UAAP Season 75 Senior Men’s Basketball Preview

The 75th season of the  UAAP starts this coming weekend.  Ateneo is going for a 5th straight men’s seniors’ basketball title and every other team is determined to prevent that from happening.
Here is my preview of the upcoming season.


Ateneo Blue Eagles
The Blue Eagles are the favorites the win their 5th straight crown. Ateneo has depth,experience and Norman Black. The big question mark this year is in the leadership.  Juami Tiongson, and Nico Elorde are the main point guards. Kiefer Ravena will probably do more than his share of ball handling duties. Coach Norman Black returns for his last season as coach, and his players will give it their all to give their coach a rousing swan song. The frontcourt is solid with Greg Slaughter, Nico Salva, JP Erram, Justin Chua, and comebacking Ryan Buenafe. Outside shooting is expected from Oping Sumalinog and Tonino Gonzaga aside from their defensive prowess. Five peat or bust!

Big 3: Slaughter, Salva, Ravena

Player to watch: Greg Slaughter. The 7 footer actually improved. He looks stronger, has more polished post moves and has shown he has a respectable jumper.

Player on the hotseat :Kiefer Ravena. Ravena looked “human” in pre-season games as defenses now know his game and have been doing decent jobs in limiting his production. Every Atenean is hoping he can avoid the sophomore jinx.

X-Factor: Ryan Buenafe. Is he the Ryan Buenafe, clutch scorer, spectacular passer or the player who was overweight, sulks on the court and looked uninspired?

National University Bulldogs
The NU Bulldogs showed they are legitimate UAAP contenders by going undefeated and winning the recently concluded FilOil Pre-season cup. Bobby Ray Parks is scary good. He has shown an improved jumpshot, post moves, and more importantly leadership. Jean Mbe has also improved as he has apparently learned not to foul everyone who goes in the lane. The biggest reason for their success is in the coaching. Eric Altamirano has convinced all, ALL his players that they are ready to the next stop, and his players are oozing with confidence. Dennice Villamor, Jeff Javillonar, Gelo Alolino ,Glenn Khobuntin, and rookie Mark de Guzman provide solid support and have all shown they are not afraid to take a big shot. The NU Bulldogs have got it all for you!

Big 3: Parks,Mbe,Alolino

Player to watch: Bobby Ray Parks. He sure looks ready to repeat as UAAP MVP. He is probably the most complete player in the UAAP right now.

Player on the hotseat: Jean Mbe. Will he continue his stellar play that he showed in the pre season league? He was part of the Mythical 5 and won the best defensive player of that tournament. The Bulldogs are hoping so.

X Factor: The MOA Arena. What? The Bulldogs have been practicing in their spanking new arena, and probabaly have a home court advantage. They even have their own locker rooms in the Arena.

FEU Tamaraws

The  Tamaraws have been bridesmaids the past 2 seasons to the Blue Eagles. Is the 3rd time the charm? RR Garcia and Terrence Romeo form arguably the most potent backcourt in the league. Russel Escoto,Carl Cruz, The Bringas brothers, Arvie and Mark,and Roger Pogoy will try to make up for the losses of Aldrech Ramos and JR Cawaling to graduation. The Tamaraws are still experienced, have the smarts, and have the firepower to reach the top, as long as their top 2 guards co-exist. Let’s go Tamaraws, lets go!

Big 3: Garcia, Romeo,Tolomia,

Player to watch: RR Garcia. Mr Cool. Mr Clutch. When RR’s game is on, just sit back and watch him hit loopers, push shots, 3 pointers from the corners and his free throws. The expression on his face rarely changes.  Only his hair color does.

Player on the hotseat: Terrence Romeo. He was wild in the finals a year ago. Apparently he wanted to do too much to help his team win, and it meant not making proper decisions as the teams point guard. If he is under control and plays within the system, FEU will be formidable.

X Factor: Arvie Bringas. Bring as to the promised land, the La Salle faithful chanted. Alas Arvie did not deliver. So he takes his talents to FEU,and after sitting out a year, he is now ready to bang bodies again with the league. If he plays to his potential, he might be the next Vic Pablo, if not, the next Mike Otto.

De La Salle Green Archers

The Green Archers are itching to make it to the top again. Last season’s disapointments are behind them and a new era beginning with new Coach Gee Abanilla calling the shots and fearless rookie gunner Jeron Teng (Tengsanity!) a notable addition to the team. A runner up finish in the Fil Oil pre season tournament showed what this team is capable of. Norbet Torres has done his homework and is a terror in the low post with his jump hooks and face up jumpers and is a tireless rebounder. Yutien Andrada, Ponso Gotladera, Papot Paredes and (injured) big man Arnold Van Opstal, are lean, tall, and all defensively imposing. The backcourt of LA Revilla, Almond Vosotros, Jed Manguerra and Mark Tallo are fast, and all are ready to take the big shot. The Green Archers are locked and loaded for the upcoming season!

