Monday, January 31, 2011

Chris Newsome is Set to Join ADMU

While other coaches zig, Coach Norman Black zags.

As the league around him reaches out to 6'5"+ centers of mostly African descent, Coach Black is going the other way, looking for athletic, defense-oriented ball handlers who can also score. And with Kirk Long on his way out after Season 74, it was only a matter of time before Ateneo found his replacement.

In a small line buried in an article about the SEA Games team that Coach Black is assembling, the Philippine Daily Inquirer writes:
[Chris] Newsome caught the eye of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas in previous batches of the national youth team.

“He’s also set to enroll in Ateneo this year,” Black said of Newsome, who averages 9.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.8 steals with New Mexico.
Here's his highlight reel from YouTube:

Patrica Bermudez-Hizon featured him on a Fit to Post article on Yahoo as well.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

S73 Autopsy: UST Growling Tigers

Outgoing Players
- None

Win/Loss Records
- Season 73: 4-10 (7th)
- Season 72: 6-8 (4th, lost in Final Four to Ateneo De Manila University)
- Season 71: 6-8 (5th)

Key Stats
- First in the league in 3 point shots converted (7.93/game) and 3 point percentage (38.75%)
- Last in free throws attempted (8.71/game) and made (13.71/game)
- Last in defensive rebounds (22.07/game), total rebounds (35.36/game) and blocks (2.5/game)
- Last in opponents' allowed field goal percentage (42.66%)

Friday, January 28, 2011

UP Injured Maroons

Last season, the UP Fighting Maroons went winless, in part to a series of key injuries to players like Woody Co, Mark Lopez, and Mike Silungan. This upcoming season, the team, armed with a new head coach, was hoping to begin its long crawl upwards from irrelevancy, but that climb now been made more difficult.

Suffice to say, the preseason hasn't even begun, but the team is already suffering from some major injuries.

First of all, the status of Mark Lopez in Season 74 is still unclear. After tearing his ACL and MCL on the same leg, he's optimistic to be ready for July, but the team is strongly considering holding him out a year.

Late last year, the point guard corps of the Maroons was dealt a blow by a separated shoulder injury on junior point guard Mikee Reyes in practice. He might miss next season, or even longer.

Finally, the latest setback to the team, according to the Oblation Nation section of the GameFace Forums, is the ACL-injury of promising rookie big man Raul Sauyod, whom the team had hoped would provide a nice one-two punch along with Alinko Mbah. Instead, odds are the team will once again rely on the underperforming Mark Juruena, and undersized rookie Paolo Romero.

I had originally projected that UP would finish 7th, a step up from last year, but these setbacks have me returning them to last place. For Maroons fans, expect another painful season.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Kiefer Ravena Decision FAQ

Q: Is Kiefer Ravena really going to Ateneo now? This isn't just some internet hoax?

A: Not a hoax, not a dream, or an imaginary story, Kiefer Ravena is really, really, staying in Ateneo.

Q: What's your source?

A: GMA News broke the story first yesterday, followed by the major newspapers.

Q: So what took him so long?

A: Ravena explained that he and his family were waiting for an offer from a US Division I school. They didn't get any, and for awhile, considered sending him abroad to get more exposure. Finally though, he decided to just stay at Ateneo instead.

Q: Does that mean rumors of a school like Butler recruiting him were bull?

A: Yes, definitely. The fact alone that people said that it was Butler, out to have raised eyebrows right from the start.

Q: What schools were a factor recruiting-wise, locally?

A: Ravena mentioned that he heard offers from DLSU, NU, and UP, when Aboy Castro was still coach. Nothing from UE, his father's alma mater,and nothing from UST, his mother's alma mater. He didn't mention anything about San Beda or other teams from the NCAA recruiting him either.

Q: Is it true that he and Baser Amer are going to play in the PBA?

A: Smart Gilas is slated to be a guest team in the second conference of the PBA, tentatively scheduled from February 20 to May 15, and Gilas wants those two players (and I'm guessing, another ADMU player, Greg Slaughter) in the line-up. Ravena himself though isn't making a firm commitment just yet.

