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Posts tagged “DLSU Green Archers

A Chance At Legitimacy

The UP Fighting Maroons will be going up against the FEU Tamaraws tomorrow afternoon, their second straight game where they will be fighting for separation in the standings, and against the team touted as the “heavily favored team” during the beginning of the standings.

This FEU squad is the same squad who won double-digit victories over ADMU and DLSU. And before we forget, this team has the next least rookies in the league, as well as the next most holdovers from last season, where they were runners up to the NU Bulldogs.

Guess which team they are second to in terms of least rookies and most holdovers?

Yes, to UP.

But what does that mean?

None so much really.

Because when these two teams take on each other tomorrow afternoon, the only thing that will matter is that by the end of the game, one team will be 3-1 (tied at first with Ateneo and UST), and the other will be 2-2.

As of this writing, the only team sporting a winless record is Adamson University. The NU Bulldogs finally earned a victory, and in convincing fashion as they defeated the previously unblemished Growling Tigers. Just a couple of days ago, the standings were quite unfamiliar to many who are not used to seeing teams like Ateneo, NU at the bottom, and UP at the top.

Now, things seem to be back to normal.

Unless… the Maroons have a different agenda.

A win by UP tomorrow will bring them a more secure spot on the top half of the rankings, together with UST and Ateneo. After the Tamaraws, the Maroons will be tackling Adamson, NU and Ateneo. UP will only need one win out of those three for the Maroons to end the first half with a winning record of 4-3. The last time the Maroons had such a record ending the first half was… Anybody old enough to remember when?

But before we get ahead of ourselves with the possibilities, first things first.

Tamaraws. Tomorrow.

It’s not really a question of whether the Maroons can or cannot defeat the Tams. They showed in their last three games that they can. Beating a UE team that is now 2-1 also in the standings and riding on the heroics of rookie Edson Batiller, a Jeron-Teng led DLSU squad that boasts of landing prospective ROY Andrei Caracut, and giving the league-leading Tigers a scare during their previous tiff, the Maroons are capable of upsetting the heavily favored Tams.

The question is… How?

Head coach Rensy Bajar gave his boys 24 hours after their loss to lament their defeat to UST.

That was a week ago.

For sure, the Maroons’ lead tactician have already laid out his game plan to his ballers. They must have burned hours of practice time to simulate all the possible scenarios when they take the Morayta squad on the floor tomorrow. Each of the guys who will suit up for battle tomorrow have all their work cut out already by tomorrow. They must have done a checklist of sorts on what to do with who, on such and such a moment of the game.

But the sketches on the drawing board and the stench of your opponent on the open court are two different things. When the Diliman squad steps on the battle field tomorrow afternoon, they will have to set aside thoughts about the other three games ahead of them. They will have to ignore the possibility of getting into that press conference after sealing a victory. They will have to stop imagining how the headlines will be on Monday in all the sports columns of the broadsheets and tabloids. And they will have to tear into pieces anything “on paper” about the FEU’s team.

When the play ball tomorrow, what they have in front of them is an opponent that must be defeated.

But if there’s one thing the UP Fighting Maroons can put their minds into when they take on the FEU Tamaraws, it is this…

…this game is a chance at legitimacy for them.

That’s simply all there is to it.



TWO-ZERO: Maroons Up 2-0 For First Time in a Decade


Photo courtesy of Josh Albelda/

Jett Manuel went on hiatus for two seasons for two reasons: to keep his academics straight, and to retrain his basketball skills in the US.

Suiting up again for the UP Fighting Maroons this season, the veteran guard did not disappoint and proved that he was worth the wait as he led his team to a 71-66 victory over the De La Salle Green Archers.

This is the first time since 2005 that the Maroons are enjoying a 2-0 record in the start of the season, and the first since nine seasons ago that they have won a back-to-back game. Incidentally, again, it was also DLSU that was on the losing end of the ’05 second victory by the Diliman squad.

Manuel had 14 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists to lead the Maroons, while Paul Desiderio and Pio Longa added 13 and 10 respectively to the collective effort of the squad which shot 41% from the floor and 32% from beyond the arc. The stats prove that the Maroons have shifted from a perimeter shooting team into a more defensive unit, as they also forced La Salle to commit 20 turnovers, and limit their snipers to a dismal 3-of-24 shooting clip.