Big 3: Revilla, Torres, Teng

Player to watch: LA Revilla. He is the team leader. He will take the big shot and will not back down. He is arguably the league’s best point guard.

Player on the hotseat: Jeron Teng. He is undeniably talented. But some feel he takes too many shots and it may irk the veterans on the team. He is already clutch. (See Ateneo game 3point shot)If he plays under control and takes his shots in the rhythm of the game, he is a lock for rookie of the year.

X Factor: Gee Abanilla. The Pumaren era ended and after a whole lot of coaches names were rumored to be taking over (Cone,Uichico, Villanueva), DLSU entrusted their team to their long time assistant.The public will scrutinize what system he brings to the school, how he handles a team he inherited and how he responds to alumni pressure.

UST Growling Tigers

The Tigers MAY have overachieved last year by making it into the final four. Nobody had them making it that far, except maybe for Coach Pido Jarencio. They lost Chris Camus to a mathematical error, but gain back sharpshooter Clark Bautista, and slasher Aljon Mariano. The two Jerics, Teng and Fortuna are still around and along with Melo Afuang, will be the leaders of the team. Karim Abdul, has slimmed down, and also has shown an improved low post game. Here’s to hoping he won’t run out of gas at the end of games, and won’t be in foul trouble. When he sits down the other UST big men (Paolo Pe, Afuang) have to step  up.UST was flying low on everybody’s radar last year, but this season everyone will be watching them as they had moderate success in pre season tournaments. Go USTE!

Big 3: Fortuna,Teng,Abdul

Player to watch: Jeric Fortuna. He has shown he is clutch in some big games last year. But in some games he just plain disappeared and got tired. This year he will play more consistently, now that Tata Bautista is back to relieve him. Last year he logged heavy minutes as the Tigers did not have a suitable backup. He will probably make it to the mythical five. He is that good.

Player on the hot seat: Jeric Teng. With small bro on the other side of the fence, Kuya Jeric has to prove to the league that he is  the better Teng. Last year he was MIA in some games as was his outside shot. But he quickly adapted and learned to drive and draw to get his numbers. This year he needs to be more consistent.

X Factor: Kevin Ferrer. The high school superstar looked lost last year. He has been mentioned in the same breath as Kiefer Ravena in terms of talent, so this year the tall 6’3” shooting guard will be expected to vastly improve to live up to the hype he rightfully deserves.

Adamson Soaring Falcons

Coach Leo Austria has his job cut out for him this year. Twin point guards Lester Alvarez and Jerick Canada are gone. So are Janus Lozada, Jan Colina,and Austin Manyara. But Alex Nuyles, Eric Camson, Rodney Brondial, Allen Etrone and gunner Roeder Cabrera,are still aound. This team is no pushover and will give teams a run for their money. But with no proven point guards and no legit low post players, they will be hard pressed to equal last years’ accomplishments. For me, Adamson is no longer a final four contender but this team will continue to battle and will go down fighting.

Big 3: Nuyles, Camson, Brondial

Player to watch: Eric Camson. He is one of the better forwards in the league. He has improved every year he has been in the Uaap. This year expect his scoring and rebounding numbers to be even higher.

Player on the hotseat: Alex Nuyles. Nuyles may be the most exciting player in the league. He can quickly change the game with his 3 point shots, slashing drives, and spectacular dunks. He should step up and be one of the leagues’ top scorers. He should also accept the leadership role that Coach Leo expects from him.

X Factor: Roeder Cabrera. If he learns to take better shots, not more shots, he will be one the best scorers in the league. A notorious streak shooter, he is the typical “when he’s hot watch out player,” and a typical “when not, sit him down.”

UP Fighting  Maroons

The Maroons’ record the last 5 years is 8 wins-70 losses, and included 2 winless season. This year, they won’t go winless, but won’t go the final four either. They look like a lock for the bottom 2 of the standings this year,(sigh!) Mike Silungan will again be asked to carry the scoring load for the team. Last year was a down year for him, as the losses looked to take its toll on him as looked to be coasting in some games. Mark Lopez, makes a comeback this year, and along with Alvin Padilla, Mike Gamboa, UAAP most improved player Jett Manuel and Jelo Montecastro are back to try make UP’s campaign a decent one this year. Center Magi Sison is gone, and only sophomore Paolo Romero looks to be the only experienced big man in the frontcourt. So the center slot is definitely a problem. UP’s Pep Squad continues to be more exciting than the men’s team. I hope this year they do better. UP Fight!

Big 3: Silungan, Padilla, Manuel

Player to watch: Mike Silungan. He probably owns the best looking jump shot in the league. Last year his shot was off.  I think he will be one of the top scorers this year, his last year in the league.

