University Athletic Association of the Philippines
The Athletic Mind: Rookie Watch, the Whole Nine Yards
by Sid Ventura
I hate it when my writing schedule gets interrupted. For the past three years, I’ve always divided my Rookie Watch into two separate articles, the first part for the rookies of Ateneo, Adamson, DLSU and FEU, and the second part for the NU, UE, UP and UST froshes. That way I can give adequate column space to all the teams.
But since the Soc Rivera issue surfaced two weeks ago, I felt compelled to write something about it for my first column last week. I was supposed to write Rookie Watch Part 1. And since I’m on a very tight schedule, I am forced to cram the discussion of the rookies of all eight teams into one column. So forgive me, then, if some rookies get fewer column inches than others.
Before I begin, let me explain how Rookie Watch goes. I’ve often been asked why I bother to include transferees and promotees from Team B in my annual Rookie Watch series, when the UAAP has officially ruled that they aren’t. Well, first of all, I think it would be of great service to the reading public if they would be properly introduced to those players who will be seeing action in the league for the first time, regardless of their age or playing experience. Whenever we see a new face donning our favorite team’s uniform, don’t we always go, “who’s that guy?” Rookie Watch aims to answer that question as best it can.
Second, this column is not an official league mouthpiece, so I can pretty much make my own rules (and, unlike a certain Board I know, not change them every 10 minutes).
Adamson. Lots of new faces for the Falcons this year, either eight or nine depending if Patrick Cabahug comes back for his final year. So as of this writing, it’s not yet sure exactly who the rookies will be. But allow me to discuss those who are under consideration.
First and foremost would be five-eight Jerick Cañada, a scrawny but speedy point guard who can really push the ball. He averaged 5.7 points and 3.3 assists in six games in the Nike Summer League. I’ve also heard that juniors stand-out Jeff Olalia is back after a brief fling over at Taft. Olalia averaged 14.1 points and 11.3 rebounds last season to power the Baby Falcons to a third-place finish. Julius Colina, who like Cañada comes from the Falcons training pool, is a six-three big man who is still a bit raw and tentative. His NSL averages, also over six games, were 6.8 points and 4.5 boards. Small forward Janus Lozada, another training pool member, is around six-two but just like Colina is still raw. He averaged 4.8 points and 2.0 boards in the NSL. Two recruits from Ken Bono’s alma mater Iloilo Chinese Commercial High School, point guard Kirby Sellado and small forward Jason Salvado, have the talent but may still be too inexperienced to crack the line-up.
Others in the running include slasher Francis Dela Paz, off-guard Roilan Aguilo, power forward Robbie Celiz, and guard-forward Aldrin Margallo.
Ateneo. The Blue Eagles will have four new faces in their line-up this season – guard-forward Kirk Long, small forward Raymond “Bacon” Austria, power forward Nonoy Baclao, and, from the looks of things, guard-forward Chris Sumalinog.
Of the three, Long has easily received the most hype. Can he live up to it? I’ve seen the kid play and he strikes me as someone with good basketball sense and feel for the game, although I honestly don’t know how long it will take him to adjust to the UAAP style of play. For sure, his golden locks will make him a favorite target of some rugged players.
Austria was last year’s juniors MVP from the Eaglets, where he averaged 13.3 points and 8.3 rebounds on 66% FG shooting. I don’t expect him to duplicate those figure anytime soon, though, as he will struggle to find playing time behind Zion Laterre and Ken Barracoso.
Baclao is a six-five transferee from Western Visayas State University and the most likely among the four to contribute right away. He should help with the rebounding and shot-blocking chores. Sumalinog, a six-one swingman from Cebu by way of Reedley International, will most likely ride the bench for majority of the season. But when he does get in, expect him to give quality minutes. He’s a fearless competitor who can get his shot off without too much difficulty.
De La Salle. Following their suspension, the Green Archers effectively have two seasons’ worth of rookies this year. From the supposed Season 69 batch, you have point guard Simon Atkins, forward-center Marko Batricevic, shooter Bader Malabes and center Bryan Ilad. From this year’s batch, there’s slasher Rejan Lee and center Ferdinand, although it may be argued that Lee could have also cracked the line-up last year.
Atkins led La Salle-Zobel to its first-ever juniors crown in 2005, posting impressive numbers of 11.5 points, 10.6 rebounds, 7.4 assists and 3.7 steals per outing. He has struggled somewhat at the seniors level, but it’s tough to get playing time if you’re subbing for TY t*&^ . Batricevic, the six-six Serb, is still learning to play the post, but he has improved from last year and should give serviceable minutes down low.
Fil-Bahrainian Malabes is the newcomer who impresses me the most. Very athletic, can shoot well from the outside, and has a good nose for the ball. He is coming off an injury, though, which has kept him out of the Archers’ line-up in recent NSL and FilOil league games. But make no mistake, he will be a crucial part of Franz Pumaren’s rotation.
Ilad is a transferee from the Philippine College of Criminology who will provide toughness and rebounding down low. Lee, a Xavier graduate who was on La Salle’s Team B for the longest time, is like a young Joseph Yeo. Finally, the Indonesian Ferdinand is a six-five rookie from La Salle Greenhills who is still very raw and may find it hard to get minutes behind Rico Maierhoffer, Batricevic, Ilad, and Kish Co.
FEU. The Tamaraws will be parading the most number of rookies this year with 10, so forgive me if I just briefly mention some of them. Mark Barroca is a spunky and tough-as-nails point guard who isn’t flashy but is effective just the same. Ron Cabagnot, cousin of PBA pro Alex, was the last cut of Bert Flores last year. He stands around six-one and will struggle for playing time behind Benedict Fernandez. Paul Sanga, meanwhile, is a five-eleven shooter who is lean and not particularly athletic.
Jens Knuttel from FEU-FERN deserves an award for being the first FEU rookie in years who is a legitimate college freshman. Knuttel averaged 8.9 points and 4.1 assists for the Baby Tams last year. Forwards JR Cawaling and Riel Cervantes, though, are the best among the lot, typical FEU players who are athletic and quick. Cawaling averaged 5.8 ppg and Cervantes 6.7 in the NSL. Finally, Aldrech Ramos is a lean six-four center with decent skills. The last three slots will most probably go to six-three power forward Sanny Abaring, six-five center Russell Yaya, and six-three forward-center Jun Tanuan.
NU. The Bulldogs will have seven rookies this year, led by a pair of frontliners in Raymund Aguilar and Jewel Ponferrada. Aguilar is a six-four transferee from San Sebastian who is a good rebounder and post scorer. He brings experience and court smarts to the table. Ponferrada, a six-five find from Tacloban, is well-built with good moves down low. These two should be good complements to Joseph Lingaolingao.
Another rookie ready to step up is six-two Mark Joseph Berry, who averaged a respectable 9.8 points and 9.0 boards in the NSL. Other newcomers fighting it out for roster spots include point guard John Carlo Nuyles, forward Elmer Fabula, forward Aaron Galapon, forward Mervin Boloran and guard Joseph Terso.
UE. The Red Warriors only found space for three newcomers this year: shooting guard Paul Lee, power forward Mark Pampulme, and shooting guard Gino Etrone. The six-foot Lee hails from the 2005 NCAA juniors champion San Sebastian Staglets and spent last year on the Warrior’s reserve pool. He’s an athletic shooter who will most likely be Marcy Arellano’s chief reliever. Pampulme is a wide-bodied banger with not too much quickness but who should get the job done off the boards. Etrone is a lean shooter who doesn’t figure to see too much playing time this year.