Q: What's stopping him from playing?

A: Well Gilas would have to clear it with the UAAP first, as joining the PBA might affect his amateur status. After that, they'd have to clear it with Ateneo High School, as that would be finals time and Kiefer is a graduating student. Finally, Ateneo would have to okay it, because I would imagine they wouldn't want him to burn himself out before playing a single collegiate game. Toss in the fact that it might conflict with summer practice and tournaments, and I see the whole thing as unlikely.

Q: How good is ADMU going to be in S74?

A: They're going to be very, very good. In terms of depth, they'll be the deepest team and literally everyone is capable of going off for a big scoring night. Toss in the fact that they have Coach Norman Black at the helm and it'd be foolish not to consider them as the early favorites.

Q: Can they go undefeated?

A: The UAAP is a more competitive league compared to last season's NCAA. FEU could challenge them, as could NU and La Salle. I also think a loss could be good to refocus the team and to keep them fresh. That said, if there's a coach that will use the break afforded by a sweep to maximum effect, it'd have to be Coach Black.

Q: Will Kiefer start?

A: I think that's highly unlikely. I can't see him starting in Monfort's spot because he's not as good at handling the ball, nor can I see Coach Norman Black starting two undersized guards. He might be better off leading the second unit, along with Mark Tallo, with whom he can switch on defensive assignments, letting the taller Tallo guard the SG and Ravena the PG.

Q: Will Kiefer stay the entire five years?

A: He said he'd stick around for four or five years, and there'll always be the super unlikely possibility that a US college does express interest in him, but I think he'll probably stay the entire five years.

Video interview courtesy of Bleachers Brew

Sunday, January 23, 2011

It's Official: Kiefer Ravena to ADMU

If you wear blue, it's time to break out the champagne glasses. Exhale in relief, stop crossing your fingers and toes.

The wait is over.

GMA News has broken perhaps the story of the offseason and has gotten confirmation from Bong Ravena that his son, Kiefer, will be playing in the Seniors Division of the UAAP for the Ateneo De Manila University Blue Eagles.

In a text message sent to GMA News reporters, the elder Ravena said:

"It's confirmed. Kiefer wants to stay with Ateneo.""

Easily the most talented prospect in this incoming batch of rookies, Kiefer Ravena had been linked to numerous teams, with rumors having him going to the UP Fighting Maroons, the DLSU Green Archers, the NU Bulldogs, as well as the SBC Red Lions of the NCAA.

There were also some reports that Kiefer was being wooed by US NCAA Division I schools.

The confirmation comes as great news for Ateneo fans, as the Ravena family largely kept mum about their intentions. Many however, felt that Kiefer would stay with the institution that he won three juniors championships for, a sentiment echoed by outgoing ADMU President Fr. Ben Nebres. Athletics director Ricky Palou and Blue Eagles coach Norman Black were also confident that Ravena would join the senior Eagles, but were just waiting for the official word from the Ravenas.

Both Kiefer, and another presumptive Blue Eagle, his high school teammate, Von Pessumal, have been practicing with Ateneo's Team A recently.

It has also been hinted at that Ravena was able to convince or help recruit other HS standouts to enroll with Ateneo, in particular, DLSZ's Gwynne Capacio, and UST's Kevin Ferrer.

Ateneo de Manila University has won three straight championships in the Senior Division, and with Kiefer on the roster, alongside returning players like Kirk Long, Ryan Buenafe, and Nico Salva, coupled with other recruits like the aforementioned Pessumal and Capacio, Greg Slaughter and Mark Tallo Jr., look to have the inside track to a fourth straight title in Season 74.

Ravena, Amer to the PBA?

