The UP Fighting Maroons closed out the first round of UAAP Season 74’s Senior Men’s Basketball with a bitter and crushing defeat, 72-46, in the hands of the Adamson Soaring Falcons.
Recognizing the lethal potential of UP to pull off an upset, Coach Leo Austria and his boys wasted no time and possession just to make sure they can pull away as far as they can from the Maroons, who now dropped to seven, tied up with the NU Bulldogs, 2-5. After a low scoring first quarter, 8-6, the Falcons pulled away at the end of the half with a 12 point lead, 35-23, led by their veteran leader Alex Nuyles, who notched 21 points for the San Marcelino-based squad.
It got uglier from then on for the Maroons, as Lester Alvarez joined the fray for the scoring binge of Adamson, who had already dropped six treys over the hapless Maroons. Halfway through the final quarter, Adamson kept the rampage going with a 62-39 lead. What seemed to be a working defense for UP during the early minutes of the game was lost the rest of the game. Their offense, obviously, wasn’t there as well.
Some analysts see these crushing defeats by UP in the last two games (UST beat them by 19), as an outcome of the upset they pulled off against FEU. UP’s second win over the now third seeded Tamaraws had earned UP a target on their backs as the “team to avoid losing to” especially for the top seeded teams. Coach Leo was quoted to have said his fear for the Maroons possibly beating them. But, more than just the fear of earning shame for losing to UP, the comment seems to be more of respect for what UP brings into the tables as far as their ball play is concerned.
The UP faithfuls remain positive it will be a different second round for the Maroons, who are aiming to break the stigma of their winning percentage the last four seasons.
The teams won’t be resting much, as they are already scheduled to face off starting Sunday. UP will immediately square off with UST on Sunday.
And as always, UP will still be fighting to up to their last game.
We continue with part two of part two of our series on the best of the UAAP Schools as far as their contribution to Philippine basketball is concerned.
Former UE Red Warriors Allan Caidic took over Rino Salazar as playing coach for Barangay Ginebra until he eventually took over as the head coach. While his career as coach wasn’t as colorful as his career as a player, Caidic was able to keep the respect he has earned during his early years as a basketball player by involving himself with charity games, as well as playing games together with the retired players from the league. He had a chance of leading Barangay Ginebra to the Finals in 2001.
Incidentally, he coached a team that has been long coached by a fellow UE Red Warrior, the living legend and former senator Robert Jaworski. Jaworski won four championships as a coach, and was part of the National Team that won two golds, a silver and a bronze in the FIBA games from 1967 to 1973. His prolific career as one of PBA’s most lasting image makes him also the oldest active player ever in professional basketball, as he was still playing at age 50. Aside from Caidic and Jaworski, another reknowned PBA coach hailing from UE was Jaime “Jimmy” Mariano, who led the now-defunct Presto team to its 1990 All-Filipino Championship Title.
The Adamson Falcons is the proud alma mater of coach Kenneth Duremdes, who called the shots for the Coca-Cola Tigers in 2008, the team he also played for the last time as a pro-cager. He was preceded by another UAAP product, Binky Favis, a former UST Growling Tiger, and succeeded by a fellow UAAP player he had a chance of playing against during their college days, coach Bo Perasol of the UP Fighting Maroons.
The UP Fighting Maroons, though not much known for winning traditions in UAAP Basketball, has been the breeding ground for most of PBA’s best coaches. Aside from Lipa, Altamirano and Perasol, coaches Ryan Gregorio and Yeng Guiao are the other two PBA coaches who were proud products of UP. Gregorio recently moved over to the Meralco Bolts as the new head coach, while Guiao is head tactician for the Burger King Titans.
Coach Derrick Pumaren, the older of three other known Pumaren coaches (Franz and Dindo), is the third UE Red Warrior among the roster of PBA’s coaches. After serving as Norman Black’s assistant during San Miguel’s Grandslam Season, he went on to coach for five other PBA Teams.
