2007 Bantay Bata All Star Game

* Was able to watch the 2007 Bantay-Bata UAAP vs. NCAA All Star Game over at “The Arena” in San Juan. Despite the cheap ticket prices, “The Arena” was only about a third full.

* 3 Pt. Shootout
– The competition was mainly boring, until SBC’s JR Tecson started hitting shots one after the other, on his way to 20 pts. in the eliminations. JV Casio shot next, & nearly equaled that w/ 19 pts. RJ Jazul shot last, & also shot 19 pts.
– JV advanced to the Finals for the UAAP All-Stars, while Tecson advanced for the NCAA All-Stars.
– Tecson was a disappointment in the finals, hitting only 6 pts., while JV improved on his score to 23 pts. Which is probably why JV is the Starting Point Guard of a champion team.

* Slam Dunk Competition
– The slam dunk competition was kinda mainly lame, but in fairness Guevarra did deserve to win w/ his consistent & pretty good dunks. Ekwe had the better dunk, but did it after the alloted time.

* The UAAP All-Stars initially showed much better passing plays on the half court, & better fastbreak plays in the open court, racing to a double-digit lead in the 1st half. The NCAA All-Stars, though, settled down in the 2nd half & started finding their groove, overhauling the deficit & finally lead by as much as 6, & from there they never relinquished the lead. The UAAP All-Stars had the chance to equalize or cut down the lead in the last minute, but their outside shots just weren’t falling in.

UAAP All-Stars

* Ford Arao (ADMU)
– Has definitely turned into a great offensive player. He was hitting from all angles w/ those outside / hook / fadeaway shots, & getting away from no less than Sam Ekwe himself w/ those neat spin moves. Just makes me wonder why he had to wait 5 full seasons in Ateneo before unloading such a spectacular offensive repertoire.
– W/ his fine performance against Sam, I think this guy is definitely ready for the pros in 2008. Could be a valuable addition, too, to the SEA National Team.

* JV Casio (DLSU)
– JV, just like Jazul, bought his 3 pt. shootout results to the game, hitting a couple of critical 3 pt. shots. Very steady at point, had a couple of nifty passes early in the game. Kinda short, visibly shorter than Jazul or Dela Pena, but I think he has what it takes to reach the pros. Should’ve never left Mendiola.

NCAA All-Stars

* RJ Jazul (Letran)
– Jazul made me a believer in this game. Good height for a guard (around 6’0″), fast, quick, & a terrific ballhandler, he is also a terrific outside shot, as shown in the 3 pt. competition. Pretty good playmaker, too, very steady at the point. Spent a lot of minutes on the floor at no. 1, at least until he fouled out, a testament to Coach Frankie Lim’s confidence on his playmaking & offensive abilities.
– Deserved at least half of that All-Star MVP Award, being the critical half of the “Jazul & Menor Show” in the 3rd Qtr.
– The future is bright for this guy, possibly all the way to the pros.

* Ogie Menor (SBC)
– Was a huge disappointment in the 1st Qtr. as a starter at no. 3, missing his 1st 6 shots, & making a couple of turnovers.
– Switched to no. 2 in the 3rd Qtr., & just ….. exploded out there on the court. Menor is most dangerous in the open court & when facing the basket at half court, because it’s where he can & did beat everybody out there in the court off the dribble w/ his spectacular 1st step. Once inside the paint, he had enough leaping ability & upper body strength to make those difficult layups. He tore the lane again & again, & scored on layups.
– Great athleticism, in spurts he was easily the fastest player there on the court, streaking back & forth on both ends of the floor.
– Didn’t just make an impact on offense, but on defense, too, making at least 3 steals in the “Jazul & Menor Show” in the 3rd Qtr.
– W/ a little more mental toughness & outside shooting, Menor’s potential is limitless.

* Sam Ekwe (SBC)
– Sam’s game has matured, or “finessed” a lot. There were no rim-rattling dunks this time, only a lot of mid-range floaters on offense.
– Had 3 such field goals, 2 free throws & 2 blocks in the last 3 min. of the game, helping seal the win for the NCAA All-Stars.

* Kevin Dela Pena (MIT)
– Good height & heft at no. 1 (est. around 6’1″), & a great ballhandler
– But he didn’t seem to be as good an outside shot as Jazul. His penetrations weren’t that great either. Playmaking, he was manning the point when the UAAP All-Stars went into that 14 pt. lead in the 2nd Qtr. Probably just had an off night.

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