Here's something unexpected, should the Smart Gilas team be allowed to play in the upcoming PBA conference, the squad could see the addition of two incoming freshmen, Kiefer Ravena and Baser Amer. From the Philippine Star:
"Straight from high school, Kiefer Ravena and Amer Baser would jump straight to pro play should the PBA board allow Smart Gilas’ to take over Barako Bull’s slot in the second conference.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas vice chairman Ricky Vargas said they intend to include the two Phl Youth standouts in the men’s training pool they hope will be allowed to play as guest team in the PBA reinforced tourney.
Ravena and Baser have just completed their eligibility in high school ball with Ateneo and San Beda, respectively.
If ever, they would be the first players to play in the PBA straight from high school since Terry Saldana of Letran."
Patricia Hizon wrote in her blog that the second tournament would be single-elimination and last from February 20 to about May 15. Right now, Gilas is lobbying to be included in the third tournament as well, which would last from about May 20 to around August 19.

One might immediately think that this would undoubtedly improve the two players' games, having to play against professionals (and imports, given that the next two conferences would be import-laden), but past exposure has shown that such is not the case. Despite much trumpeting, Magi Sison and JR Cawaling's games didn't show a lot of improvement from being included in Smart Gilas, due to the fact that the system they run there is quite different from what their college coaches run. And being included on the squads is a lot different from getting actual playing time. I find it hard to see either of the two dislodging JV Casio, Chris Tiu or Mark Barroca, to be specific.

Furthermore, this might even hurt the two players as it means their summer practice with their respective schools will be shortened, or they will feel more tired, having to shuttle back and forth between the PBA and tournaments like the Fil-Oil Preseason Tournament.

Looking ahead, should Gilas get the nod to play for the third conference this year, that means both will miss the first month of their respective collegiate tournaments. Then, should either of them get the nod to play in the Olympic qualifiers, that might mean that they might strongly consider red-shirting their freshman years, due to the large number of absences they will incur. I would imagine there would be quite a few fans in red and blue in uproar over that.

Finally, wouldn't the national team be better off including some of the country's up and coming big men like Arnold Van Opstal, Ray Ray Parks or Brian Organ, considering how the Gilas squad seems to struggle against the big men of opposing teams?

While it is an honor to play for one's national team, it entails a lot of sacrifices, and we'll have to see if the two are willing to make them.


Executive Director of SBP Noli Eala tweeted the following this morning:
"Plan to tap HS stars Keiffer n Amer to play 4 Gilas in PBA is gud n well-meaning altho I honestly doubt if it w/ help Gilas at ths time."[sic]

"More importantly, I wonder what d UAAP n NCAA have to say abt this. Hope d 2 boys got the nod to play or they may get into trouble w/ rules."
 I personally think the nod from the collegiate leagues is a given, but the fact that we're asking the question in the first place ought to make people wonder if this is really such a good idea.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

2010 PCCL Awards

  • Player of the Year: Junmar Fajardo, University of Cebu Webmasters
  • Great Leap Forward: Adamson Soaring Falcons
  • Comeback Award: De La Salle University Green Archers
  • Breakthrough Award: University of Iloilo
  • Grinder Award: Lyceum of Manila
  • Fortitude Award: National University Bulldogs

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Codinera Confirms Lee's Exit

Newly-installed UE head coach Jerry Codinera confirmed the rumors that had been circulating since his hiring: his Red Warriors team will be playing Season 74 without superstar Paul Lee.

Lee averaged 14.4 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.6 assists last season. Pic source here

As seen in articles in the Philippine Star and GMA News Sports, Codinera said that Lee left the squad without giving any particular reason, although some have Lee angling for a spot on the Smart Gilas team.

Lee's departure have the Warriors going into partial rebuild mode, as along with Lee, a handful of other players will no longer be playing as well.

Also graduating are spitfires Raffy Reyes and James Martinez, together with one and done big man Ezer Rosopa, who hit the UAAP's age limit. Furthermore, seldom-seen forward Garrick Ayala has been asked to leave as well, with the team citing multiple disciplinary infractions as the result.

Doubtful to play next season are big man San Razon, who suffered an ACL-injury, and another big man, Ivan Hernandez, due to an undisclosed injury.