Former UST Growling Tiger Siot Tanquincen coached the Barangay Ginebra Kings in 2004 and led them to winning the PBA Fiesta Cup championship. He would win back-to-back for the next conference, the Philippine Cup. With 3 championships under his belt, Tanquincen is currently the assistant to former La Salle Green Archer Jong Uichico who coached the San Miguel Beermen for seven years starting 1999, leading the team to 6 championships.
While he is mostly known to have steered an NCAA team, the San Sebastian Stags, to five straight titles, coach Arturo “Turo” Valenzona is a full-blooded UAAP product, hailing from Far Eastern University‘s basketball program. he actually coached FEU for 19 years, one of the longest tenures in collegiate coaching, and won seven championships, giving the Tamaraws the most number of championship harvests in its college history under one coach, and making FEU as the school with the most UAAP basketball championships.
All in all, 16 of the 40 enlisted and documented coaches, past and present, of the PBA were products of UAAP schools.
(P.S. Apologies for the other coaches that are not in this list due to limited availability of resources. These details were gathered from Wikipedia).
Basketball season for the UAAP is finally over–at least for the men. The ADMU Blue Eagles are back with the bragging rights for the third straight year. The seven other teams are either looking forward for the PCCL, if they qualified, or for the PBL, the next best thing to a competitive environment.
But for now, let everybody rest their weary bodies. Let the referees free for a while, as they treat their kids to Jollibee somewhere. Let the coaches lie lazily in some nice, cozy bed, as they try to make up for the sleepless nights they’ve had with the boys in practice. And the boys? Well, just go figure.
In the meanwhile, let’s take a quick lookback at the season that was. It’s nice to have an idea where the teams will be picking up next season as early as now, when everything’s as fresh as lettuce on salad.
We’ll take a sweeping view of each of the eight teams and see how they fared and what’s probably up for them in the months to come. Let’s start from the top:
1. ADMU BLUE EAGLES
Only very few expected them to three-peat, especially at a time that they didn’t have the likes of Baclao, Al-Hussaini, and Jai Reyes. But that’s exactly what Norman Black and his team wanted–to prove all their doubters wrong. That without the flare of a superstar, they can, as a team do the historic back-to-back-to-back. And they worthily earned their keep–a third consecutive trophy in men’s basketball (and a double crown with the juniors, at that).
Coach Norman predicted one more for the Katipunan squad next season, and that’s not hard to believe. With only Eric Salamat exiting from the roster, the team will have a strong and more mature line-up in Season 74. While the other teams are also rebuilding to catch up with them, all Ateneo needs to do is stick to the championship-tested gameplan, as well as develop the incoming prospects for their team.
2. FEU TAMARAWS
It’s both easy and hard to find where to start when you talk about FEU. Easy, because you know what happened, but hard because you can’t figure out why. Some say it was probably another of those game-fixing fiascos they’ve been involved with since 2006 (especially if you consider the Game One blowout they had). Some say they peaked way too early in the season, and that by the time they were in the Finals, they were just running on fumes.
Nonetheless, the improvement FEU had this season was that they made it to the finals after 5 years of attempting to get past the playoffs. Coach Glenn Capacio’s tenure in the league isn’t certain as of the moment. His health condition, and the stressful pressure that was put on him for this season isn’t exactly what you would call a light burden. And as for the team, the aftermath of their vanquishing will linger on for a couple more weeks. Hopefully, they can brush all of these like dust in the shoulder, move on, and prove all their critics wrong.
3. AdU SOARING FALCONS
I’d be irked to know that Leo Austria was dismayed that they didn’t do well this season! Of all the 8 teams, I’d give it to them for being the most improved. They actually got to the point that they were giving the biggest scare in all of the UAAP games–of possibly dethroning the defending champions.
I believe next year they will make it to the Finals. Austria has done a good job of laying down the foundations for the holdover roster to build on next season. I’m thinking next season could possibly be a battle of the birds, unless some other team intends to spoil the avian duel. But all in all, making it to the third spot is a feat Adamson should be applauded for. They’ve done a great job of giving other giant teams a run for their money. Next season, maybe they’re one of the giants.