UP. For the second straight year, the Maroons will be fielding in nine rookies. And for the second straight year, the rookies are impressive. Let’s start off with the three members of last year’s Junior Division Mythical Five. Easily, the most controversial is six-four forward-center Soc Rivera, who this early is already drawing comparisons to FEU great Arwind Santos. Rivera averaged 13.5 points, 11.3 rebounds and 4.2 blocks last year for the Baby Tams. His fellow Baby Tam Mark Lopez, meanwhile, is an extremely athletic six-footer with very good defensive skills and a nice shooting touch. Lopez had norms of 12.1 points, 9.3 boards, and 1.7 steals last year. The Holy Trinity is completed by five-eight point guard Mike Gamboa from Ateneo, who averaged 13.3 points and 3.9 assists for the champion Eaglets.
A third Baby Tam, Dexter Rosales, is a speedy point guard who averaged 12.8 points and 3.8 assists last year. Rosales at times played better than Gamboa in the pre-season games, so expect him to make an impact. The fifth rookie who will likely see significant playing time is six-four center Andrew Marfori, who spent a year in the training pool after a stellar 2005 season at UPIS where he averaged 13.6 points, 12.0 rebounds and 4.7 blocks. Rivera may be quicker and Magi Sison may be taller, but Marfori is easily the smartest of UP’s big men.
The others fighting it out for the last three slots are six-one small forward Julius Wong from Letran, a very athletic kid who could be UP’s small forward of the future, six-one slasher Dioboy Hipolito, six-foot shooter Zarlo Dela Victoria, five-eleven guard Kyle Yulo from San Beda, and six-four center Cyron Lozano from Ateneo de Davao. Hipolito, from Claret, and Dela Victoria, from ADDU, both spent last year in the training pool.
UST. Technically, the defending champs will only have three slots available this year, but since the team’s mainstays haven’t played in public all summer, it’s hard to say who’s in and who’s out. The best bets appears to be point guard Rum Perry Scott, a five-nine transferee from Lyceum, Kashim Mirza, a six-four wingman (yet another in the UST mold of tall players who play multiple positions), and Hector Badua, an ex-Tiger Cub who is deadly from the outside.
Re: University Athletic Association of the Philippines
Season Preview Part One
by Sid Ventura of UBelt.com
A fellow sportswriter who covers the UAAP beat for one of the country’s leading broadsheets sent me an interesting text message the other day. I’ve since deleted it as part of my daily routine, but he essentially said that this year’s UAAP basketball season would perhaps feature the most balanced competition the league has seen in a long time.
I have to agree. There’s no clear-cut heavy favorite, and at the same time you can’t write anyone off, either. In fact, I’m expecting the fifth- to seventh-placers to finish just a game or two outside the Final Four. Of course, I have to throw in the usual disclaimer about no major injuries or last-minute eligibility issues cropping up.
Aside from a pretty balanced filed, I’m looking forward to this season for two more reasons. One, I think we have the most talented freshman class since 2003. And by freshman I mean UAAP Board-definition freshman, i.e., those straight out of high school. The class of ’03 had Ken Bono, Marvin Cruz, JV Casio, Patrick Cabahug, Roel Hugnatan, and Chris Tiu, among others. The class of ’07, in my opinion, is equally talented. Heck, they might even be more talented: Kirk Long, Bacon Austria, Mike Gamboa, Soc Rivera, Mark Lopez, Ferdinand, Julius Wong, Jeff Olalia. These guys are all legitimate blue-chip recruits.
Two, we’re one big, happy family again. La Salle is back after that PEP test fiasco, and you can bet the farm they’ll be out to prove something.
As usual, I’ll be giving my team-by-team preview in alphabetical order, two teams per week. I’ll start off this week, then, with Adamson and Ateneo.
No mo’ Bono.
Adamson University Soaring Falcons
Coach: William “Bogs” Adornado
Assistants: Jing Ruiz and Mon Santos
Additions: PG Jerick Cañada, PF Jan Julius Colina, SF Francisco dela Paz, SF Jonas Lozada, SG Aldrin Margallo, and PF Jeff Olalia.
Subtractions: Coach Leo Austria, SF Marc Agustin, PF/C Arold Basilio, C Ken Bono, SG JB Orera, SG Mico Pacheco, PG Marvin Poloyapoy, and PG/SG Mike Yong
Line-up as of June 13:
Patrick Cabahug - 6’2”
Jerick Cañada - 5’8”
Leo Canuday - 5’10”
Jan Julius Colina - 6’3”
Francisco dela Paz – 6’1”
Paul Gonzalgo – 5’9”
Reynaldo Gorospe – 6’4”
Roel Hugnatan – 6’5”
Jonas Lozada – 6’2”
Aldrin Margallo – 6’0”
Jeff Olalia – 6’0”
Allan Dominic Santos – 6’4”
Junard Yambot – 6’2”
(note: the coaching staff is still evaluating whether to fill up the rexamining two slots, and if so, which player or players to tap.)
Another year, another coach. The Falcons enter Season 70 with their fourth head coach in as many years. And although new coach Bogs Adornado was an assistant to Leo Austria last year, it hardly guarantees a smooth transition. For one thing, Ken Bono is gone, apparently not wanting to have anything to do with starting over again with a new coach. For another, can you blame him? Almost half these guys are new.
But Adornado doesn’t think they’re all that bad.
“We have a program that we’re following,” the three-time PBA MVP told me. “We still run some of the patterns of Leo. It’s still there. Nadagdagan lang ng kaunti.”
So is duplicating last year’s stirring run still possible?
“I just hope so, ma-reach man lang naming ang fourth. But as you know, Bono is no longer around.”
Which means sweet-shooting Patrick Cabahug is now the Falcons’ main man. Adornado himself admitted that with Bono gone, their inside game went from dominating to virtually non-existent. Roel Hugnatan is still there, but he will be hardpressed to man the post since his fellow frontliners – Allan Santos, Rey Gorospe plus greenhorn Julius Colina – are serviceable at best.
Cabahug averaged 13.8 points and 6.5 rebounds last season, and he must surpass those numbers this year if the Falcons are to have any chance. He should easily average at least 15 points a game. With another season’s worth of PBL experience, expect him to be among the league’s top three scorers.
Another veteran – Leo Canuday – is thankfully back at full strength after that unspeakable freak elbow injury he suffered last year, the memory of which still makes me cringe. Canuday will be leading a young guard corps composed of promising point guard Jerick Cañada, offguard Aldrin Margallo, and sophomore Paul Gonzalgo. But promising as they are, these guys are hardly among the league’s elite. A fifth guard, Mico Pacheco, sadly will miss the entire season after falling victim to a group of holduppers who smashed his jaw. Pacheco, a talented and athletic shooter, was supposed to have played a bigger role this coming season, and his loss, while not comparable to that of Bono’s, will hurt nonetheless. Additionally, Marc Agustin re-injured his knee and will sit out the season as well. The Falcons will no doubt miss his….what, exactly?
Adornado is pretty high on Cañada, a find from Cebu who is a major upgrade over Marvin Poloyapoy (then again, who isn’t?), and Margallo, a six-foot guard who hails from Samar.
“Na-develop lang itong mga ito from our Team B,” he says, with a hint of pride in his voice.” Wala kaming Class A player from other schools na ready to play. We have to develop our own talents.”
A last-minute addition who could prove to be a future star is Olalia, the ex-Baby Falcon who averaged 14.1 points and 11.2 rebounds as a power forward for the jayvee last season. But standing just a shade over six feet, he may need to adjust first to playing small forward.
Overall, though, I don’t see the Falcons marching back to the Final Four. The loss of Bono will be difficult to overcome, and Adornado simply doesn’t have enough talent to work with, nor enough time to harness whatever talent he does have. Adamson will be lucky to finish fifth.
Adornado also thinks this year will see several teams slug it out for top honors.
“UST, UE, even La Salle has a strong line-up. And even Ateneo, everybody. Sa akin, ang dark horse is NU, because they’re still intact. In fact, nadagdagan pa sila.”