For the Archers, Prince Rivero, Andrei Caracut and Jeron Teng combined for almost half of the entire output of the Taft ballers. Thomas Torres did not deliver with his shooting, and was corralled to only 8 points with a disappointing 2-for-12 shooting.

Coming into the second quarter with a 16-14 lead, the Maroons started clicking on all cylinders and ended the quarter with a comfortable lead, 41-28. The Archers started becoming the Archers again entering the fourth quarter, and came as close to within five points, but the Maroons proved they were a different beast this time as they managed to pull away courtesy of charity shots by Henry Asilum and Andrew Harris. An erroneous inbound pass to Jeron Teng proved to be a costly miscue that gave UP the chance to drive the nail into the coffin.

Coach Rensy Bajar and the coaching staff were once again praised for the composure and competitive spirit the Maroons displayed all throughout the game. The rookie head coach for the Maroons was quick to credit the total team effort of UP in this second straight victory, that has literally put them on the top of the standings, along with UST Growling Tigers, who just won over the FEU Tamaraws, 72-71.

The back-to-back win proves that the opening game win over UE was no fluke, and that UP is looking to write a history of their own this season.

While it is too early to tell how the season will unravel for the remainder of the first round, the Maroons are sure about one thing.

There’s nowhere to go but UP!

Can the Maroons Slay The Giants?

Can the underdog beat the big shots?


A lot will say yes.


So can the UP Fighting Maroons defeat the other teams come Round 2 of the UAAP?


A lot will say no.


But who cares about the “lot” anyway?


If you want answers ask these three guys:


Mikee Reyes. Mark Juruena. Moriah Gingerich.


The three most veteran players of the UP Fighting Maroons carry with them more than just the battle scars of past defeats. They’re not merely survivors of multiple winless seasons. And surely they’re not just the hapless victims of criticisms thrown against a team that perennially inhabits the cellar of the standings.


They are witnesses.


Witnesses of a time when the underdogs prevailed over the champs.


Flashback: UAAP Season 72. The Maroons were coming off a 3-11 record from last year. They endured a 0-14 record two years earlier. They were entering the season as losers of their last three games of the previous one.


A little bit fast-forward: the fourth game of the season. Guess who the Maroons were playing…


The Ateneo Blue Eagles.


And how much of a giant was Ateneo? Well, just the previous year they won their first championship under the tutelage of Norman Black. And on their roster were players like Rabeh Al-Husseini, Nonoy Baclao, Jai Reyes, Eric Salamat, and Chris Tiu. Coming into the game against UP, they haven’t lost for six straight games since last season. UP, on the other hand, had lost six straight.


The team on top of the food chain versus the bottom dweller–get the picture.


It seemed the Eagles would have its way against the Maroons.


As it turns out, UP would pull the biggest upset of that season.


Here’s a look back to that game:



But that didn’t end there. On that same season, UP outlasted the DLSU Green Archers. Mikee Reyes knows and remembers this game very well.



Together with their win over NU, UP won only 3 games that season. By reason of point differential, UP dropped to 8th spot that season. Ateneo won their back-to-back championship that season. La Salle was ousted of the Final Four for the first time in the Franz Pumaren era.


Just so you know, ADMU’s record was 13-1 that season. The one blemish they endured came from UP.


Just so you know, DLSU’s record was 5-9 that season. The one loss that cost them the Final Four slot came from UP.


That’s right. From the 8th seeded UP Fighting Maroons.


And Juruena, Reyes and Gingerich were there.


So if you ask them, they’d most definitely say yes.


That underdogs can slay giants

UAAP S74 Quick Review (Part 2)

Mike Abasolo, Christian Soler, and Sid Ventura, the three scribes from has finally come out with their respective analyses and predictions for the upcoming Season 74 of the UAAP.