The Warriors will instead rely heavily next year on Mythical Five member Kenneth Acibar, and first-year guard Roy Sumang, former Letran Squire.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Will the Prodigal Eaglet Come Home?

Ael Banal, with the Blue Eaglets. Photo from here, by Jamie Lihan

Despite the lack of Kiefer Ravena news in recent weeks, Ateneo continues to make recruiting headlines, as posters on the Blue Eagles Nest of the GameFace Forums breathlessly broke the news that "The Prodigal Eaglet", Ael Banal, had returned to the nest and participated in a practice Thursday night with ADMU Team A.

Banal, a Blue Eaglet in the Juniors Division, was once considered a lock to move up to the Seniors team. After winning back to back titles with the Eaglets, Banal graduated and passed the ACET, with Management Economics as his course. Though he would have had to sit out a year due to commitments with the RP Youth Team, many Eagles fans dreamed of a young perimeter core comprised of Kiefer Ravena, Ael Banal and Gwynne Capacio.

Instead, rumors arose that Banal would be taking his talents to other schools. Some sources claimed that Banal was "turning to the dark side" in the minds of Ateneo fans by opting to become a Green Archer, joining his older brother Gab. Later on, it was said that his RP Youth Team coach Eric Altamirano had swayed the young sniper into signing with the NU Bulldogs.

After the U-18 tournament, Ael opted not to enroll for the second semester in a college and basically disappeared from the radar, save for a few appearances. As late as last October, sources told me that Banal was practicing at the NU gymnasium along with other NU players. Then last December, word arrived that he was practicing in the U.S. along with Gab, and Green Archer Joshua Webb, and that Ael was reportedly trying out for several Division I US NCAA schools.

According to the scouting report by GameFace poster "yungha", Ael is:
"still a dead-eye shooter. pero mabagal pa rin release. the younger von pessumal seems to have caught up with him physically as from my vantage point von looked bigger and a bit taller than ael. si ael payat pa rin. physically von would be more ready for the college game but of course we've always known that ael has greater range"
The situation for Banal is now one of uncertainty. Clearly, the time away from the sport and a strict practice regimen has hurt his game and affected his growth. He is now in a situation where he will have to compete with younger, perhaps, more talented players, vying for slots in Season 74.

A reunion with Ateneo is not out of the picture, but one must first consider several things. First, Ateneo has an open try-outs philosophy, meaning any prospective player can join Team A practices. That means it's not uncommon for players to test their mettle against the Eagles, and then commit to other schools (one good example was DLSZ's Nico Elorde, from last season, who partook in a lot of practices, enough to make some think that he was considering turning in his green jersey for a blue one). Second, unless the situation has changed, Banal's father, Joel, supposedly has some conflict with the Blue Eagles coaching staff, strong enough that he considered taking Ael's talents to NU before.

Said conflict is rumored to be rooted in the possibility that Banal might require a stint on Team B. Unfortunately for Banal, if the above report is correct, a year in Team B might be the best thing for him, as he needs to improve on multiple fronts. Given the scarcity of slots on Team A of Ateneo next season, it seems highly unlikely that there will be room for him in Season 74.

That leaves the door open for La Salle (unlikely, given the glut of guards), NU, and UP (desperately needs a star), as possible destinations for him should Ateneo decide to stick to their guns.

It would be unfortunate if Ael cannot find a good landing spot for himself. He's made a few mistakes before his collegiate career has even begun, but hopefully, he can right himself and contribute to a winning program.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Christian Standhardinger Does As His Name Says

I mentioned the possibility of the Smart Gilas squad targeting 6'8" Fil-German Christian Standhardinger a few Mondays ago, given that he had left Nebraska due to academic deficiencies, even going as far as to say that he could theoretically continue his education at Ateneo de Manila University.

Well it turned out that Standhardinger had in fact found a home at La Salle, the American university, not the one at Taft.