Black Takes Another Crack
Ateneo De Manila University Blue Eagles
Coach: Norman Black
Assistant: Sandy Arrespacochaga, Gabby Severino, Jamike Jarin and Gene Afable
Additions: Assistant coach Gene Afable, SF Bacon Austria, PF Nonoy Baclao, SG/SF Kirk Long, and PF Jobe Nkemakolam
Subtractions: PG Macky Escalona, SF/PF JC Intal, PF Doug Kramer, and SF Johann Uichico
Line-up as of June 13:
Rabah Al-Hussaini – 6’7”
Raymond Austria - 6’2”
Claiford Arao – 6’5”
Severino Baclao - 6’4”
Ken Joseph Barracoso - 6’2”
Yuri Escueta - 5’8”
Zion Laterre - 6’3”
Kirk Long - 6’0”
Eman Monfort - 5’7”
Jobe Nkemakolam 6’3”
Martin Quimson - 6’5”
Jose Antonio Reyes - 5’8”
Eric Salamat - 5’10”
Christopher John Tiu - 5’10”
(note: the 15th and final slot is still being contested by Chris Sumalinog and Jeff De Guzman)
After being the number one team they were ticketed to be throughout the elimination round, Ateneo’s loss to UST in the championship series was viewed by some as a disappointing end to a season of high hopes. But don’t tell that to Norman Black.
“Well, actually, last year was not disappointing. We did make it to the championship. That was much better than all the other teams except for UST,” Black told me matter-of-factly.
“Of course, we came up short in the championship series, so that hurt,” the multi-titled coach continued. “But overall, I think my players performed well. They won a lot of games and they had an opportunity to win the championship.”
But with JC Intal, Doug Kramer and Macky Escalona all gone, is there a chance to even duplicate last year’s finish?
“Losing players is part of the game. That’s part of college basketball. I lost L.A. the year before, and you asked me the same question: ‘How are you guys gonna perform this year with the loss of Magnum and L.A.?’
“And we showed you that we could still be competitive with anybody in the league. I expect that to happen again this year.”
And Black says you only need to look at their pre-season performances for proof.
“We’ve won like 24 straight games this off-season. We won the Fr. Martin Cup against San Beda, we swept our games in the Nike league. So I know a lot of people think that Ateneo won’t be very good this year. That’s okay. We’ve shown that we can be very competitive with all the top college teams in the country during the off-season.
“Will that lead to a championship or championship appearance again? Well, we have some players that are quite young, that we are really trying to develop right now, so we’ll have to wait and see.”
By young players, Black is referring to the 18-year-old Rabah Al-Hussaini, 18-year-old Eric Salamat, and 17-year-old Long, all of whom are expected to be major parts of the rotation.
Depending on the match-up, Salamat will either back up veteran Chris Tiu or play alongside him, while Long has the ability to play the one, two, and three positions. In the pre-season games I’ve seen, he has come off the bench for Ken Barracoso at the three spot. Eman Monfort, that gnome of a shooter whom you’d half-expect to be fetched by Snow White after each game, will also probably see some minutes as a two-guard off the bench.
Long should see time at the point guard spot, though, since this is now the Blue Eagles’ weakest point. Intal may have finished runner-up in the MVP race, and Kramer may have been their best rebounder, but methinks it is Escalona’s contributions that will be most difficult to replace, perhaps more on defense than on offense. Yuri Escueta was Escalona’s back-up last season, but it’s obvious he is nowhere near Escalona’s skill level on both ends of the court. And will someone please tell Black that Jai Reyes will never be a point guard?
Al Hussaini will lead a frontline that boasts of three other players standing at least six-four: Ford Arao, Martin Quimson and rookie transferee Nonoy Baclao. While Arao and Quimson will never strike fear into the heart of Jervy Cruz, they are veterans who can give some quality minutes. Baclao should also contribute as well. Plus the returning Jobe Nkemakolam, immensely talented but until recently totally unmotivated, has finally decided to take basketball seriously and will be dangerous in the shaded area.
But even with all these tall players at his disposal, Black knows his team’s ultimate strength.
“We’ll probably be set very much the same as last year, where we ended up number two in scoring and number two in defense. So there won’t be much change as far as philosophy is concerned.
“We have some size that we can use. But at the same time, a lot of our game will probably be centered on Chris and his ability to score.”
Indeed, Tiu is Black’s best offensive weapon, a savvy veteran who is always deadly from the outside but who can also put the ball on the floor. I expect him to be among the top two or three shooting guards this year, along with Jojo Duncil and Marcy Arellano.
Just like Adornado, Black foresees a tight race to the Final Four.
“I don’t think there are gonna be any easy teams for us in the UAAP, at least not this year. But I would imagine La Salle’s gonna be very tough. UST, being the champions. UE, I would probably say are the favorites right now. Each team’s gonna be a very difficult outing for (the other team).”
Bottomline: Ateneo is still a Final Four team, but from there it will get tough.
Next week, we’ll take a look at the comeback kids from La Salle and the new-look FEU crew.
Re: University Athletic Association of the Philippines
Athletic Mind: Season Preview Part 2
by Sidney Ventura
A couple of things I need to get out of the way before we go to Part 2: 1. There’s been a slight change in the line-up of Ateneo. Martin Quimson is out and Mike Baldos is in. Chris Sumalinog has also edged out Jeff De Guzman for the last slot in the line-up. 2. The UP Fighting Maroons will host Maroon Pride, a fund-raising dinner for the varsity to be held on June 30 at the Bahay ng Alumni. Tickets are priced at P3,000. This unfortunately does not include an autographed picture of Gretchen Fullido, who will co-host the affair. 3. Jessica Alba is hot. Okay, we’re good.
De La Salle University Green Archers
Coach: Franz Pumaren
Assistants: Tyrone Bautista, Jack Santiago, Joey Sta. Maria
Additions: PG Simon Atkins, C Marko Batricevic, C Ferdinand, PF/C Brian Ilad, SG/SF Rejan Lee, and SF Bader Malabes
Subtractions: C Junjun Cabatu, SF Ryan Araña, PF JR Aquino, C Mark Benitez, and SG Lionel Rivera
Simon Atkins – 5’8”
Marko Batricevic – 6’6”
Peejay Barua – 6’2”
Joseph Evans Casio – 5’9”
Kish Grover Co – 6’4”
Oliver John Cua – 6’3”
Ferdinand – 6’5”
Brian Ilad – 6’4”
Rejan Lee -5’11”
Rico Maierhofer – 6’5”
Bader Malabes – 6’0”
James Mangahas – 6’3”
Tyrone t*&^ – 5’9”
Pocholo Inigo Villanueva – 5’10”
Arthur Peter John Walsham – 6’4”
For my last Season 69 article, where I did a very early Season 70 preview, I wrote that the Green Archers would be coming off what would essentially be an 18-month off-season. In other words, I felt they would be the most prepared. Not only that, perhaps the most motivated as well. Eight months later, the Archers have won both the Nike Summer League and Fil-Oil Pre-Season Tournament. They are back, and in a big way.
“Well, actually, I don’t know if you can call it motivation, but the players are excited to make a comeback,” coach Franz Pumaren said.
Personally, I’d still call it motivation, but that’s just me. In any case, I think DLSU will be the most dangerous team. They’re deep in every position, and they’re just raring to get back into the league and rip through the opposition. Credit Pumaren for holding the team together while they were serving their suspension.
“During those months, it was so hard to motivate them because they knew we weren’t playing in a major tournament, and it was so hard to really have a good practice,” he said.
“But we used (that time away) to conduct outreach programs, basketball clinics in the south, then of course I think it made the players mature faster and they bonded together as well.
“We’re coming in just trying to be competitive this season because as well all know even though we played four, five, minor tournaments, it’s still different playing in the UAAP.”
