UNPREDICTABLE: UAAP Season 72 First Round Wrap-Up
As of this writing, the first round of UAAP’s 72nd Season has four more games left before round two starts. Late last month, I gave a forecast of how the list would be split by the end of the season. And I have to admit, I’m wrong with my predictions. The good thing is, almost everybody else, even sports experts and columnists, were wrong as well.
That’s because this season of the UAAP has seen a balanced distribution of players. Of course, we are seeing UP, Adamson and NU, again visiting the bottom three of the standings, but if you were closely watching the games, all of them could have easily won one or two games more, which could have spelled a crazier mix-up in the list. You also hear names like Alvin Padilla, Lester Alvarez, and Mervin Baloran, who are newbies into the league, but emerging already as key players for the next seasons to come. Plus the fact that it took an unusual number of overtime games for the standings to arrive as it is now, only goes to show that things could have gone some other way.
But of course, could haves are nothing short what ifs and if only’s.
Still, you have to seriously consider how round two would be like. La Salle is now picking up its game pace, and has since won all 4 games after dropping their first two. The Pumaren brothers’ chemistry is now falling into place. Ateneo is still way up in the standings, and has yet to face its fiercest rival La Salle. Just along the same ranking is FEU who is due to face UE for their last game of round one. An FEU win will lift them also to top place, otherwise UE catches up with them, and probably La Salle if they win over Ateneo.
For the bottom four of the list, UST will still end up holding on to the number 5 spot, and is still very much into the race for the Final Four. On the other hand, the last three teams have two scenarios to face. If UP aces a win over UST, then only one of them will end up with one win for round one. Otherwise, either NU or Adamson will share last place with State U.
This Saturday, incidentally is the game of the bottom four, while Sunday is set for the top half of the list. NU has yet to prove that its blow out win over UP was no fluke, and they will be doing it against the team, Adamson, who is also out to prove the same story, also with UP. For the second game of the Saturday sked, UP will be going up against a tough team which is looking for a win to break their tie in win-loss. UST just suffered a massacre from FEU and will definitely pouring it out against the Maroons. The Maroons, however, is also coming off a heartbreaking overtime loss to UE, and will indeed an added impetus for them to win this one. UST may have the edge, but UP could be just as deadly like when they sniped Ateneo.
On Sunday, the top four will slug it out to see which team will have the momentum just before round two begins. Apparently each are going up against their closest and greatest rivals: Ateneo-La Salle, and UE-FEU. FEU has a strong line-up of veterans equalling those of UE. A great percentage of UE’s current roster were Warriors already when they had the 14-0 run. But FEU is on the top spot, losing only once to Ateneo, and is out to seal the deal against the team that is fast having the penchant for winning games that go the distance. As for the next game, nothing much can be said against the greatest rivalry of UAAP Basketball. Ateneo has the experience, but La Salle also has the momentum. La Salle has won more consecutive games this season, but Ateneo only has one loss.
Whew! I’ve come to writing this far only to sum up the ongoing UAAP Season 72 with one word: UNPREDICTABLE.