Unfortunately for him though, Standhardinger did as his name says, in public to boot, and got arrested for it, leading to his dismissal from La Salle.

That means he's free to be targeted by the SBP and any other local university that needs a foreign big man again, so you might want to keep an ear out for him. has a bit about him too, comparing him another troubled potential recruit, Stanley Pringle.

Kevin Ferrer is ADMU-bound

EDIT: Not.

Kevin Ferrer; image from

According to sources within the Blue Eagles Nest forum on Gameface, Ateneo de Manila University has successfully recruited UST Tiger Cub standout and UAAP Juniors S73 MVP Kevin Ferrer.

However, don't expect to see the 6'4" Ferrer, who averaged 19.9 points, 13.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks in his final year in the Juniors, on Team A next season, as he'll be taking his talents to Ateneo Team Glory Be for the entirety of S74.

The reason behind this is because UST is invoking the Soc Rivera rule, to force Ferrer to redshirt a year. Under UAAP rules, a school can opt to have one of its juniors graduates sit out for a year should he or she decide to transfer to another school for college.

Buzz had been building about Ferrer transferring since the last game of the Juniors finals, when Kiefer Ravena comforted Ferrer after the latter's team fell to the former's Blue Eaglets. In S72, Ravena also approached the star player of the opposite squad, Gwynne Capacio, and the Eagles later acquired Capacio's services.

Capacio sat out last year as part of his commitment to the RP Youth Team.

EDIT: Not quite sure why a ton of people reading this post again, judging by the views, but since this obviously did not pan out...

At the time of writing, sources felt that Ferrer had a very strong chance to go to Ateneo. In fact, it was even mentioned by Rick Olivares when he interviewed Kiefer Ravena after the latter had decided to stay home. Ravena is very good friends with Ferrer, and it was he who was encouraging Ferrer to switch to Katipunan, allegedly. That part was edited out of the final interview.

What made Ferrer change his mind was a combination of things that included UST really wanting to keep its blue chip star, given its 400 year anniversary. As such Ferrer got to meet with a prominent UST alumnus basketball player who changed his mind about moving. The rest as we know is history.

More Kiefer Drama

The other day, the in-demand basketball talent known as Kiefer Ravena made more than a few Ateneans scratch their heads when he told reporters after receiving the UAAP Juniors Player of the Year Award that Ateneo Blue Eagles coach Norman Black still hadn't talked to him about staying at home and playing for the Eagles. 

It seems hard to believe that Black, who has made many comments about wanting Ravena to stay, hasn't talked to him, unless Ateneo has some sort of protocol that forbids the coach from talking to potential recruits, perhaps meaning that someone like Ricky Palou is the one doing all the heavy lifting (although admittedly, that's a bit of a stretch).

In addition, Black mentioned before that the school had sent Ravena a letter of offer since October of last year. That's not exactly "a talk" but I think that makes it pretty clear that Ateneo wants him to stay.

Toss in the fact that Ravena and his teammate Von Pessumal have been practicing alongside the Ateneo "A" team since the end of the UAAP season and you'd think that there would be PLENTY of opportunities for Black to give Ravena even a sentence or two showing that he wants the Phenom to stay at home.

Yesterday, in an interview with the Manila Bulletin, Ravena discussed balancing academics and basketball life, before mentioning that the courses he'd like to take up are Management Economics or Psychology.

And as far as I know, the only school that offers both would be...Ateneo De Manila University.