By La Salle standards, of course, being “competitive” means at least making it to the Final Four, which this team is a lock to do. I mean, just look at their line-up. They have the most experienced back court in TY t*&^ and Cholo Villanueva.
t*&^ , in my opinion, is now the top point guard in the league, while Villanueva, though not flashy, has matured into a very dependable off-guard who knows how to pick his pick his spots. He still doesn’t have too much of an outside shot, but that’s hardly needed when you have shooters like JV Casio and rookie Bader Malabes coming off the bench. Simon Atkins, the highly touted point guard from La Salle-Zobel, will be t*&^ ’s chief back-up.
At the small forward spot, veterans James Mangahas and OJ Cua will alternate, a not-too-shabby rotation given that both players stand around six-three. And just for kicks, Pumaren also has the luxury of fielding in a triple post frontline, as I have seen him do a few times, with big men Rico Maierhofer, Kish Co and PJ Walsham joining forces with rookies Marko Batricevic, Brian Ilad and Ferdinand. That’s six players standing at least six-four, with Maierhofer and Walsham capable of sliding to the three spot.
Of these six, Maierhofer is clearly the most talented, and he seems poised to have a breakout season. He will be among the top five or six players in the entire league, and this early is being mentioned in MVP discussions. Co, while still a bit slow afoot, is a smart player who can give quality minutes off the bench, while Ilad is the team’s new resident enforcer underneath. Batricevic is still adjusting to life in the post, but his baby hook is almost impossible to block. Walsham is a veteran who, from what I’ve seen, still hasn’t improved too much, while Ferdinand is still raw and will spend more time on the bench than on the floor.
As imposing as their frontline is, the Archers are also flexible enough to go with a three-guard line-up if they so choose. Malabes, Peejay Barua and rookie swingman Rejan Lee can all play the two and three spots effectively.
Barua, though, is coming off an injury that sidelined him for most of the year, so expect him to be on the sidelines initially. Lee, who spent two seasons in >La Salle’s developmental pool, is like a young Joseph Yeo in terms of athleticism and moxie.
Like I said, this team is deep at every position, plus they have chemistry. Factor in the eagerness and motivation to get back into the thick of things, and you have a team that is poised to win it all. If there’s one thing that may be lacking from this team which previous DLSU champion teams had, it’s that one transcendent superstar whom you just knew would step up in big games. Right now I don’t see a Ritualo, Yeo or Cardona type of guy. Maierhofer probably comes closest, but as of now he’s not in the same league as those three.
Regardless, I think that come late September you’ll see the Archers in a familiar situation: battling for the championship.
After the Disbandment
Far Eastern University Tamaraws
Coach: Glenn Capacio
Assistants: Lord Nino Albar, Aboy Castro, and Potit De Vera
Additions: PF Sanny Abaring, PG John Alisbo, PG Mark Barroca, SG Ron Cabagnot, SF JR Cawaling, SF Riel Cervantes, PG Jens Knuttle, C Aldrech Ramos, PF Ron Sanga and PF Jun Tanuan
Subtractions: Coach Bert Flores, SF Billy Ray Afable, C Francis Barcellano, SF Jeff Chan, SF John Dela Cruz, SG John Gonzales, PF RB Mangahas, PG Jerome Villanueva, PG Jonas Villanueva, and PF McJan Vinluan
Sanny Abaring - 6’4”
Marlon Adolfo – 6’2”
John Alisbo - 5’9”
Marnel Baracael - 6’4”
Mark Barroca - 5’9”
Ron Cabagnot - 6’1”
JR Cawaling - 6’3”
Riel Cervantes - 6’2”
Benedict Fernandez - 6’0”
Alfred Gerilla - 6’5”
Jens Knuttle - 5’9”
Aldrech Ramos - 6’6”
Arthur Reyes - 6’2”
Ron Sanga - 6’3”
Edgar Tanuan, Jr. – 6’3”
After Anton Montinola blew his top then blew up his team late last year for earning the dubious distinction of becoming the first defending champion to finish out of the Final Four, a lot of people openly wondered whether he also partially blew up his mind and overreacted. After all, the Tamaraws weren’t really picked to repeat last year, so what was the big deal?
Whatever the real reason, it really doesn’t matter anymore because FEU has always stockpiled on talent and have a big pool from which to choose their new players. Although dropping an experienced big man like RB Mangahas and a promising athlete like Billy Ray Afable may have been questionable, majority of those who got axed were easily replaceable.
Now, with 10 rookies, the most of any team this coming season, FEU can have a fresh start under new coach Glenn Capacio, who nonetheless remains cautious about his team’s chances this year. He also does not feel pressured to produce results right away following that much-publicized disbandment.
“Wala naman masyadong pressure from the school. Sa ngayon, ang target talaga naming, at least makapasok kami sa Final Four,” the former King Tamaraw from the 80s said. “Kasi yung iba, malalakas talaga ang teams, like UE, La Salle and UST. So jumpball na lang yung five six and seven (places). Pero nakikita ko naman sa mga bata, fighting team itong team ko. So anything can happen.”
Especially when you have promising rookies like JR Cawaling, Mark Barroca and Ron Sanga, whom Capacio named as the newcomers most likely to get lots of minutes and contribute right away. There is also Riel Cervantes, a six-two forward, and Jens Knuttle, a point guard who will back up Barroca. These five form the core of a very promising future for the Tamaraws.
But even with these talented youngsters on board, ultimately the team will live and die with its veterans. All five of them. Specifically, frontliners JR Gerilla and Mac Baracael will be at the forefront of the Tamaraws’ attack. Providing support in the wings will be Benedict Fernandez and Marlon Adolfo, the only two remnants of FEU’s 2005 champion team. The fifth veteran, if you can call him that, is second-year player Archie Reyes, who had more games played (nine) than total points scored (five) last season.
Then again, is anyone ever really a rookie in FEU (aside from Knuttle and maybe Cawaling, that is)? On paper you may have a rookie-laden team, but in reality most of these guys have probably been in Morayta since the Arwind Santo-Mark Isip days. They’ve practiced together for such a long time already, I doubt if any of them will be feeling rookie jitters come opening tip-off.
“Never underestimate FEU,” an opposing team’s scout told me. “They always know how to recruit talent and keep that talent hidden until they’re ready for the big time.”
How true. FEU’s recruitment prowess is probably the most underrated in the league. It seems every year they have that player who seemingly comes out of nowhere and debuts big. This year the money is on Cawaling.
The problem is, the stronger teams from last year are relatively intact, and La Salle has come back, so a Final Four slot for the Tamaraws isn’t a sure shot. I see them crowding the leaders in the early going but ultimately finishing in the middle of the pack. Everything will probably come down to their last two games. They just better hope they finish in the upper half, lest they get disbanded again.
Next week, let’s take a look at the NU Bulldogs and UE Warriors.
Re: University Athletic Association of the Philippines
Athletic Mind: Season Preview Part 3
by Sidney Ventura
Out of the Doghouse
National University Bulldogs
Head Coach: Manny Dandan
Assistants: Chico Manabat and Jeff Napa
Additions: PF/C Raymond Aguilar, SG Chris Catamora, SF Mervin Boloran, SG Aaron Galapon, C Jewel Ponferrada, and SG Joseph Tesoro
Subtractions: SF Dave Catamora, PG Julian Cooper, C Howard Flor, PG Jason Malcontento, PF Benner John Salamat.
Raymond John Aguilar – 6’4”
Edwin Asoro - 6’3”
Mervin Boloran – 6’2”
Christopher Catamora 6’1”
Ryan dela Cruz - 6’3”
Jonathan Fernandez - 6’2”
Aaron Paul Galapon – 6’1”
Jessie Floyd Garcia 6’2”
Jonathan Jahnke – 5’9”
Joseph Lingao-Lingao – 6’5”
Michael Luy -5’9”
Cyrus Malagueno – 5’9”
Jewel Ponferrada - 6’4”
Michael Salvado – 5’10”
Joseph Tesoro - 5’10”
The NU Bulldogs, last year’s cellar-dwellers, are ready to kick some serious booty this season, and Coach Manny Dandan knows it.
