Sizing Up the UAAP Opposition – Part 1

We now give our own take on the other seven men’s basketball teams of UAAP Season 73. Since we are a partisan website, we won’t do any projections or predictions but rather assess how the Green Archers will measure up against them this year.

NU Bulldogs

A New coach, new talented players coming from reputable high school programs and a 6’7″ Cameroonian, when it comes to all that is new, NU has got it all for you.

Carryovers Mervin Baloran, Kokoy Hermosisima and Jewel Ponferrada remain the vital cogs of the team. The biggest splash is when the Bulldogs have finally gotten a piece of the pie in the competitive high school recruitment market. When was the last time NU was considered a viable option for top junior players? To be honest I really don’t know, but pre-season rumors had them aggressively recruiting Ael Banal from Ateneo.

The Bulldogs have languished in the cellar of the league for so long but things might change this year. NU has always been know to play the spoilers role but with their reloaded roster, they will probably do more damage this season.

How do we measure up against them?

We’ve had issues last year with their skillful inside game, as well as their quick guards. With the addition of the Cameroonian, the battles of the boards will be critical for our run-and-gun team.

UP Maroons

The Fighting Maroons were always billed as contenders for the past 5 season but they always seemed to fall short of expectations. Despite getting their fair share of good recruits, UP has yet to live up to their true potential. Will this year be finally it for them?

After two years of waiting, UP will finally parade Fil-Am Mike Silungan who has been scoring the lights out in the last two preseason tournaments. They also got another high-scoring guard Joshua Saret from JRU along with Martin Pascual of Ateneo and Jett Manual of Xavier. The team will still be bannered by old reliables Woody Co, Magi Sison, Mark Lopez and “the other” Martin Reyes.

The Maroons joined the last PBL tourney and reached the Finals. Yeah maybe you can contest that they got there because of their MVP guest player but this is still something for a team hoping to finally end the current longest final 4 drought in the UAAP.

How do we measure up against them?

UP has always given us problems in the past 2 years, and with Silungan finally playing, expect this to continue. The Maroons are now more experienced and confident, and can match us for speed and size. Again, our forwards and centers will have their work cut out for them.

Adamson Falcons

They should be among the contenders this season. With Leo Canuday being the only key loss, the team remains almost intact. They still have the speedy combo of Jeric Canada and Lester Alvarez, bull-strong Jan Colina and the athletic Alex Nuyles. The addition of Austin Manyara from Kenya and Will Stinnett from Guam suddenly makes Adamson title-favorites.

It was just tough-luck for the Falcons last season, losing games which could have gone their way sans some mental lapses down the stretch. Had they won those games, they could have easily made it to the final 4.

With a solid core returning along with a couple of foreign reinforcements, Adamson would really be among the teams to beat this season. That is if they finally learn how to close-out games.

How do we measure up against them?

Our biggest problem with Adamson was their quick pgs, who were adept at penetrating or hitting the long shot. The pressure defense should be a bit more effective this year, but again our interior players will have to battle against taller opponents.

UST Growling Tigers

UST were a no-show during the preseason but to be honest, they really don’t have anything interesting to hide. With the departure of MVP Dylan Ababou, Kazim Mirza and Allan Maliksi, the Tigers are hard-pressed to repeat their 4th place finish last year. They may still have last year’s ROY Jeric Teng, Clark Bautista, Chris Camus and Jeric Fortuna, but I feel they are not ready to fill-in the shoes of an Ababou or a Mirza.

How do we measure up against them?

This is a rebuilding year for UST, while Jarencio waits for his transferees to finish their residency. However, expect the Tigers to give our team a hard time, given Jarencio’s preference for a hard-nosed approach on offense and defense.