While it's not typical for high school standouts to formally reveal where they're headed before March, at the earliest, a significant amount of people believe that if Ravena would really want to stay an Eagle, he would have said so already. As a result, all this back and forth between the Ravena camp and Ateneo has Blue faithfuls clutching their rosaries.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Animo San Beda Eying Kiefer Ravena

Says, which interviewed San Beda Red Lions coach Frankie Lim:
“Pag-hindi nila kinuha, I think we have to be aggressive. Maraming nag-hahabol sa kanya,” Lim said. “But I think coach Norman (Black) will pursue him. He will keep him in Ateneo. But If Ateneo can’t make him happy, nandito lang ako sa tabi.” [sic]
 The important line there is probably "Pag-hindi nila kinuha." Obviously, should something momentous occur that would cause Ateneo to pass on Ravena (*knock on wood*), San Beda would be just one of the many times that would line up and promise Ravena the moon and the stars.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mailbag Mondays: 01/17/11

Q: word was out that olsen racela will (supposedly) take over the U-18 SBP team. any news about him being a part of the admu coaching staff officially? because if that is so, then i smell an MVP orchestration here of bringing in young hopefuls to the Blue Squad
- - Basketballphenome

CHF: Word that Racela would be tapped to take over the U-18 SBP team can probably be best traced to this article on GMA News, but it's hardly been formalized. Racela's current focus is to win one more championship, then retire, and then perhaps consider taking up coaching.

As to Racela being linked to an assistant coaching spot at ADMU, his name was in fact circulated after Jamike Jarin ended his stint as Blue Eaglets coach, but again, nothing concrete.

The U-18 gig has been essentially an "eat all you can buffet" for the coaches who have taken it recently (Franz Pumaren, Eric Altamirano), allowing them to poach recruit after recruit, so it's a reasonable assumption, but given the fact that Ateneo is currently the three-time reigning champ of the UAAP, it's hard to see what more effect having a former Atenean head the program can have. To put it another way, Pumaren needed it to replenish his roster thanks to the PEP test suspension year and Altamirano needed it because of NU's reputation as a doormat team. The Eagles are far away from such situations.

Q: wala na si Paul Lee sa UE noh? 
- - Kevz

Coach Lawrence Chongson created Paul Lee, and Paul Lee created Coach Lawrence Chongson. Without Chongson's free-flowing offense, Lee would have struggled, or at least would not have been as explosive, running set plays, and without Lee's penchant for nailing unlikely shots in big time situations, Coach Chongson's lack of a scheme would have looked stupid. For those reasons, it's only fitting that Lee decide to leave with the exit of his coach.

Now take note, nothing has been decided officially yet, but it seems all but certain that Lee will instead opt for the PBA draft. While there is a loyalty element to the situation, there's also a pragmatic aspect. Should Cordinera be more structured offensively, or if he asks Lee to play defense, Lee could wind up with a subpar year, hurting his draft stock. Better to just bolt now since it was unlikely anyway that the Red Warriors could have made some noise in the Final Four.\

Got a question about the UAAP? Email and your letter will be answered here on Mondays!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Paolo Romero to UP

The Philippine Star just reported that Blue Eaglet Paolo Romero is headed down Katipunan to UP as part of that team's rebuilding project. Consider this to be the first manifestation of Ricky Dandan's Ateneo connection bearing fruit.
"The new-look Maroons will parade a slew of recruits led by 6’7 Nigerian Alinko Embah, 6-4 Raul Soyud [sic] from West Negros University, Jello [sic] Montecastro from St. Benilde, and Paolo Romero from UAAP three-peat juniors champion Ateneo."
 The 6'4" EDIT: 6'2" (only!) Romero played center in high school, where he averaged 10.8 points and 8.2 rebounds a game. In college, he'll slide down to the power forward spot, and probably back up Sauyod. He'll bring an element of big game experience to this team, and he'll definitely help the team's rebounding efforts. In addition, given the relatively short tenures of Embah and Sauyod at UP (due to playing years eaten by residency), Romero will have the opportunity to grow into a starting position in two or three years' time.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer adds that the Maroons will be playing Busan National University in three exhibition games as part of their off-season training, starting January 22.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Links Spam: 01/12/11

