybe we can have a lively discussion. I had fun doing this impromptu analysis and I hope you did too. Enjoy the rest of the season!

Good Game, DLSU

It's Ateneo vs DLSU!

It’s Ateneo vs DLSU!

Good game, DLSU. You deserve this one. When Jeron Teng started the game strong and took matters into his own hands in the first quarter, I was telling myself, “Yes you are playing well now but you will fade in the fourth quarter.” In the second quarter, it was Kiefer Ravena’s turn to sizzle but we were still behind at the half. During the third quarter Ateneo made it’s run and closed the gap and by the fourth quarter it was a nip-and-tuck affair.

Just like the first game, whichever team that can make the shots and make the stops in the endgame, wins. Jason Perkins field goal gave DLSU the cushion it needed. Chris Newsome tried to save the day but came up short. The key here is that Jeron Teng made his free throws in the clutch. In fact, he didn’t miss! Kiefer Ravena scored only 7points in the second half but his supporting cast fought a good fight. Let’s just give credit to the DLSU coaching staff for making the necessary adjustments.

We won the first game and we were in cloud 9. DLSU won this game. Should we feel sad? Maybe just a bit because we care. At the start of the season, I don’t think any of us expected that we could beat DLSU twice in the regular season. Winning once would have been good enough. Remember DLSU is intact and the team to beat this year. They may have many players injured but this doesn’t really matter to them because they were built to be 2-3 strong per position. One goes down, someone else capable will step up. Watch out for Rivero in the future!

Just remember, our goal of this season is to reach the Final Four. Ending the first round with a 6-1 record is heaven sent, but we also don’t want to be limping to the Final Four. Of the teams in this tourney, barring any major injuries, we should get wins from UP and Adamson. Then, hopefully, we ¬†can grab three wins from the remaining teams. So this loss is only a glitch in our quest for a Final Four spot.

The road doesn’t get¬†easier, though. ¬†We next play UE on Wednesday with two athletic imports and Roi Sumang looking for payback. Let’s continue to support the team and give them One Big Fight!

Ateneo -La Salle Round 2 : More Players Doesn’t Guarantee a Win

Analyzing this game is difficult. For Ateneo, you know what to expect. It’s the Phenom. Wherever Kiefer Ravena goes, Ateneo goes. So I guess for DLSU, the strategy is simple: Stop Kiefer. Of course, that’s easier said than done. Kiefer burned them in their last outing with consecutive 3-pointers. But Kiefer can’t do it alone. Since DLSU is bigger, it is imperative that the outside sniping of Von Pessumal, Chris Newsome and Arvin Tolentino hit their marks. The Ateneo big men are expected to hold the fort but can Gotladera shine again? Will DLSU prepare for Gotladera? Hack-A-Gotladera? It’s a legitimate strategy but I feel it’s such a cop out.¬†I hope Gotladera spent some time polishing his free throws.

At the moment I believe DLSU only has 9 players. For sure Thomas Torres is out. Some people decry that situation but hey they could’ve filled up all the slots but they opted only for 14 players. Well, this team was built to be 3-strong per position. Someone goes down, someone else can step up. I’m sure the injured players are dying to play. THIS IS ATENEO – LA SALLE FOR PETE’S SAKE! All stats go out the window for now. This is for school pride. DLSU is the defending champion and they are aching for PAYBACK since losing in the first round.¬†Jeron Teng will probably get his usual numbers, if not a bit more since he will try to carry this team. Same with Almond Vosotros whose 3-point shooting must go in to open the Ateneo defense. But Ateneo’s biggest thorn will be Jason Perkins. Expect Perkins to manhandle his defenders. Does Perasol and the rest of the Ateneo team have something special for him?¬†Maybe they do. Ateneo was able to shackle the powerful Mammie in the 2nd half of their last game versus UE.

So who is going to win? Hard to say. Too many intangibles and unforeseen circumstances. I would say ATENEO has the edge in this game. ¬†Maybe they can exploit their manpower advantage. But one thing ¬†must happen, Ateneo must exhibit the killers’ instinct because DLSU is dangerous and out for vengence. Moreover, the sixth man of the Blue Eagles – the crowd cheering “ONE BIG FIGHT!” – have to be in full force to motivate the team. No lead is safe against DLSU. One misstep and we will pay. Expect all-out war on Sunday. Abangan!

BTW I wonder what uniform the coaches will use for the game. Do they dare…?