“Oh, yes, definitely,” was his response when I asked him if they had a chance at the Final Four. I know that the words “NU” and “Final Four” are hardly ever seen in the same sentence together. In fact, I tried googling them and the NU that kept coming up alongside “Final Four” stood for Northwestern University (in lacrosse).
But Dandan feels good about his team for the first time in a long while. And it’s not just because starters Edwin Asoro, Jonathan Fernandez, and Joseph Lingao-lingao are now PBL veterans.
“Yung bench namin ngayon, binibigyan ko ng exposure right now, so yung confidence level mataas na compared to last year. But ang pinakamalaki naming problema ngayon pag bumabalik yung mga PBL players. I’m expecting that the bench with the three of them, aangat sila sabay-sabay.”
The bench refers to, in particular, “(Cyrus) Malagueno, (Jewel) Ponferrada, and Raymond Aguilar. The whole bench is really contributing. Yun ang magandang nangyari ngayon.”
The Bulldogs actually performed well in the pre-season Fil-Oil tournament, reaching the semifinals and even beating NCAA champion San Beda in the elimination round. Then again, they also won the Fr. Martin Cup in 2003 but went on to finish last in the UAAP the same year.
But I don’t think this crew will commit the same mistake. Dandan is right: his bench is the strongest it’s been in years. Credit that to his two promising recruits, Aguilar and Ponferrada, two big men who can score and rebound.
The two will be the perfect complement to the versatile Asoro and the much-improved Lingao-lingao, whose PBL exposure now makes them one of the best 4-5 combinations in the league. In fact, with Aguilar and Ponferrada ready to contribute, Dandan even has the luxury of playing Asoro at the small forward spot, where he is sure to create mismatches with his height and athleticism, and the sweet-shooting Fernandez at the shooting guard position, where he can also be a match-up problem.
Lingao-lingao, I am rating among the top three centers in the league along with Jervy Cruz and Rico Maierhofer. He occupies so much space and uses his girth so well that he is almost impossible to guard in the post without fouling him.
The veterans Malagueno and Chris Catamora (it’s Chris’ turn to play this year, last year it was brother Dave) can be relied upon to provide steady minutes, while sophomores Jessie Garcia and Ryan dela Cruz are now more experienced.
But the player who improved the most, in my opinion, is point guard Jonathan Jahnke. This early I’m already penciling him in for a Most Improved Player award. His shooting has gone up leaps and bounds, he’s playing even better defense, and he’s now just half as likely to blow his top. And to complete his transformation, he has spread the word that he now prefers to be called Jay. Call him Jonathan or call him Jay, just don’t call him an average point guard.
Yet even with all these improvements, Dandan knows better than to be overly optimistic.
“UE, La Salle, Ateneo, FEU are the strong teams,” he said. “It’s going to be a tight race talaga. Anything can happen this season.”
The only thing going against NU is that other teams are equally capable of making the semifinals. This team has got what it takes, no doubt. But each year, it’s always been a question of mental toughness for this motley crew. If the bench has matured like Dandan says it has, then NU has as good a shot as any at making it to the post-season party.
One More Time
University of the East Red Warriors
Head Coach: Dindo Pumaren
Assistants: Bong Ravena and Lawrence Yulo
Additions: SF Val Acuña, SG Gino Etrone, PF/C Mark Fampulme, and SG Paul Lee
Subtractions: PF Lawrence Briones, SG Bonbon Custodio and PG Rob Labagala
Val Acuña – 6’2”
Marcelino Arellano III – 5’10”
Fhadzmir Bandaying – 5’10”
Mark Anthony Borboran – 6’3”
Jorel Canizares – 6’2”
Elmer Espiritu 6’4”
Gino Etrone – 6’0”
Mark Fampulme - 6’4”
Kelvin Gregorio – 6’5”
Paul Lee – 6’0”
Rudy Lingganay – 5’10”
Narciso Llagas – 6’4”
James Vincent Martinez – 5’9”
Rafael Reyes – 5’8”
Hans Thiele – 6’5”
It was same old, same old for the UE Warriors last season. A strong showing in the off-season tournaments. A solid line-up. A sure shot to make the Final Four. A good bet to make the finals. But just like other UE teams in recent years, last year’s edition came up short in the Final Four. Short of a missed tip-in, to be exact.
So what else is there to do, but start all over again and hope to break through this time?
“Same goal as last year, gusto pa rin namin makapasok ng finals,” coach Dindo Puamren declared. But he also knows that this is perhaps his team’s last good shot at the grand prize. “Ito na ang pinakamagandang chance naming kasi next year ang dami nang mawawala, so iyon ang motivation namin.”
There is also the matter of that, um, incident involving he-who-must-not-be-named sometime during their Final Four battle against eventual champion UST, an incident Pumaren is not quick to forget.
“After what happened last year, who knows kung ano sana ang nangyari kung hindi nagkaroon ng problema,” he said, obviously still ruing what could have been but at the same time using it as extra motivation.
“But the way I look at it, the players are very aggressive right now and looking forward to the UAAP. Especially five of my players nakakuha ng PBL experience, yun malaking bagay.”
Those five would be Marcy Arellano, Mark Borboran, Elmer Espiritu, Jorel Canizares and Kelvin Gregorio. Arellano is still his usual deadly self from the outside, while the four others, along with sophomores Narciso Llagas and Hans Thiele and rookie Mark Fampulme, form a very deep frontline rotation.
It’s so deep that Borboran will now be starting at his more natural small forward position, with Canizares, a very capable three himself, being his chief reliever. With Borboran at the three spot, the six-four Espiritu at the four spot, and the six-five Gregorio manning the slot, the Warriors boast of a formidable frontline: tall, athletic and experienced.
Gregorio has improved the most from last year. He’s now more assertive underneath the boards, plus he’s added a few good post moves that suit his athleticism. Espiritu, who’s one of my favorite players, will take care of the shotblocking chores and the rest of the dirty work like he always does.
The back court isn’t too shabby, either, with Arellano sliding to the two spot where he is more comfortable and second-year player James Martinez getting a shot at running the point. The main guard off the bench is the rookie Paul Lee, who spent last year in UE’s training pool. A member of the 2005 NCAA juniors champion SSC Staglets, Lee is quick with good offensive moves. A pair of sophomores, Rudy Lingganay and Jun Bandaying, will rotate at the point and allow Martinez to spend some time at the shooting guard position where he is deadliest.
Maybe it’s the ghost of past failures which have made him wary, but despite this talented bunch, Pumaren downplays their chances, and dismisses the idea that they’re among the top two seeds this year.
“No, I don’t think so. UST is there, La Salle malakas din. I think kaya kami rated is because of my players’ PBL experience.”
Me? I’m going out on a limb by saying this is the year UE finally makes it to the finals. There is now a sense of urgency among the players, almost as if last year’s ugly incident and subsequent disappointing finish have unified them, and set them up for one last run.
Re: University Athletic Association of the Philippines
Subplots Emerge In UAAP 70 Launch
by JP Abcede
Questions will finally be answered once the 2007 UAAP men`s basketball games kick off on July 7 at the Araneta Coliseum. Will the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers be able to defend their crown despite the last minute exclusion of 2006 men`s basketball finals MVP Jojo Duncil? Will Ateneo de Manila University avenge their defeat in the championship series last year?
Will University of the East finally get over the Final Four hump? Will De La Salle University have a grand comeback? Will Far Eastern University, National University, and even University of the Philippines surprise everyone and make heads turn their way?
These are some of the questions that are at the back of everybody’s mind as a simple season preview was presented by ABS-CBN during the UAAP media launch held on July 2 at the ELJ Bldg., in Quezon City. One thing the coaches agreed on that afternoon was that the league is so well-balanced that there is no clear winner so far.
“This year is going to be tight,” said UE coach Dindo Pumaren. “All [of the] teams are competitive.”
“The teams are well-balanced,” concurred elder brother and DLSU mentor Franz Pumaren, which was echoed by another champion coach, UST’s Pido Jarencio.
