* I was lucky enough to have been able to watch most parts of the first two games during the opening of the NCAA Season 85. As expected, the college crowd came in force, nearly filling up the Araneta Coliseum. Tickets from the Patron to Upper Box were sold out, with only the Gallery tickets available by the time I got in.
* The first game between San Beda College (SBC) Red Lions and the Mapua Institue of Technology (MIT) Cardinals was a blowout. For some reason, MIT just was never in the game. Even the Cardinal’s main scorer this season, Allen Mangahas, struggled to get his points.
* This gave the opportunity for both teams to give playing time to their bench players and rookies. Both Ellison Maniego and Rome Dela Rosa got major minutes in the second half of the game, allowing them to allowing get a taste of playing before a huge, partisan crowd.
* Ellison wasn’t able to buy a basket from the floor, though, and all of two or three points came from the free-throw line. I know he is a rookie just out of High School, but I feel he should already start becoming more aggressive on offense, because MIT is a team that is looking for somebody help them offensively. He was given the chance to play for their Team A right away, he should take advantage of that as much as possible.
* In the game, he stayed most of the time on the perimeter, waiting for his teammates to find him open. Which, of course, rarely came. In the next couple of games, he should think more of moving constantly in and out, cutting to towards the basket to get more opportunities to score. I know he is supposed to be a shooter, but he needs to vary his offense also, to keep him from being predictable. He should also be prepared to play a more physical game once he starts frolicking closer to the basket.
First big news in the Unigames: West Negros University (WNU, old alma mater of Nonoy Baclao, before he was “discovered” by ADMU), one of Negros’ finest, if not its finest team, beats Cebu’s University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJR) by eight points, 75-68
In their next game, USJ-R then lost to Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC, a possible team to join the NCAA next season or so), also by eight points 73-81
WNU then later gives the UAAP’s 2008 champion team, the Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU), a big scare, reportedly trailing by only a point in the third quarter, before eventually losing the game by eleven points, 72-61.
USJ-R being shut out from the finals is a big surprise, as they are not just a CESAFI Final Four team, they were the runner up in this year’s tournament. Cebu was supposed to have the best league outside of the UAAP and the NCAA, and yet here they were, losing to Negros’ WNU.
Not only that, they also lost to EAC, a team that isn’t even in the NCAA (yet?). But I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt: Maybe they weren’t taking these University Games seriously, and/or that maybe they were thinking too far ahead for the PCCL. At any rate, the losses were still kinda embarassing, to say the least.
I saw Dino Daa play live in one of the last games I saw there in the Philippines. The best word to describe Dino Daa’s game, would probably be “light-footed”.
When he has the ball, Dino likes to stay on the balls of his feet. As a result, he looks like he is always lightly bouncing up and down on his feet when he moves about. That “bounciness” gives him a lot of quickness and speed, and this from a guy who is not necessarily lean, but rather medium built.
He’s not that tall, probably no more than 6’3″-6’4″, but that quickness is the reason for his success as a basketball player in the NCAA with the Letran Knighs. He is so quick, that in two to three dribbles, he is able to always gain enough space from his defender to enable him to get off a shot.
The best way to defend against those moves of his, would probably be to find someone who is at least as tall as he is, and who can keep up with his quickness. If not, then probably they can try to double team him and make him give up the ball as soon as he puts the ball down on the floor.
He also has a pretty decent set shot all the way to the three-point area to vary his offense. As long as he receives the ball in the proper position, and has about a second to aim and get off a shot, he will have a good chance of making that shot.
* Saw the game over at IBC 13 yest. evening. I couldn’t help thinking about the results of these 2 team’s 1st meeting early this year last March 3, 2008, where SBC lost against ADMU’s 2007 lineup. I was wondering how SBC would fare against that same lineup, now that they were reinforced w/ their vaunted rookie players.
* As it turned out, ADMU simply did not quite shoot as well from the 3-point area as they did in the last game. And without that 3-point shot to fall back to, ADMU looked very vulnerable out there on the floor. The 3-point shot is low percentage shot, & unless you have Allan Caidic, or Shin Dong Pa on the team, the law of averages will catch up w/ you in one game or another.
* None of the name rookies played well in the game. Justin Chua had an airball or two, while Ryan Buenafe hit the side of the board on one attempt, then committed some turnovers, prompting Norman Black to pull him out from the floor. Nico Salva had his shot spectacularly blocked by SBC’s defense, & he was only able to get some points towards the end of the game.
* Chris Tiu seems to have his guns jammed this game from the 3-point area, though he didn’t seem to have missed any of his mid-range jumpers. I think he has that shot down pat, & Black should allow him to take more of those types of shots, especially if he is missing from the 3-point range.
* The game was almost full house at the San Beda Gym. Norman Black was not around for ADMU, while Sam Ekwe was Missing In Action for SBC.
* The 1st 5 minutes of the game was basically a shootout between Chris Tiu & Ogie Menor. Both teams had complete lineups, but without the players that already graduated. Both teams also gave major minutes to their non-starters, especially in the 2nd & 3rd quarters. The game was close up until the 3rd quarter, when ADMU made a run & established a 10 + lead. SBC made a run in the 4th quarter & even led by about 2 points, but ADMU started another run, getting the lead & padding it up to about a dozen points until the end of the game.
ADMU Blue Eagles
* Chris Tiu outlasted Ogie in their shoot out, though, just great outside shooting all game long for him today. No doubt he will be ADMU’s main man on offense next season.
* Jai Reyes played well in the game at point for ADMU. Needs work on his offense, but everything else (i.e., ballhandling, passing, steals, etc.) he was pretty solid, keeping up & even surpassing SBC’s Hermida in some instances.
* I left the game w/ SSC-R leading by 10 pts., w/ only a little more than a minute left in the game. The final score was reportedly 76-66.
* Those Stags really like to push the ball as fast as possible, as they kept doing it almost all throughout the game. I think the Stags simply ran Letran to the ground in this game. They just ran … & ran … & ran, & Letran just couldn’t match SSC’s persistence at running. The scores were close at the half, w/ SSC leading by only 3 pts., 37-34. However, the Stags broke the game wide open in the 3rd quarter, & Letran just couldn’t recover
* Jim Viray has become synonymous w/ the Stags these days, & little wonder because he is the top Stag out there, hitting at least six 3 pt. shots scattered all throughout the game. Probably about 6’2″, runs the break well, decent ballhandler, seems to be pretty smart as he never took unnecessary chances off those fastbreak situations. Looks like a very solid player at no. 3. Let’s see how he fares against UE’s defense.
* UE won over UST by a whopping 23 pts., 97-74 to clinch a finals slot in the FMC Open Cup. I was actually cheering for UST, after all, they seem to have the most gorgeous fans around, he-he-he. But w/ UST out of the finals, we probably won’t get to see those ladies soon (sob).
* UE went into a full court press right from start, getting a 27-1 lead, & never looked back. The best UST could do, was cut the lead down to 10 in the 3rd quarter. But they ran out of steam, & the lead ballooned again to 20 plus points after that.
* Having a tall backcourt gives UST some advantage in some situations, but I also felt it made them vulnerable to a full court press because that tall backcourt might not have enough ballhandling ability to resist the pressure of a full court press, & that was true in this game. UST’s offense was in shambles because of that press, committing turnover after turnover, & they couldn’t run their plays well. Pido was forced to switch to a smaller backcourt to try to correct it.