UAAP Season 74: Sizing Up the Opposition – Part 1

With the much-awaited Season 74 about to kick off this weekend, it’s time to look at how the Green Archers might fare against the other teams.

NU Bulldogs

Their fate this year hinges on their prized rookie Bobby Ray Parks, who was cleared to play by the UAAP during the board meeting today, July 5. With Parks on their lineup, NU automatically becomes a playoff contender. With his size and ability, Parks presents a match-up problem both on offense and defense, and the Bulldogs’ game is expected to be built around him. Holdovers Khobuntin, Mbe, Neypes, Singh, and Terso give NU some veteran stability, and the addition of talented Labing-isa at the guard post gives them some flexibility. New coach Eric Altamirano brings a new brand of coaching to the ‘dogs, who upto last year played a street smart, freewheeling type of a game.

What happened last year?

Last year, we split a couple of close games against NU by almost identical scores: we lost in a highly physical game, 55-59 in the team’s second game of the season. In the second round, the Archers evened things up with a 59-56 victory in our 8th game. The Bulldogs outrebounded the Archers 36-46 in their first match-up, and again 47-59 in the 2nd round. NU was the only team which won the battle of the boards with us.

How do we measure up against them?

This early, Parks is the Bulldogs go-to guy, and there doesn’t seem to be anyone who can come close to filling that role if he’s not on the floor. It will be interesting how our coaches will structure our defense against NU. Our pressure defense should continue to force turnovers (last year, we caused them to cough up the ball 25 times in both games) which could lead to easy baskets for us. With a taller lineup compared to last year, the Archers should win the rebounding battle despite Mbe being on the lineup. Incoming NU coach Eric Altamirano represents an upgrade for NU, backed up by Bobby Parks, so the Bulldogs will be a well-trained unit and can pull some surprises. However, expect the strategies developed by our coaching brain trust to lessen the impact of anything NU might try to pull. We will probably have a 2-0 or 1-1 record against NU.

NU’s lineup:

Guard – ALOLINO Angelo, CELDA Reden, ROÑO Robin, SINGH Ajeet, TERSO Joseph, LABING-ISA Cederick

Guard/forward: IGNACIO Jul-Ashri, PARKS Bobby Ray

Center – MAGAT Marion, EMAN Spencer, MBE Emmanuel
Head coach: ALTAMIRANO, Eric

UP Maroons

After last year’s debacle, where the Maroons laid an egg in the W column despite their high pre-season expectations, expect the Diliman squad to improve on their performance this season. The early season turmoil last season led to a confusing situation in the coaching area, with Aboy Castro leaving the team, but he was not officially replaced by veteran PBA coach Boyet Fernandez, who was only given the title of consultant. The early losses and subsequent coaching moves sent the Maroons into a tailspin from which they never recovered.

Gone from last year’s regular rotation are big men Magi Sison and Woody Co, sharpshooter Martin Reyes, Alvin Padilla, Dionisio Hipolito, Joshua Saret. Mark Lopez and former LSGH guard Mikee Reyes will sit this year out due to injuries. This season, expectations are probably a bit more modest. Returnees Gingerich, Maniego, Silungan, Juruena, and Gamboa will provide the core, and the addition of transferee Montecastro (from CSB) and Mbah will bolster their competitiveness. This year also marks the return of a Dandan to the sidelines, but this time it’s Ricky Dandan, who had previously spent some time as an assistant on the Ateneo bench.

What happened last year?

The Archers opened last season with a dominating win over UP, 80-62. This was a bit of a shock to the Maroons, who had been very competitive in the pre-season against La Salle, and it was possible that this loss triggered UP’s downward spiral. It was the same story in the 2nd round, where our team routed UP, 84-63. UP is in rebuilding mode, and probably will not make the final 4.

How do we measure up against them?

The Archers retained the core of last year’s team which went to the final 4, and the team should continue their domination of UP this season, with a 2-0 matchup record. Their guard line is relatively inexperienced compared to ours, and the entry of so many new players will take its toll during close games.