Player in the hot seat: Alvin Padilla. He is UP’s best all around player if he keeps cool and does not lose his temper.

X Factor: Mark Lopez. He has missed the last 2 years due to an injury. He showed great promise in the pre season tournaments and could be the all around “glue” player this team needs.

UE Red Warriors

This team lived up to their nickname. The Red Warriors were always fighting and giving their all. This year expect more of the same, in terms of attitude and results. No final four this year guys. Roi Sumang, Adrian Santos, Chris Javier, and Erwin Duran, will do their best to spring some surprises at the contenders. The Red Warriors need a lot of work on both ends of the court.  The veterans on the team have to do their share or they’ll end up in the cellar. Maybe Coach Jerry should suit up again. UE is in for a long season. Go UE!

Player to watch: Roi Sumang. He has improved every year and will continue to improve and make defenses pay when he is left alone.

Player on the hot seat: Chris Javier. He was a highly touted big man coming out of San Beda HS. This year he needs to show the UAAP that he is a legit big man.

X Factor: Jerry Codinera. Will he be able to motivate his team? I’ts hard to do considering the coach is the best player on the team.

My prediction:

Ateneo, NU, DLSU and FEU final four bound.

Ateneo over FEU, NU over DLSU

Ateneo over NU.

Ateneo season 75 champs.

MVP: Parks

Finals MVP: Slaughter

Most Improved: Gelo Alolino NU

Rookie of the Year: Jeron Teng DLSU

Defensive Player: Jean Mbe NU

Mythical Teams

First team: Ravena, Parks, LA Revilla, Slaughter, Garcia

Second team: Salva, Torres, Nuyles, Fortuna, Abdul

Get into the team spirit. Wear your school colors. Grab yourself a pair of limited UAAP themed Havaianas.

Health GNews or How I Spent My Last days with My Colon

3 to 4 years ago, I was diagnosed to have a condition called Diverticulosis. It sounds scary right? It sounds like a sickness that House M.D. will try to solve or Gail Grissom will investigate. What is it? What is diverticulosis?

Diverticulosis is a condition that develops when pouches (diverticula) form in the wall of the large intestine..In diverticulosis, the pouches in the colon wall do not cause symptoms. Diverticulosis may not be discovered unless symptoms develop, such as in painful diverticular disease or in diverticulitis. In many cases, diverticulosis is discovered only when tests are done to find the cause of a different medical problem or during a screening exam. Painful diverticular disease causes abdominal pain and cramping, especially on the left side. This condition normally affects much older people, 50-60 year olds. What can I say? I am special. :) My doctors are surprised that I have it. I experienced cramping in my abdomen that time, and was rushed to the hospital, and that’s when I found out I had it. That was my first attack. How does it feel? The best way for me to describe is it that it feels like I have a balloon filled with water in my stomach. When I lay down to sleep, and shift to my sides, I feel my abdomen’s weight shifting either left and right. My 2nd attack occurred last month. That day, started out innocently enough, as I played golf with the Nolido family in the morning, watched Ateneo lose to UP in basketball in 1st round UAAP action , then dinner at a death anniversary of a good friends’ mom. After dinner, while walking to the car, I felt the abdominal pain again, and immediately I knew that it was another attack. This time I was hospitalized for a week.

At Lourdes Hospital

At Lourdes Hospital

A CT scan showed that it was worse. My doctor advised me to have surgery. Janice and I decide to look for a 2nd even a 3rd opinion. They all diagnosed that I had to have surgery. At first they would only remove one part of my colon, then after looking at it again, they said 2 parts, then after all the tests, it was diagnosed, that my entire colon would be removed. :(

Yup, puwede pala yun, to remove the whole thing. I thought I would be a semi colon, yun pala Colonil (as in zero). So now, I am here in St. Luke’s to have surgery. I want to share with you “How I spent my last days with my colon.”

Monday to Tuesday Aug. 31 to September 1 – My colon and I spent the days like any other day, meetings here and there, so nothing really special yet.

Wednesday, September 2 – Played basketball at Valle 6 with my usual group. Highlight was Paolo and Nico Teodoro,old team mates, showed up and played too. My colon and I said farewell to my basketball friends, and I will be seeing them in 2 to 3 months time. I played 3 games, won 2 lost 1. I took a lot of shots, more than my usual quota, sinulit ko talaga.

Thursday, September 3 – Morning meeting with Juice, then went to ADMU to pick the boys. My colon and I bade farewell the grade school for now. Then in the evening, I met with poker buds Noy, Heng, Chris, Mark, and birthday boy Blue. We played a couple of games, while also tuning in to Halikinu Radio. Lost all my games. Haay, malas. Still, my colon and I bid my buds goodbye. See you in a month or two. The weekend was coming up, and this will surely be a last hurrah for me and my colon.