“Para sa akin, lahat team to beat,” stressed Blue Eagle guru Norman Black.
What better way to jumpstart a pretty even tournament than to feature two of the most controversy-laden squads as curtain raiser.
The Green Archers are back after sitting it out for a year.
“We are excited in coming back,” Pumaren mentioned.
Led by veterans TY Tang, Cholo Villanueva, Jvee Casio, and Rico Maierhofer, they created a buzz during the preseason by emerging on top of the FilOil Homegrown Cup in December of last year, and two summer tournaments this June.
“I do not think that is the real guage,” underplayed Pumaren his outside-of-the-UAAP achievements.
For their first task, the Taft-based crew would battle a young UP squad which was embroiled in a summer-long mess involving one of its rookies. It is all under the bridge now as former Baby Tamaraw Soc Rivera finally got the go-signal to suit up for the Maroons this season.
With a roster composed of eight rookies, some of who are UAAP 2006 juniors’ basketball mythical five members Mark Lopez and Mike Gamboa, and four sophomores which includes last year’s rookie of the year Woody Co, it is easy to see that the Diliman-based team is on rebuild mode.
“It is a young, young team,” emphasized assistant coach Ramil Cruz. “It is a learning stage this year.”
The 4pm tussle involves two teams out to make their own noise. FEU starts anew with a revamped lineup, while NU has an experienced team out to reach higher grounds.
“The boys are prepared this season 70,” said Far Eastern coach Glenn Capacio, one of two new head coaches this year. “Maganda pinakita ng mga bata noong offseason.”
The former Purefoods sharpshooter would be banking on Andy Mark Barroca, Ricardo Cawaling, and Reil Cervantes to send the Tams to the promised land.
National, on the other hand, have veterans Edwin Asoro, Jonathan Fernandez, and Joseph Lingao-Lingao to lean on.
“The offseason was very well for us,” said the deep-voiced Manny Dandan. “Given a chance this year, we are going to make the Final Four.”
The theme for this edition is “Winners all” with UAAP President Fr. Ermito de Sagon of host UST prophesizing that the date of the opening is a sign of a good season ahead.
The rest of the UAAP teams would hold court on July 8 at the Cuneta Astrodome. Santo Tomas would start its campaign against UE at 4pm, following the Ateneo versus Adamson skirmish at 2pm.
Re: University Athletic Association of the Philippines
Tigers Claim To Be Underdogs This 70th Season
by Reuben Ezra Terrado of UBelt.com
Defending champion University of Santo Tomas does not mind tagging themselves as underdogs in the 70th season of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s basketball tournament which starts on July 7 at the Araneta Coliseum.
“Siguro fifth or sixth lang kami this season sa dami ng mga lumakas na teams,” said UST coach Pido Jarencio in the Sports Communicators’ Organization of the Philippines (SCOOP) weekly session last June 15 at the Kamayan Restaurant-Padre Faura.
He noted the return of La Salle, the improvement of National University, the second place finish of Far Eastern University in the Nike Summer League, and the intact University of the East as the reasons for his prediction.
Though they did not field their Team A roster in the summer leagues, UST trained and competed in Malaysia where they place second to the Malaysian national team.
“Lahat ng teams pinaghandaan kami. Pero lahat sila, pinaghandaan din namin,” said Jarencio.
Last year’s Finals MVP Jojo Duncil will lead the charge for UST together with holdovers Jervy Cruz, Japs Cuan, Anthony Espiritu and Dylan Ababou.
Meanwhile, La Salle, after a one-year suspension, is aching to plunge back in action.
“Gutom at sabik na kaming maglaro this season,” said La Salle assistant coach Joey Santamaria, who was joined by fellow assistant Tyrone Bautista, and co-captain TY Tang and Cholo Villanueva. “We are really excited to play again in the UAAP.”
“Sabik na sabik na kaming maglaro,” said the 22-year-old Tang. “This will be my last year. I want to have a grand exit."
La Salle will be led by veterans Tang, Villanueva, Rico Maierhofer and JV Casio.
The 70th season, with the theme “Recreating the Value of Honesty through Sports,” will start with a simple opening ceremony at 1 pm.
This will be followed by the game between La Salle and University of the Philippines at 2 pm and National University versus FEU at 4 pm.
“We will try to improve the league further this year,” said UAAP president Fr. Ermito De Sagun of host school UST. “We hope that everything will be OK as the season progresses.”
UAAP basketball commissioner Ed Cordero said that the National Amateur Basketball Referees Organization (NABRO) will be handling the officiating chores for the seniors, juniors and women’s tournament.
Aside from basketball, swimming, chess, taekwondo, beach volleyball and judo will also played during the first half of the league.
Re: University Athletic Association of the Philippines
Athletic Mind: Season Preview Part 4
by Sidney Ventura
As always, I have my things-to-get-out-of-the-way list before I proceed with the article proper. (1) It turns out La Salle big man Marko Batricevic might be able to suit up sometime in the second round, or, if he`s really lucky, even as early as late in the first round. (2) Here`s my first shameless plug of the new season. My friends and I have set up this bar called Taberna Ocho located at 162 Maginhawa St. Sikatuna Village Quezon City. Visit our website at ocho.wordpress.com for more details. (3) Jessica Alba is hot.
Assistants: Ramil Cruz, Mark Jomalesa, and Jojo Villa
Additions: SF Jayfelson Agbayani, SG Czarlo Dela Victoria, PG Michael Gamboa, SF Dionisio Hipolito, SF Mark Lopez, PF/C Andrew Marfori, C Socrates Rivera, PG Dexter Rosales, and SF Julius Wong
Subtractions: PG Arvin Braganza, PF Ira Buyco, C Galen Cacha, PG Marvin Cruz, PF Nestor David, SG Francis Maniego, SG Dan Salvador, SG Paul Sorongon, and Gretchen Fullido
Jayfelson Agbayani – 6'2"
Woodward John Co – 6'3"
Miguel Antonio De Asis – 5'9"
Czarlo Dela Victoria – 6'2"
Victor Mel Epres – 6'1"
Michael Joseph Gamboa - 5'7"
Dionisio Hipolito III – 6'2"
Mark Anthony Lopez – 6'1"
Santos Andrew Marfori – 6'4"
Martin John Reyes – 6'0"
Socrates Rivera – 6'4"
Dexter Rosales – 5'8"
Virgilio Serios, Jr.- 6'3"
Magi King Sison – 6'6"
Julius Paul Wong – 6'1"
The makeover continues. Having come up with arguably the best recruiting class of the season, the UP Maroons had to make way for their talented newcomers and once again have a roster with more rookies than veterans. It's a price Joe Lipa is willing to pay if it means a competitive team down the road, although he realizes it will also mean this year's team will take its share of lumps.
"We have six sophomores, two juniors and seven rookies on the team," Lipa said. "And the seven rookies are fresh from high school. They don’t know our program, and they have to do a lot of adjustment in our system. And you know, all the disadvantages that go with a young team are there. But we are trying to remedy this, and we are hoping for a winning season."
To be precise, the two juniors are actually veteran shooting guard Vic Epres, who is on his final year, and the comebacking Jay Agbayani, who will be entering his fourth season. Also, the sixth sophomore is Andrew Marfori, who is a sophomore in college but a rookie in the UAAP. Regardless, it's still a young team, and although the talent is there, there's still a lot of ground to cover.
"We have to improve a lot on our defensive rotation," Lipa continued. "Of course, rebounding will be a problem for us because our big men are not that dominant. And we have to improve a lot on our motion offense."
The rebounding aspect is indeed a cause for concern. A little-known fact: the team's best rebounder last year was actually Marvin Cruz (7.9rpg), who won’t be returning. He's the second-biggest loss for the team, next to Gretchen Fullido, of course. Left to fill the void are rookies Marfori and Soc Rivera and sophomore Magi Sison, none of whom, as Lipa pointed out, are particularly dominant underneath.