4. DLSU GREEN ARCHERS
Surprise, surprise! This one courtesy of Coach Dindo Pumaren and the new blood he infused into what was being considered a La Salle team of lesser caliber than the champion teams that Dindo’s brother Franz had mentored. With a rookie-laden squad, and withour really one go-to guy to depend on, La Salle took on the role of a sniping Archer, and one by one disposed of their opponents, to finally make it back into the final four, after missing it last season. The trademark defense philosophy was brought back by Dindo, and this mindset might just mature even some more come next season.
They’re looking at the prospect of strengthening the center position, now that they’ve got the back court and the wing quite established. A couple more big men into their line-up and they can forge an Ateneo-La Salle rivalry one more time.
Among the best and greatest tacticians of Philippine basketball, a throng of UAAP-bred coaches stand out among the rest. Here, in the second of our blog series on the best of the UAAP in the sport of basketball, we take a look at the roster of PBA coaches and assistant coaches since 1975 who were products of the UAAP.
Bogs Adornado of the UST Growling Tigers, the same player who was the first winner of the PBA’s MVP Award, coached the Alaska Aces in 1989, before giving up the post to Tim Cone, who has since been the only coach of Alaska.
The former La Salle Green Archer Gee Abanilla, is currently the assistant coach of the San Miguel Beermen. He had a collegiate coaching stint with the CSB Blazers in 2008 before giving the post to Caloy Garcia.
Though now coaching for an NCAA team, Letran’s head coach Louie Alas was a former Adamson Soaring Falcon. His short and controversial stint as head coach of Mobiline 2001 opened up a door for him to coach the Letran Knights, which immediately won a championship under his tutelage. Alas also holds the distinction of leading the Manila Metrostars of the now defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association to 22 straight games, the most by any ball club in basketball history.
Perhaps unknown to many, while Benjie Paras was the face of the UP Fighting Maroons when it won its championship in 1986, it was Eric Altamirano who won the MVP Awards that year. His first try at college coaching for UP resulted in the Fighting Maroons entrance to the Final Four ten years after he had won as a champion Maroon himself. That was the last of UP’s Final Four appearance since then until now. Altamirano has also successfully led the Mobiline Phone Pals to winning the PBA Centennial Cup in 1998.
Altamirano’s predecessor was the bemedalled Joe Lipa also from the UP Fighting Maroons. Lipa was the coach of UP when it won its 1986 championship. Lipa, who is currently UAAP’s commissioner, coached the now defunct Formula Shell in 1987 and in 1994. He also had a stint with Air21.
Each of the eight current schools comprising the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) have a claim in basketball history here in the country. It’s nice to take a sweeping view of how our college ball clubs have made a significant impact in the history of the sport since it was introduced here in the early 20’s.
For this first in a series of blogs about the best of the UAAP Schools in Basketball, we’ll take a look-back at the past MVP’s of the Philippine Basketball Association who were graduates of a UAAP school.
The first ever MVP of the PBA was Bogs Adornado of the Crispa Redmanizers, and he was a proud University of Santo Tomas alumni. He also won that award thrice, the second best record in league history, next to Ramon Fernandez and Alvin Patrimonio, each with 4.
The University of the East boasts of producing the most number of distinct MVP’s coming from the same school. The “Living Legend” Robert Jaworski, triggerman Allan Caidic, and the recent awardee of the MVP award, James Yap, were all Red Warriors.
Benjie Paras, the only PBA player to have ever won both MVP and ROY awards in the same year, is a product of the UP Fighting Maroons.
Danny Ildefonso, on his way to winning back-to-back MVP honors from 2000-2001, won the Best Player of the Conference award five straight times, the most by any player in the PBA. Ildefonso was a product of the NU Bulldogs.
13 of the 35 times that the MVP Award was given went to former UAAP players. Johnny Abarrientos from the FEU Tamaraws, and Kenneth Duremdes from the Adamson Soaring Falcons complete the list of players in the PBA who have won the MVP honors, all coming from the UAAP.