UP’s lineup:

Guard/forward – GINGERICH  Moriah, MANIEGO  Miggy, SILUNGAN  Mike,  WONG  Julius

Forward – GOMEZ Carlo, JURUENA Mark, PASCUAL Martin, ROMERO Paolo
Center – EVANGELISTA Vergel, MBAH Alinko
Head coach: DANDAN, Ricky (1st season)

Adamson Falcons

The Falcons are the one team that the Archers failed to beat last season. Their heady point guards proved to be almost unstoppable, and their bigs were steadier when it counted. Both games were close, but we ended up on the short end of the score. The S74 Falcons lose only William Stinette, Arnold Basilio, and former Green Archer Mike Galinato, so their core of veterans is practically intact. This is a team which has played together for several seasons, so their players are very familiar with each other and teamwork is not a problem. Their veteran smarts will come to bear in close games, and expect them to be very competitive. This team will be the dark horse of the tournament.

What happened last year?

We lost both games, that’s what. Two excruciating losses that could easily have gone the other way. The Archers led both games going into the final minutes, but dropped the first, 68-70, and the second, 64-69 as Adamson came up with the crucial plays to turn the tables on us. In those 2 games, the Archers led for practically 3 quarters, but lost their end-game poise to allow Adamson to grab the lead in the dying moments. The Adamson pgs played big roles in outplaying our guards down the stretch.

How do we measure up against them?

Adamson hasn’t added much ceiling this year, so we should be good off the boards. Our guard corps has been bolstered by the return of LA Revilla, and with the improvement of Almond Vosotros, and the steady leadership of Simon Atkins, we should now be able to battle them on even terms in the back court. Our frontline is bigger than Adamson’s, so our edge on the board should help negate the greater experience of the Falcon bigs. Adamson is very experienced, so our head-to-head record will probably be 1-1.

Adamson’s lineup:

Guard/forward – NUYLES Alex
Forward – CABRERA Roider, CAMSON Eric, AGUSTIN Mike, COLINA Jan, MANUEL Genesis, OLALIA Jeff, PETILOS Harry, RIOS Jansen

Center – BRONDIAL Rodney, MANYARA Austin
Head coach: AUSTRIA, Leo

UST Growling Tigers

The UST Growling Tigers failed to make the final 4 again last year, and this year will probably be no different. Only 6 players remain from last year’s team – Afuang, Aytona, Camus, Fortuna, Pe, and Teng. Gone from last year are sniper Bautista, Mariano, Daquioag, Marata, Tinte, Wong, Lo, Marquez, and Mamaril. Just like in the case of UP, this kind of player turnover does not augur well for teamwork and cohesion. Coach Jarencio’s coaching style is predicated on lots of outside shooting and a fast paced, free-wheeling offense. He has some pet plays which he unveiled against the Archers last year – a baseball pass on the inbound after an Archer basket that the Tigers were able to turn into easy points.

In the pre-season, UST won over the Archers in the Fil-Oil tournament, their first win against La Salle in a long while, but this was in the first game where the Archers were a bit rusty from the lack of competitive activity. Big man Karim Abdul also pulled an early surprise when he was fielded in early. The Tigers displayed more energy, and their long shots were going in, allowing them to outplay the Archers.

What happened last year?

The Archers swept both games against UST, 61-53 and 78-69, maintaining their composure, playing clamp-down defense, and defusing the potentially explosive outside game of the UST gunners behind Bautista, Teng, and Fortuna.

How do we measure up against them?

UST will hope that rookies Kevin Ferrer and Archer cast-off Louie Vigil can contribute in their rookie year. Ferrer did well against the Archers and showed why he was highly regarded among the S74 rookie class. Teams with a system usually prevail against UST when they can control the tempo, and the Tigers will have problems maintaining their preferred game pace, because they will not be able to dominate the boards against us. This young and untested team will probably encounter rough sailing against the more systematic and disciplined Archers. Barring an off day, the Archers should sweep both elimination round games.

UST lineup:

Guard – AYTONA Eddie, FORTUNA Jeric, SARCIA Jaypee, SHERIFF Jamil, TAN Robin, TENG Jeric

Forward – AFUANG Carmelo, FERRER Kevin, JAVIER Ron, LAO Kent, LO Kim, PE Paolo, UNGRIA Aljohn, VIGIL Louie

Center – ABDUL Karim, CAMUS Chris
Head coach: JARENCIO, Pido (6th season)

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