Marfori is perhaps the best-skilled among the three, a player who always knows where he should be on the court and who is a good weakside help defender, but he's not particularly agile and at a shade under six-four is undersized. Rivera is immensely talented, an athletic six-four big man who runs the court well, can shoot from afar, and is probably the team's best shotblocker. But he's reed-thin and can easily be pushed around. Sison is the most tantalizing prospect among the three, and at the same time the most frustrating. The tallest player on the team at six-six, he can either show flashes of brilliance or make Lipa's blood boil with botched play after botched play.
The lack of big men will mean top man VJ Serios will have to spend some time at the power forward spot, which is a pity because he is more effective playing the wing where he can create mismatches and where he is probably the team's best defender.
This all means that UP will still rely on its run-and-gun philosophy. They certainly have the tools: snipers Migs De Asis and Martin Reyes will alternate at the two-spot where they will almost certainly be among the league leaders in three-point shots. For back-up the team elevated Czarlo Dela Victoria from the training pool, while Serios, Epres, Woody Co and rookie Mark Lopez also have the range from outside.
The "run" part will be anchored by rookie point guards Mike Gamboa and Dexter Rosales. In fact, everyone on this team can run, which is crucial. The Maroons have to attempt to fastbreak every chance they get because, just like last year's team, they will have trouble against bigger and more experienced opponents in a half-court set.
But it's a classic chicken-and-egg thing: they can’t run if they don’t have the ball, and they can't get the ball unless they dominate the boards, and they can’t dominate the boards unless they have enough big men, which they don't.
Additionally, you have to make your opponents miss first before you can even think about grabbing a defensive rebound, and this crew is sort of lacking in defensive stoppers, particularly in the back court. Gamboa and De Asis, in particular, are terrible man-to-man defenders.
But Lipa remains optimistic. "We'll try very hard. It's not far from happening, but one thing's for sure, we'll give it our best shot."
So which teams are his heavy favorites?
"La Salle, based on their performance in the two summer leagues, I would say would be seeded number one, number two would be UE, then FEU, number four would be a toss-up between UST and NU."
My prognosis: this is a team built for the future. Expect a lot of rookie mistakes this season and few wins. There are just too many teams who are taller and more experienced. UP will probably register an upset win here and there, but a Final Four berth may be out of reach.
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Additions: SG John Hector Badua, SG Darryl Basa, C Khasim Mirza, PG Rum Perry Scott, and SF Francis Soriano
Subtractions: PF Allan Evangelista, SG Joselito Duncil, SG AC Marquez, and SG Jemal Vizcarra
Dylan Ababou – 6'2"
Francis Philip Allera – 6'3"
John Hector Badua – 5'11"
John Darryl Basa – 6'0"
Mark Angelo Canlas – 6'5"
Jose Cortez, Jr. - 5'10"
Jervy Cruz – 6'4"
John Paul Cuan – 5'7"
June Dizon - 6'3"
Anthony Espiritu – 6'4"
Melchor Gile – 6'3"
Khasim Mirza – 6'4"
Rum Perry Scott – 5'9"
Francis Soriano - 6'5"
Up until last week, I had penciled in UST as a top three team, owing to its relatively intact line-up. All that changed thanks to a questionable birth certificate.
The shock loss of top gun Jojo Duncil is big not only because of what the guy brings to the court – shooting, leadership, experience – but also because of its suddenness. I wouldn’t be surprised if this has caused a little demoralization in the ranks, Duncil being the face of UST's improbable title run last year.
Of course, Jervy Cruz is still there. The six-four center is arguably the best at his position now that Ken Bono isn’t around. Plus, Anthony Espiritu and Mark Canlas can be relied on to provide ample support. Meanwhile, ex-Tiger Cubs Darryl Basa and Hector Badua will try to fill Duncil's shoes at the shooting guard position, while Rum Perry Scott, a talented transferee from Lyceum, becomes the team's third point guard.
But there are more storm clouds in the horizon.
Comes now unconfirmed news that swingman Dylan Ababou has contracted Hepatitis B. Two reliable sources have shared this bit of news with me, although it remains unclear just how many games the athletic forward will miss if ever. Because of this, I'm not so sure anymore if the Tigers can make it back to the finals. Then again, nobody gave them a chinaman's chance last year.
But what really happened with Duncil anyway? For the record, this is what Fr. Ermito De Sagun said during the press conference last Monday after I posed that dreaded question concerning Duncil's last-minute decision to turn pro. I am printing it here verbatim (special thanks to my colleague Reuben Terrado for the transcription):
Ok, let me answer that. Of course, Jojo Duncil was our player. He was a UAAP player. As far as we are concerned, he is a dead horse and it is useless to talk about a dead horse. Sabi ko nga, kaya tinanggal na lang sa line-up kasi hindi nakaka-excel yung iba. Natatakpan yung ibang player namin kaya iba naman. But really, as far as the controversy is concerned, we know from the family. In fact, Jojo Duncil is the nephew of the rector of UST. So, as far as his person is concerned, we have no doubts against his person. He is a good boy. But the only problem is he has two NSO-certified birth certificates. One will make him ineligible. Kasi kung 1982, ineligible. Kung 1983, eligible. Now, we think that this is, as far as UST is concerned, is an additional burden, an excess load. We don't want any member of our team to have excess load. It will be a distraction to our games. We don't want to have games and put into question. Kaya better, mag-pro ka nalang. And of course, as a matter of fact, that was his real intention. He was weighing the possibility of going pro because he was watching the list of those who will go pro. Kasi siyempre, yung player, nakakiramdam din when is the best time to turn pro. Siyempre kung maraming magagaling na mag-turn pro, mahihirapan ka rin. So parang for him, that's his decision and the family's decision and we respect it. Sa UST, hindi na namin pinag-uusapan yun.
We can probably forgive Fr. De Sagun for the poor spin he put on what really happened (that part about removing Duncil from the line-up to give others a chance to excel is just plain silly). But I think I understand where he is coming from. A source told me the real story is that Duncil was in fact born in 1983, but his parents, eager to enroll him in school at the soonest time possible, somehow made it appear that he was born in 1982. Naturally, it was this birth certificate that became the basis for his age from then on. And inevitably, it came back to haunt him.
A similar thing happened with one of my friends who faked his age so that he could get a driver's license at the age of 14. Now, he can’t apply for an international license because his Philippine license and his birth certificate show two different birth dates.
So technically, Duncil is only 24. But since he has been using the erroneous birth certificate ever since...well, you can easily see how this became a stupid problem that UST just didn’t want to deal with. It's also why I don’t think any further investigations will be pursued.
Re: University Athletic Association of the Philippines
Ito ang real reason kung bakit mwawala si Duncil sa UST.
As Explain by IHEART UST
Hindi ko maintindihan kung anong katotohanan pa ang gusto ninyong malaman.
Inamin na nga ni Fr. De Sagun sa isang interview na oo, mayroong dalawang birth certificate si Jojo MULA SA NSO.
Sinabi na rin ni Jojo sa interview niya na kaya nangyari iyon ay dahil nagparehistro ulit ang kapatid niya noong 1989. Na batay sa post dito ni Mr. Brownstone at sinegundahan naman ni augustine, iyon ay para palabasin na mas matanda siya ng isang taon para diumano ay makapasok siya ng mas maaga sa elementarya. Ito rin ang nakasaad sa isinulat ni Sid Ventura sa Ubelt na lumabas kahapon.
Ang certificate na ipinasa sa UAAP ay 1983 ang nakasaad. Iyon ang orihinal na kapanganakan niya. Iyon ang tama. Ang certificate na nakatala ngayon sa NSO main ay 1982. Iyon ang mali.
Nagpaliwanag na rin ang UST sa board. Nagdala pa nga daw sila ng hindi lang isa kundi dalawang NSO certificate kaya ngayon ay lumalabas na tatlo na ang kuwestyunableng dokumento. Ang punto dito NAGPALIWANAG NA ANG UST SA BOARD.