In summary, the following PBA MVP Awardees were from the UAAP:
1. Bogs Adornado (UST, three times)
2. Robert Jaworski (UE)
3. Allan Caidic (UE)
4. James Yap (UE, two times)
5. Benjie Paras (UP, two times)
6. Kenneth Duremdes (AdU)
7. Johnny Abarrientos (FEU)
8. Danny Ildefonso (NU, two times)
The first round of atrocities in the UAAP have just wrapped up. Here are the standings so far after 49 games:
1. FEU (7-0)
2. AdU (5-2)
3. ADMU (5-2)
4. DLSU (4-3)
5. NU (3-4)
6. UST (3-4)
7. UE (1-6)
8. UP (0-7)
Let’s take some time out to analyze how it ended up this way for the teams:
We knew this was coming for the Tamaraws, especially when they handed the Eagles their first loss. That one would have gone forgotten–until La Salle followed suit to defeat Ateneo. That was in itself a statement that the Eagles are no longer in the lofty position they used to enjoy. The Tams have taken it from away from them, and are expected to keep it that way after round two. It won’t get any easier, though–this second round is all about seeding and survival, and so FEU will be the team to catch up. After all, there’s nothing higher than the top.
The Falcons made sure they lived up to their tag name “Soaring”, now that they’re up to the number two spot, tied with a fellow avian in ADMU. They will surely make it to the Final Four this year, and with how things are going for them, even the Finals isn’t a far reach anymore. The timely stepping up of their veterans in their games helped a lot in improving their standings. Indeed, they will not be denied this year.
The loss of their key players from last year’s champion team has unraveled the Eagles into where they are now. Still, they are as formidable as ever. They are the team that won with the largest margin in a game, against their neighbor UP. Only one of the two losses they incurred so far are inexplicable, the one that La Salle handed to them. It’s been so good so far for the Eagles when it comes to being a final four contender. As for that three-peat, Ateneo has some serious matters to tackle to make it to the Finals.
Surprise, surprise, college ballers! La Salle is on the top half of the list! Thanks to the renewed and recharged roles of their key veterans under the new leadership of Coach Dindo Pumaren, the Archers are on slot number four, a place that was being reserved for some other team than them. But since they won their opening game against UP, going on to defeat their rival Ateneo, and a couple more, La Salle ahead of the other half of the pack. The only danger is that if they slip, they might be the first to be ousted of their spot in the standings. And they shouldn’t underestimate who are the other four hungry for their share.
They definitely have graduated from being the league’s whipping boys. The new leadership of Eric Gonzales is working for the team. Emmanuel Mbe has done wonders for the team’s chemistry, and it might just be that they can catch up with the rest of the team ahead of them. It’s the “work harder” part of their game that they should really work harder on.
They’re relatively better than the other teams, considering their loss of their big time players and scorers. The rookie-laden UST has actually proved that age doesn’t matter, and neither does experience. They’ve win a couple of games, and lost the others in close calls. If there is any consolation to their performance, they can get better actually. The next seven games are crucial for them, since they’re just two games away from making it to the top half of the standings.
We knew UE would slide down, but not THIS down. Apparently, their loss of their big Warriors from last year’s roster has cost them a lot. And while Paul Lee is leading the way, it seems he’s doing it on the floor alone. Their single win came at the expense of UP, the cellar-dwelling team so far. That actually tells you how possibly weak UE has become. But seven games can still make a difference, and UE can still hope for the best.
I’m tempted to go lengthy on this one–and who wouldn’t? After being the most talked about team to finally make it this year, the UP Fighting Maroons are nowhere to be found in the winner’s radar. And their last loss to NU wasn’t exactly how they wanted to end the season–a monumental collapse that saw their 22 point edge over the Bulldogs disappear to become a 4-point defeat. And I really don’t know what to do with all the woes they are experiencing right now–the switching of of coaches in the middle of the season, the unusual sponsoring from big companies, the US trip that supposedly “gelled” the team”, the inconsistency of the veterans, the failure of the sophies to step up, and the rookies who have simmered down from their hype. The UP community is ailing and reeling over this one, and that’s one thing you can never blame them of. For now, the hope is that the Maroons won’t get swept again for the second time in four years.