Here’s a comparison of their predictions, as well as my prediction for the standings among the 8 teams after 14 games:

Christian Soler:
1. Ateneo de Manila University
2. Far Eastern University
3. De La Salle University
4. Adamson University
5. National University
6. University of Santo Tomas
7. University of the Philippines
8. University of the East

Sid Ventura:
1. Ateneo de Manila University
2. De La Salle University
3. Far Eastern University
4. Adamson University
5. National University
6. University of Sto. Tomas
7. University of the Philippines
8. University of the East

Mike Abasolo:
1. Ateneo de Manila University
2. Far Eastern University
3. Adamson University
4. De La Salle University
5. National University
6. University of Santo Tomas
7. University of the Philippines
8. University of the East

RC Cayanan:
1. Ateneo De Manila University
2. Adamson University
3. Far Eastern University
4. De La Salle University
5. National University
6. University of Sto. Tomas
7. University of the Philippines
8. University of the East

Our top one team and the bottom four team predictions are all exactly the same. When it comes to the three other teams–DLSU, FEU, and AdU–our predictions slightly differ. But I see no reason to change my forecasts. I’m quite satisfied with my own analysis on how the eight UAAP teams will end up by the end of the regular season.

Now, it’s time to give my analysis for each of the teams, starting from my predicted top one team, all the way to the eighth:

1. Ateneo De Manila University

Eric Salamat and Ryan Buenafe’s departure from the team will hardly be felt in a team with perhaps the most sensational incoming rookies among the UAAP teams. The trio of Kiefer Ravena, Gwyne Capacio and Greg Slaughter will be the constant source of headache for the seven other teams who have yet to solve the solidness that is Ateneo. The veteran presence of Kirk Long, Emman Monfort, Bacon Austria and Nico Salva will be the guiding light for the team’s fine rookie class when it comes to figuring out coach Norman Black’s time-tested system. Inserting the three rookies into the mainline starting scheme of the team is something Black will be very confident with. After cruising through their pre-season tourneys, you can shelf the chemistry issue. One thing for sure–they’ll be probably holding on to another year of bragging rights as a champion.

2. Adamson University

I have my reasons for saying that the Soaring Falcons will be team trailing the Blue Eagles at second. Sure, FEU has a relatively intact roster, and not to mention Bert Flores’ comeback. And sure, DLSU only lost four players, and has the most intact starting set, with their entire first five back from last season. But, I’ll give this to Adamson, simply because their starting five is just as intact as La Salle’s, losing only Michael Gallinato, who was relatively silent last year. Add to this their coach, Leo Austria, who’s been at the helm for the fourth straight system. If there’s any best time to contend for the Finals, now is that time for the Falcons.

3. Far Eastern University

Last year’s heartbreak team turns a new leaf with the return of Bert Flores, the last tactician to lead FEU to the promised land. Expect the team to adapt a winning system that saw the likes of Arwind Santos flourish and develop. Their first five from last year is still solid, which includes of course the reigning MVP RR Garcia. The only glitch in the team could be Pipo Noundou’s missing a few games due to a torn Achilles. JR Cawaling, Aldrech Ramos and Jens Knuttel will be the veteran star power of the team. But it will probably take some time before the old timers and their incoming rookies finally gel into one cohesive unit. When that day comes, FEU can finally exorcise the demons of their past defeats.

4. De La Salle University

Okay, so La Salle lost only four players from last season, gained a relatively unheralded set of rookies, kept intact their five on the floor, and, of course, has Dindo Pumaren. But that means they don’t have to go through a lot of modifications, which makes adjustments not a natural part of their system. The changes FEU and Adamson has gone through will require La Salle to make the necessary adjustments, but that is if the urgency would push them to do so. The first games will not do this purpose for La Salle. But, once the ball is finally running, La Salle will be expected to step in big time.

(continues next edition.)

School Pride: The Best of the UAAP Schools In Basketball (Part 2.2)

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).

UAAP S73 Basketball Postscript (part 1)

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:


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.


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.


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.


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.

School Pride: The Best of the UAAP Schools In Basketball (Part 2.1)

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.

UAAP S73 First Round Wrap Up

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:

FEU (7-0)

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.

AdU (5-2)

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.

ADMU (5-2)

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.

DLSU (4-3)

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.

NU (3-4)

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.

UST (3-4)

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.

UE (1-6)

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.

UP (0-7)

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.