Friday, September 4 – Went to Mall of Asia with Juice and Reese to meet up with good friends Al and Reggie. Al, Juice, my colon and I, met up with Al for a a while to talk investments, them later, Al, colon and I met up with Reggie to go to the Golf Expo at SMX. It was a productive day, as I was able to buy a golf bag at 50% off and a new 54deg. Nike wedge. Reggie bought a new driver, jacket, and a golf set. The day ended very well as my colon and I, with Reg, Juice and Reese, ate at Cafe Med. Busog! Colon bloated but happy. Parang last few meals niya na ito, kaya, I gave in.

Saturday, September 5 – My colon and I went to our event, Mommy Milkshake Marathon. Despite the rain, families came with their kids to run in the 5k and 3k at Bonifacio Hi-street. Around 400 people came to run to their support for breastfeeding. I had another event immediately after for a fbric softener, and that went well also. It was my mom-in laws birthday, and we celebrated at Astoria Plaza with my in bro in laws and my sis in laws and our respective families.. We checked in had dinner and spent the night there. My colon and I were tired from the events, but we were happy as we got to eat pancit, bbq, chicken, and chorizo rice. Yummmm!!!!! I slept with nervous excitement as I would play golf the next day, early morning. Sunday, September 6 – Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. The weather did not cooperate with us, and it was raining. After conferring with my golfing mates we decided to postpone the game for Monday. The families went to Shang Mall for mass and lunch. Colon and I were happy as we ate in Mongkok Chinese restaurant. Chicken feet and Japanese siomai as appetizers, then fried rice, sweet sour pork, salt and pepper squid…. haay colon and I were stuffed again.

At Astoria Plaza

At Astoria Plaza

We then went home and met up with Nelson and Reggie. We were off to watch the rematch of Ateneo vs UP at The Arena in San Juan. Being an alumni of both schools, my colon and I were excited for this game. It was sweet revenge for the Blue Eagles. They went up 12-0, then 19-4 to practically take the fight out of the Maroons. The game thought was marred by a sad incident. UP player and former Blue Eaglet’s dad Alvin Braganza’s dad was carried out of the arena in a stretcher. I found out the next day that he passed away. My condolences to the Braganza family. Dinner that Sunday night was another gastronomic delight for my colon and I as we ate a virtual repeat performance of Chinese food, but with different viands. But same result, bondat parin. Next up in my colon farewell tour was Golf the following day.

Nelson, Me, and Reggie at the Arena. (Photo taken by Philip Sison from Fabilioh.com)

Nelson, Me, and Reggie at the Arena. (Photo taken by Philip Sison from Fabilioh.com)

The Battle of Katipunan Round 2

The Battle of Katipunan Round 2

Al Hussaini scored early over his smaller defenders

Al Hussaini scored early over his smaller defenders

Eric Salamat scored a career high 23 points mostly on drives like these

Eric Salamat scored a career high 23 points mostly on drives like these

Captain Kirk

Captain Kirk

Salva provided muscle off the bench

Salva provided muscle off the bench

Jai Reyes, here defending Mike Gamboa, had 6 triples in the game

Jai Reyes, here defending Mike Gamboa, had 6 triples in the game

Vince Burke and the Blue Eagles stuffed the Maroons

Vince Burke and the Blue Eagles stuffed the Maroons

Monday, September 6 – It was slightly raining when I arrived at Reggie’s house. A minute or 2 later, Nelson showed up. We then hopped aboard Bubbles (Reggie’s van) and went to Navy in Fort Bonifacio. We arrived in Navy around 6am, and the rains had actually stopped. We teed off shortly after. The 3 of us finished the front 9 all tied with a score of 52. The back nine was actually better for me, as I adjusted my tempo with very good results as I was now hitting my driver straight and long. At the 14th hole, it suddenly rained. As in bumagyo. I was literally in the middle of the fairway when the heavens opened up. When the rains let up, fire away!!! It was quite an adventure especially on the water logged greens. Try putting over a puddle of water. The weather cooperated with our flight and wasn’t a factor anymore the rest of the day. I scored a 97, Nelson, 99 and Reggie 100, all season highs or should I say lows for the 3 of us. Thank you Golf Expo!!!! At least my last golf game ended memorably. With a heavy heart, my colon and I bade farewell to my golf set. See you in a couple of months.

At The Navy Golf Course

At The Navy Golf Course

Come Rain or shine.......

Come Rain or shine.......

Tag araw o tag ulan......

Tag araw o tag ulan......

Laro parin.....

Laro parin.....