Two of the pre-season favorites coming into the UAAP Season 73 squared off last Saturday, and it was the Adamson Falcons who proved their mettle against the UP Fighting Maroons, winning 66-59.
The Maroons were able to knot the game at 44 by the end of the third period. But after that, it was all Adamson defense that held down the Maroons to a miserable 4-of-16 in thei field goal department. Woody Co, Mike Silungan and Martin Reyes worked it out to keep in close tab with the San Marcelino Five, who just went out with all the defensive stops that hindered the Diliman Squad to notch their first win for the season.
Adamson, courtesy of the heroics of Eric Camson, Jerick Canada and Alex Nuyles, are now on the top half of the standings, sharing a 2-1 card with Ateneo and La Salle. UP, on the other hand, is at the bottom, together with a wounded UE Red Warriors, who suffered a painful crushing from the Archers last Sunday, 82-63.
So far, FEU is on top with a clean slate of two wins and no losses. NU and UST are in 5th and 6th slots with one win each and two incurred defeats.
UP is set to face the UST Growling Tigers on Thursday at 2PM, along with the UE-FEU game at 4PM. UP needs to win this game to escape the cellar momentarily with a 1-2 card, or else they find themselves reeling at 0-3 all alone.
Since nobody was making a fuss about them during the pre-season, the DLSU Green Archers made a noise of their own in winning fashion, beating the UP Fighting Maroons by 18 points, 80-62 on opening day of the UAAP Season 73.
Simon Atkins, the newly anointed captain of Gang Green, proved that he deserved the spot as he led all scorers with 20 points, including 3 crucial treys that sparked the hopes of the host team this season to barge back to the Final Four after missing it last year on the final season of legendary coach Franz Pumaren.
New head coach, and sibling to Franz, Dindo, got his first win as the new head tactician for the Taft ballers. Despite a change in headship, La Salle’s players picked up from the same defense trademark that the brothers were known for even during their PBA days. And true enough, the pressure defense coming from a relatively young roster of players from La Salle overpowered the experience and grit of a veteran-laden UP squad, who was actually favored to take a first game win over the host school.
UP’s players committed twice as much infractions on the ball than La Salle’s, 21 to 10, and shot with less efficiency with their field goals, 31% to La Salle’s 38%. Only veteran Woody Co and rookie Mike Silungan came up with double-digit figures each with 17. Other than the two players, all other UP ballers who stepped on the floor contributed no more than 8 points individually.
At one point, the Maroons closed the gap at the end of the half 34-31, until a Webb-Villanueva tandem created an 18-7 run that disrupted the shift of momentum from UP in the fourth quarter. The Diliman five showed little defense to stop the Archers and played catch-up, which hardly made a dent in the lead. It was around 3:20 left in the ballgame that the 74-56 lead of La Salle made it clear that they were bagging one win.
In other games, another unexpected win came from the downplayed UST Growling Tigers, winning 80-67 against last year’s runner-up, the UE Red Warriors. Jeric Teng, Clark Bautista and Chris Camus suited up for their new roles as leaders of the pack of Tigers, combining 39 of the 80 points of UST, while UE team captain Paul Lee, forecasted to be the MVP for this season, was shackled to pouring only 7 points for a team that had lost the most number of strong starters.
Sunday games featured the rise of the Adamson Falcons, winning their first ever game one outing in five years, 60-54, against a tough but error-prone NU Bulldogs. It would have went NU’s way, with their top two players Kokoy Hermosisima and Mervin Baloran combining for 37 points, and with their big men outrebounding Adamson, 37-30 boards. But their 31 turnovers converted to 21 points for Adamson, which is the dark horse team expected to be a F4 contender this year. And in the main game, FEU proved they were the team to beat this season, after handing the defending champs Ateneo Blue Eagles their first loss of the season, 72-69. Despite winning by a three point margin only, the win gave FEU an opening day boost for their bid to win it all this season. Tamaraws’ coach Glenn Capacio gave a fearless forecast that they’re geared up to take the crown away from the Eagles this season, and his ballers from Morayta followed his lead by taking a first game win.
First games are finally over. Watch out for more UAAP action on Thursday!