Kung bakit naging tatlo ang dokumento, ni isa sa atin dito ay walang nakakaalam. (Maliban na lang kung mayroong board member na PEXer, hehe) Nasa pagitan na iyon ng UST at ng board. Nagkaayos na sila. Tapos ang usapan.
Sa BOARD at tanging sa board lamang mayroong obligasyong magbigay ng pahayag ang UST at ginawa naman nila iyon. Kung piliin man nilang huwag magpahayag sa press ay prerogative nila iyon.
Gusto ko lang linawin, ang UST at ang board ay hindi iisa.
We're talking about representatives from seven other big name universities here in the country. Please do not insult their intelligence by assuming that they will let something anomalous just go by un-admonished. In this case, they probably arrived at the conclusion that nothing anomalous took place.
The public's assumption that Jojo submitted fake papers is culled from their own interpretation of the series of events that transpired. There is no factual basis behind it. The facts remain inside the boardroom where it should be. UST did their part, they explained their side to the board. They have no obligation whatsoever to feed your curiosity.
Suma-tutal ang resulta ng lahat ng ito ay hindi na maglalaro sa UAAP si Jojo. Nakuha na ng mastermind ng plot na ito ang gusto niya. Llamado na ang team niya laban sa UST. Wala na ang orihinal na line-up ng mga Tigers. Ang mga plays na sinaliksik ng coaching staff ng UST at pinaghandaan ng team ngayong pre-season ay malamang na mauwi lang sa wala. Kailangan nilang mag-regroup. May panahon pa ba? Ewan ko. Mamaya na ang simula ng UAAP.
Muli ang tanong ko, nasaan ang "FAIR PLAY" sa ginawa nila?
Nga pala, medyo OT na 'to, nabasa ko sa MB na sinusuyo ni Mr. Mikee Romero si Jojo na wag munang mag-pro at sa halip ay sumama muna sa SEA games. Kahapon daw ay nasa Reyes Gym siya para mag-try outs.
Re: University Athletic Association of the Philippines
Eager Archers Start Right A-Way
by JP Abcede
Did anyone miss De La Salle University? Not when they go 14-0 in the first four minutes of their first game back from oblivion. The Green Archers started the 70th UAAP men’s basketball season with a bang, manhandling the young University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons, 82-61, on July 7 at the Araneta Coliseum for their first UAAP victory in almost two years, not counting the ones they forfeited prior to that.
“We were just so excited to be back in the UAAP,” said a giddy Franz Pumaren. “We feel like playing for the first time.”
Cholo Villanueva, PJ Walsham, and James Mangahas were just as happy to be there, making the first 14 points of DLSU. Jvee Casio gave the Archers their highest lead, scoring five points late in the game, 82-57.
“I am really expecting him to be there,” Pumaren referred to topscorer Villanueva, who finished with 19 points on 7/13 shooting, while also notching six rebounds and four assists.
Mangahas garnered 14 markers, shooting 70% at the two-point field, and grabbed seven boards before coming out with a sprain. Both TY Tang and Casio finished with 12 points.
Martin Reyes topped the Maroons with 14 points. Woodward Co was good 3/5 at the three-point area, concluding the game with 12.
The green and white gallery thought that the first quarter would never end, euphoric after the scoreboard read 14-0. Magi Sison beat the shot clock buzzer for UP’s first points with a three-pointer, 6:01.
For the rest of the quarter, the Maroons’ only field goals came from beyond the arc until Mark Lopez scored on an undergoal shot, 9:19 of the second period to trail, 16-25. The nearest the Diliman-based squad could get was eight when Migs de Asis netted a three, 5:53 of the third, 37-49.
The Taft-based squad eventually breached the 20-point ledger when Villanueva recovered the ball from a broken play and scored, 65-45, 5:50 of the fourth.
For the Archers’ next opponent, they have Adamson Falcons on July 14. UP, on the other hand, had an early Battle of Intramuros with Ateneo de Manila University on July 12
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Joseph Lingao-Lingao stopped a driving Mark Barroca in the dying seconds of OT while Jonathan Fernandez closed the coffin with two freethrows.
“We wanted this game badly,” said NU coach Manny Dandan. “To boost our confidence, we need to win this game.”
Lingao-Lingao was top Dog with 17 points, 13 rebounds, and five blocks. Edwin Asoro also had 17 on 2/3 three-point shooting, while also grabbing 16 boards.
Cyrus Malagueño contributed 13 markers, while Fernandez was good for ten.
Marlon Adolfo led the Tams with 21 points, going perfect at the two-point and freethrow area. Benedict Fernandez chipped 13 makers and six boards.
Asoro scored NU’s 10 of 17 first quarter points. The Bulldogs were ahead most of the way, keeping the Tams on bay before Far Eastern had one last run near the homestretch of regulation. Marnel Baracael took the lead with a follow-up, 58-56, more than six minutes have elapsed in the fourth quarter.
Adolfo swished a three-pointer to give the Tams their highest lead ever, 64-61. However, Lingao-Lingao made the last three points of National to tie once again.
Malagueño had a chance to win it but his shot was all air as time expired.
“There were lapses defensively,” reasoned Dandan on why the Tamaraws caught up in regulation. “May konting pagod din. What I did was shuffle our players.”
The Tams again led by as much as three in extra period after Asoro was called for goaltending, 67-64. The Dogs caught up with them as Malagueño scored a key three-point basket to give his team a four-point cushion, 71-67, less than three minutes to go.
Adolfo answered with a three of his own and this score would stay for two minutes as either side failed to complete a play.
NU’s next game is against University of the East on July 12 at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium. Far Eastern would next face defending champion University of Santo Tomas on July 14.
Re: University Athletic Association of the Philippines
Warriors Tame Tigers
by JP Abcede
Diminutive James Martinez played big in the game of giants, needling two three-point shots to take control of what was once a nip and tuck contest, 65-54, at the 2:51 mark of the fourth quarter. Martinez later gave the Red Warriors the highest lead, 73-58, from a breakaway layup.
“Big shot iyong back-to-back three points ni Martinez,” admitted UE coach Dindo Pumaren.
Mark Borboran played well with 13 points and 5/5 at the two-point field. Martinez was good for 12. Hans Thiele was the other double-digit scorer for UE with 11.
“I am very happy they played well, especially the five guys that played in the PBL,” praised the younger Pumaren.
Jervy Cruz pounded with 16 points on 7/9 shooting, while hauling nine rebounds. Japs Cuan had a near double-double with 13 and nine, going along with four assists.
“You have to realize UST may problema,” Pumaren said although he added that the Tigers find a way to bounce back.
The Warriors attacked first with Martinez turning it into a plus-five spread when he popped for a teardrop, 17-12. Cruz shook off a knee injury to score UST’s last four points of the first quarter.
The Growling Tigers were just a few steps behind with the Recto-based squad leading the charge most of the way. The former was able to make things equal in two occasions, 17-all to kickoff the second quarter and 43-all from a Cuan split on the line, 1:11 in the third.
East led as much as six on an Arellano jumper off a pump fake to end the half and when Borboran made at the line from a Cruz foul, 37-31, 7:23 of the third.
Fhadzmir Bandaying turned it into a nine-point game with a lay, 54-45, right at the eight minute mark. Cuan then started to take over, driving the lane for three straight possessions, accumulating six points to go near to three, 51-54.
The veteran Warriors took over as Borboran made five points, three of them coming from beyond the arc from an Arellano drive and dish. Martinez then sandwiched a Chester Taylor freethrow with his only three-pointers of the game. UE then scored off three assist plays to lead, 71-58, 1:02 to go.
“NU played well last time,” Pumaren looked ahead into their next games against National University. “Maganda nilaro ni (Joseph) Lingao-Lingao.”