Pampering was up next before I made my visit to the hospital. I got a haircut, pedicure, and trimmed my goatee. My last meal at home (for the week) was my mom in laws “Dollibee” burger plus potato chips. Yummy as usual. Before leaving for the hospital though, I got a call from Coby’s Coach E basketball coach. He asked if he would allow me to let Coby play basketball with NBA Superstar Tim Hardaway in the morning show “Unang Hirit.” Of course I said yes. So with that, my colon said goodbye to the house, never to return again. I was able to get in my room 3 hours after we arrived. :( The good news was that I was still allowed to eat. So my colon and I had a last hurrah of McChicken and fries.

Tuesday, September 08- 6:30am. Tim Hardaway is being interviewed by Drew Arellano and Suzy Entrata. They then call in two kids who will play two all with him. Tim and Coby are paired together up against Drew and another boy. Coby and Tim smoke the competition, as Coby makes all his shots, while Tim misses one. What a performance. Proud daddy naman ako.Click  here to see the video.

Coby with Tim Hardaway

Coby with Tim Hardaway

So here I am in my hospital room. My doctors visited me already, and my colon and I are scheduled to part ways at 7:30am tom. Thanks my colon, I will miss you. It’s been a great 41 years. You were literally a part of me. See you guys. Wish me luck!!!!

College Basketball GNews part 2

At the halfway mark of the current UAAP season, The FEU Tamaraws and the Ateneo Blue Eagles are tied for 1st place..

Ateneo vs UST

Ateneo vs UST

After winning it’s first 2 games against powerhouse FEU, and contender UE Warriors the Blue Eagles went up against UST. The Blue Eagles were all revved up.Rabeh and Eric Salamat sparked an early breakway . Then Emman “The Man “ Monfort was simply awesome. Off the bench, he pumped in 20 points (which included 6 3 pointers) to lead the Blue Eagles to victory. They had defeated the top 3 teams in the league. Next up, were games against cellar dwellers. Visions of a 1st round sweep were playing in every Blue and White supporter’s minds.

Eric Salamat sparked an early breakaway

Eric Salamat sparked an early breakaway

Bacon Austria blocks Chris Camus.

Bacon Austria blocks Chris Camus.

Rabeh scored at will at the low block.

Rabeh scored at will at the low block.

Emman Monfort scored 20 points off the bench

Emman Monfort scored 20 points off the bench

Ryan Buenafe and the eagles were pointing to the top of the league

Ryan Buenafe and the Eagles were pointing to the top of the league

Then a week later the team was ambushed by the UP Maroons. The Eagles, were flat and overconfident, while  the Maroons were playing with passion, and also had luck on their side. It seemed like everything they were throwing up were going in, while the Eagles couldn’t buy a basket. Good bye undefeated season. Good bye 14 straight wins dating back to last season. The loss was not that hard for me to take because I am also from UP. I always said that if Ateneo would lose, I would rather it be to UP. During the singing of the alma mater, Nelson Regalado and I stood up for both anthems. I ran into Patrick Gregorio SBP Vice chairman, and Smart Big shot,who was my AIT basketball teammate during my college days, and he said “ Brad, parang nanalo na tayo ng championship.”

Salamat and Long connected early for a lay up, and ADMU looked in control.

Salamat and Long connected early for a lay up, and ADMU looked in control.

Monfort also connected early in the game.

Monfort also connected early in the game.

Marc Lopez and the Maroons took over in the 2nd half

Marc Lopez and the Maroons took over in the 2nd half

The Maroons challenged Ateneo's interior defense.

The Maroons challenged Ateneo's interior defense.

Magi Sison swatted away the Eagles' bid for a sweep.

Magi Sison swatted away the Eagles' bid for a sweep.

The shell shocked Eagles look to bounce back.

The shell shocked Eagles look to bounce back.

The Blue Eagles have since rebounded from that loss to win its next two games versus Adamson and NU , and are tied for 1st place with FEU. Despite the two blowout victories, something seemed to be lacking from the team, compared to it’s last 3 games.” Parang kulang ng gana or energy.” Rabeh, in particular has been strugling since the UP game. Going into the last game vs DLSU, who have won their last 4 games, ADMU had to realize that The Green Archers are no pushovers despite the graduation of JV Casio and Rico Maierhoffer. The Archers with Mangahas, Malabes, Bagatsing, Webb, Barua, Atkins, and up and comer Bringas are all very capable and dangerous players. Experts will say that ADMU has the edge and are expecting a blowout. I would beg to disagree. When it is Ateneo versus La Salle, throw out all the stats. Anything is possible.

Blue and Green was replaced with Yellow

Blue and Green was replaced with Yellow

The players wore yellow shirts over their unis during warm ups. (This shot courtesy of Dats Entertainment fan Reggie N))

The players wore yellow shirts over their unis during warm ups. (This shot courtesy of Thats Entertainment fan Reggie N)

Laban = Fight!!!

Laban = Fight!!!

Another epic game is to be expected, and WOW, did we get it. As a gesture of camaraderie and respect for Cory Aquino, the crowd was asked to come dressed in yellow. It was a breathtaking site as the Araneta Coliseum was 80% yellow. Both teams and their coaching staff wore yellow shirts also. Reggie and Sue Ann, Coby, Janice and I were among the 15,000 people who showed up to watch the game. After a prayer the game was on!!! Webb and Bringas did damage from early on. For Ateneo, Rabeh scored early on and Salamat was also delivering.  Then DLSU suddenly surged ahead, as ADMU couldn’t buy a basket. They were visibly rattled by Tayshaun Andrada’s 3 shotblocks and Webb’s daredevil drives. The half ended with Dlsu leading by 8 points. They further streched the lead to 11 at one point. Reigning MVP Rabeh Al-Hussaini who finished with 13 markers sprained his ankle late in the fourth period after stepping on Malabes foot. Things looked bleak. Jai Reyes’ back-to-back three-pointers sparked the Eagles’ comeback from eight points down, 46-59, early in the fourth period.Two free throws by Bacon Austria later tied the game. Erik Salamat paced the Eagles with 13 points, including a triple that shattered a 57-57 deadlock for a 60-57 Ateneo lead late in the fourth quarter. ADMU was up by 4 points with 24.7 second left in the game.  Bringas hit a  quick 3 pointer to cut the deficit to one. After two Ryan Buenafe free throws, the Eagles had a 3 point lead with 14 seconds to go. With time running out, Hiram Bagatsing pump faked Austria, leaned forward and took a double pump 3 pointer. BANG!!! Tie game. A shot for the ages. We’re going to overtime.

In the overtime session, Noy Baclao, bucking a hand injury,had seven points,4 in OT, and had 12 rebounds and four blocks, while Nico Salve tipped in a miss and had a jump hook to seal the victory, 76-72.

Ateneo squeaked past DLSU in Overtime

Ateneo squeaked past DLSU in Overtime

We were all smiles while singing the Alma Mater song. Whew!!! Tumaaas BP ko. Watta game!!!

We were all smiles while singing the Alma Mater song. Whew!!! Tumaaas BP ko. Watta game!!!

The Blue Eagles are set to meet UE as their first 2nd round opponent this Thursday, and on Sunday, will meet the Archers again. Ateneo has to step up their game further if they expect to repeat as champs. All the teams they defeated will want payback, and wil go all out. Rabeh’s staus is day to day, but ADMU had to learn to play without their MVP  who is clearly frustrated..” Rabeh has to step up and be patient,again,he is a marked man. Noy, who is doing yeomans work on defense and is crashing the boards, has to be active or assertive in offense, Long, should not hesitate to shoot his much improved jumper while Buenafe and Salamat have to get their games in control as they tend to drive recklessly hoping to fish for fouls. Jai and Eman are doing teaming up well as tag team point guards, while Salva continues to be a force off the bench. They have to find their MOJO which was present in their first 3 games. The DLSU victory showed that the boys still have a big fighting heart, but they would need more than that to repeat. Good luck to the Blue Eagles!!!! Good Luck to all the teams!!!

Greeting you from the Big Dome...... Wambigfayt!!!

Greeting you from the Big Dome...... Wambigfayt!!!

College Basketball Gnews

IMG_9512

Ateneo vs FEU at The Arena in San Juan

I was able to watch two pre-season games of the Ateneo Blue Eagles Srs basketball team team in the currently ongoing  Fil-Oil Flying V tournament in San Juan.  The first game I watched was between ADMU and the FEU Tamaraws last May 2. The Blue Eagles will be hard pressed this year to defend their UAAP crown, as they will now be minus Chris Tiu (Haaay!!!) and Yuri Escueta. Inheriting Tiu’s starting spot was Eric Salamat. The other starters for this game was UAAP MVP Rabel AL-Hussaini,  Nonoy Baclao, Jai Reyes at PG, and Oping Sumalinog, who wore Tiu’s number 17, and started in place of Ryan Buenafe. The Tamaraws were playing minus Mark Barocca, Aldrech Ramos and JR Cawaling who were in the RP Team. They started an impressive rookie RR Garcia, who scored 9 of his teams’ first 11 points and didn’t play like a newcomer at all. In fact, he got ejected in this game as he threw a punch at Jai Reyes in the 4th quarter. (Atapang a tao)  A slimmed down Reil Cervantes, 6-5 center of the Tamaraws, was also impressive, as he got Rabeh in foul trouble as he was effectively posting up and getting shots in the paint. Feu also had an import, whose name I couldn’t pronounce, and is also eligible for this season. he was a burly player who played inside and out and gave the ADMU big guys trouble.

Al Hussaini vs Cervantes in the trenches

Al Hussaini vs Cervantes in the trenches

Jai goes for three against promising rookie RR Garcia

Jai goes for three against promising rookie RR Garcia

For ADMU, Oping Sumalinog was impressive in this game. He hit around 3 3-point shots and was very active. Jai and Eric were also hitting their outside shots, which is a good sign as it opened up the middle for Rabeh to do his thing. The Ateneo running game was in full display in the first quarter as they took a slight lead at the end of the opening 12 minutes. When ADMU’s second stringers came in, it was apparent, that scoring was going to be a problem. These guys were good defensive players, but the offense sputtered. Kirk Long, who is  already blonde, looked even blonder this time, Bacon Austria (who inherited dad Leo’s feistiness but not his outside shooting), Nico Salva (who will probably inherit Chris Tiu’s shrieks form female fans, haaaay!!!),Justin Chua and Tonino Gonzaga formed the second unit. Mike Baldoz also came in when Chua was proving to be ineffective against Cervantes. Feu with Garcia, Hans Knuttel, and the son of Jack Tanuan, hit their strides and helped FEU take the lead in the 1st half.

Salamat sails in for a lay-up

Salamat sails in for a lay-up

Oping Sumalinog inherited Chris Tiu's #17 jersey.

Oping Sumalinog inherited Chris Tiu's #17 jersey.

Nico Salva might inherit the shrieks from female (and male) fans

Nico Salva might inherit the shrieks from female (and male) fans

Noy Baclao had his hands full defending FEU's "import."

Noy Baclao had his hands full defending FEU's "import."

Foul trouble to big man Rabeh forced Coach Norman to play rookie Frank Golla some minutes. He had his moments, but he has a long way to go. Rabeh struggled all night against all the big men FEU threw against him. I noticed, that Rabeh was complaining too much about the calls, whining really, and it affected his game. C’mon big guy, get used to it. Man up!!! He eventually fouled out. Noy Baclao, Jai and Salamat, righted the ship in time in the fourth. But, with FEU down by 1, with seconds to go, they kept getting a 2nd and 3rd chance to win the game, but Noy Baclao, eventually pulled down the crucial defensive rebound, was fouled and trooped to the foul line to ice the game with 3 seconds to go. He made the first free throw, then missed the second one. As Feu got the board, they  threw an outlet pass, but was intercepted by Long, to preserve the hard fought 2 point win. It was a win, but remember FEU did not have all their key players, ans we were only missing Ryan Buenafe. FEU is a definite title contender and powerhouse in the upcoming UAAP season. Juami Tiongson made a cameo appearance in this game, the only other rookie in the ADMU roster to play.

Rookies Frank Golla and Juami Tiongson had cameo appearances in this game.

Rookies Frank Golla and Juami Tiongson had cameo appearances in this game.

When he wasn't complaining to the refs, Rabeh was scoring at the low post

When he wasn't complaining to the refs, Rabeh was scoring at the low post

A couple of plays later, Rabeh fouled out on this play. In fairness to him, it should have been called an offensive foul.

2 minutes later, Rabeh fouled out in this play . In fairness to him, it should have been called an offensive foul.

Eric Salamat bullied his way in the low post for two crucial points plus 1.

Eric Salamat bullied his way in the low post for two crucial points plus 1.

Ateneo escaped with a 2 point win.

Ateneo escaped with a 2 point win.

The second ADMU game I watched was an interesting match vs defending 3peat NCAA champions the San Beda Red Lions. The Red Lions were now without Sam Ekwe, their man mountain down low, Pong Escobal, now in the PBA, and Ogie Menor who apparently will apply for the PBA draft this year. Also out with an ACL is starting point guard Borgie Hermida. The Red Lions had a new center, Sudan “Superman” Daniels, a US recruit, who  during the warm-ups was dunking like crazy. For ADMU, Ryan Buenafe was back in the fold, although he looked a bit on the heavy side, but maybe it was the hair. The Blue Eagles had just come back from a month long training stint in the US and this was their first game back.

San Beda's "Superman" Daniels

San Beda's "Superman" Daniels

ADMU and SBC benefactor MVP was on ahnd to watch his two favorite teams play. He showed his tru colors on his shirt. Seated beside him was Coach Toroman, whom I greeted. "Hi Kots!!!"

ADMU and SBC benefactor MVP was on hand to watch his two teams play. He showed his true colors on his shirt. Seated beside him was Coach Toroman, whom I greeted. "Hi Kots!!!"

The Blue Eagles’ starting lineup was no surprise as Buenafe, Baclao, and Al-Hussaini manned the frontline, while Eric Salamat and Jai Reyes were in the backcourt. Coach Frankie Lim’s starting line up was a bit surprising as he left Daniels on the bench, and started two behemoths, Baby Shaq Taganas and Dave Marcelo, plus 6-4 Bambam Gamalinda in the frontcourt, with Garvo Lanete and Chico Tirona in the backcourt.

Tip off........

Tip off........

Early on Rabeh and Noy baclao frolicked in the paint, quickly making Marcelo pick up two fouls. Off the bench. sophomore Jake Pascual came in and brough life to SBC’s offense with his jumpers. Salamat and Jai were also in a groove hitting jumpers, while Buenafe was drawing fouls from his defenders. ADMU led after the 1st canto.

If Rabeh wasn't scoring, he was dishing off to Noy, who was also actively scoring gainst Taganas and Marcelo.

If Rabeh wasn't scoring, he was dishing off to Noy, who was also actively scoring against Taganas and Marcelo.

Buenafe was scoring on his patented hangtime moves.

Buenafe was scoring on his patented hangtime moves.

Pascual came in and gave the Red Lion's offense a boost with his jumpers.

Pascual came in and gave the Red Lion's offense a boost with his jumpers.

In the second quarter, Daniels came in and his impact was immediate. He blocked Rabeh’s shot in the low post, after the UAAP MVP thought he had eluded him. Suddenly ADMU couldn’t buy a basket  and their whole offense sputtered. Nico Salva kept missing point blank shots, while the other big men were now intimidated with Danile’s prescence in the post. Kirk Long and Eric Salamat’s forays kept the team in but they yielded a 9 point lead to SBC at the half.

Superman ready to take flight

Superman ready to take flight

The bench mob of salva, Chua and Bacon gang up to stop "Superman."

The bench mob of Salva, Chua,Gonzaga and Bacon gang up to stop "Superman."

Salamat and Long kept the Blue eagles in the game in the first half.

Salamat and Long kept the Blue Eagles in the game in the first half.

Al Hussaini was now being double teamed by Daniels and other SBC big men. Rabeh's response, he picked up his first "faking a foul" call on one of his complaints.

Al Hussaini was now being double teamed by Daniels and other SBC big men. Rabeh's response, he picked up his first "faking a foul" call on one of his complaints.

As the second half started, Jai and Salamat took command and anchored a scoring blitz that enabled ADMU to tie the score with San Beda. But Superman Daniels again came to the rescue and Ateneo spent the rest of the game trying to catch up. Rabeh couldn’t get his game going against the bigger Daniels, and was called for “faking a foul.” Yup, you heard it, “FAKING A FOUL.” WTF? Sorry guys, either it is a foul or it is not. Faking a foul? Both teams were called for this infraction.Daniels  had two alley oop dunks in this game during SBC’s charge into the lead. WAW!!! Noy Baclao and the other Blue Eagles keyed a late run  in the fourth,but turnovers spelled their doom. Later, Garvo Lanete sealed the deal with a layup late in the game.

A second half blitz by Jai, Buenafe and Salamat brought the team back from a 10 point deficit.

A second half blitz by Jai, Buenafe and Salamat brought the team back from a 10 point deficit.

daniels quickly came back in the game, and San Beda was back in control. Daniels even scored on 2 alley oop dunks.

Daniels quickly came back in the game, and San Beda was back in control. He even threw down 2 alley-oop dunks during the 2nd half.

Admu had a late run, but Garvo Lanete's layup sealed the San beda win

Admu had a late run, but Garvo Lanete's layup sealed the San Beda victory.

Ateneo loses by 9 points to San Beda

Ateneo loses by 9 points to San Beda

Here is Al Hussaini's "faking a foul" call. he got teed up for his one. Later Garvo Lanete got the same call called against him. "Faking a foul?" Only in the Philippines.....

Here is Al Hussaini's "faking a foul" call. He got teed up for this one. Later Garvo Lanete got the same call called against him. "Faking a foul?" Only in the Philippines!!!

Although Ateneo finished the elims with a 5 win 2 loss record, and a seat in the quarterfinals, they withdrew from the tournament because of a prior commitment. San Beda goes up into the quarterfinals against DLSU. Good luck to both teams. As for Ateneo, the task looks tough for the defending champs. They will surely miss Yuri and Chris’ leadership,but a good sight was the much improved marksmanship of Salamat and Long from the outside. Especially Long, who appeared to be much more comfortable and confident this time.Must be the hair color. rabeh has to quit complaining and play strong in the low post. Too much finesse, not enough raw power, in my opinion. Buenafe has to get into game shape, while Noy Baclao seems to be there already. Justin Chua has to be ready to support the other bigs. So with Salva and Baldoz. Who will step up from this group and steer the Eagles to a back to back crown? Let’s ask the Magic 8 ball………..

Who among the Blue eagles is the King Eagle? even Coach Norman looks confused....

Who among the Blue Eagles is the King Eagle? even Coach Norman looks confused....

See ya in the UAAP all………