  • In case you didn't see it, the Philippine Star and GMA News broke the story last night that Bobby Ray Parks will commit to NU for at least 2 seasons.
  • The Manila Standard Today wonders when Kiefer Ravena will make up his mind
  • The Philippine Daily Inquirer wrote about new coaches Eric Altamirano and Jerry Codinera
  • EDITED TO ADD (01/12/11): Says "It is widely believed, however, that Lee would declare himself eligible for the 2011 PBA Draft and forego his last year of collegiate eligibility if Chongson wasn’t rehired." Yowza.  
  • EDITED TO ADD (01/12/11): Beth Celis grinds the rumor mill, looking for the next Air 21 coach. In her list she has Junel Baculi, currently running the NU sports program, and Leo Austria, head coach of the Adamson Falcons. Imagine the resultant chaos should either of those two men leave...
  • Bleachers Brew has a nice graphic showing the winners of the recent Collegiate Basketball Awards:

Poor Decisions: Why Stay Bobby Ray?

"This July, I'm going to take my talents to the Mall of Asia and join the National University Bulldogs"

I do not understand Bobby Ray Parks' decision to forego his scholarship to play for US NCAA Division I school Georgia Tech and instead play locally, in the UAAP, for the National University Bulldogs. No doubt, a good number of people won't understand the decision either.

There will be people who will claim to understand it though. They will wrap their reasons in the cloak of patriotism, but that's an overly simplistic view of things. It would be considered patriotic if the two leagues, the US NCAA and the UAAP were equal. It doesn't take a genius to see that the two aren't. And regardless of whether or not his future intentions are to play in the NBA, to play for a Philippine National Team, both, or simply to be the best that he can be, all three goals would be best achieved by going to Georgia Tech. He accomplishes none of those by going to NU.

Parks will not get noticed or draw any attention from NBA scouts by playing here. He may be good, but it'll be hard to tell here. At 6'5", Parks will be taller than most of his competition, a situation that will only be exacerbated by the fact that his father is insisting that he play a guard position. Playing long minutes at the 4 or 5 won't help him either, because the NBA won't be drafting him for his post skills. It's nice to see a taller point guard like Chauncey Billups post up a smaller opponent in the post, but it's not something you want to go to on every possession, so toss that out the window.

Defenders of his decision will say that by playing in the UAAP, he will have an easier time representing his country in international competitions. This is nonsense. The US NCAA basketball season runs roughly from October to March. The UAAP basketball season runs from July to October, with the PCCL in November. Guess what months most international competitions run from? The answer is July to November, meaning Parks would have to take a leave of absence from his studies and the Bulldogs to represent his country. If he had chosen Georgia Tech, it would be summer from July to September, and non-conference play up until January. That means Parks could easily come back to the Philippines with permission from GT to play for events like the Olympic Qualifier. This is something international students do all the time, like for example, current Portland Trailblazer, St. Mary's alum, and Australian national team member Patrick Mills.

Making the decision more inexplicable is the possibility that Parks will be ruled ineligible to play for at most two seasons locally, should several schools push through with their plan to question his eligibility.

In the article in the Philippine Star, NU head coach Eric Altamirano compares the case of Parks to that of DLSU Green Archer Maui Villanueva, saying "Bobby Ray played for the Philippines in the first Youth Olympics in Singapore last year. Residency is not necessary in his case."

Actually though, the two cases are quite dissimilar. As of Season 70, the UAAP Rules and Regulations says that a player who studied abroad must sit out 2 years before becoming eligible. One exception though, is for "Filipino students who had their second high school graduation abroad, provided the first graduation was from a high school in the Philippines." EDITED (01/12/11):  Such was the case for Villanueva, who graduated from UPIS, before moving to Japan and graduating from a high school there. Such was the case of Villanueva, who did not graduate from UPIS before finishing high school in Japan. Such was the case of Villanueva, who graduated from UPIS, AND from a secondary school in Japan. Thus, according to the rule (which is named in his honor), Villanueva was able to play immediately for DLSU in Season 70. In Parks' case, he studied high school in Melrose, Memphis, Tennessee where it is unclear if he graduated or not, given how he is listed as a class of 2011 recruit by ESPN.

What is known is that sometime around last year's UAAP season, he came over to the Philippines and enrolled in classes in National University. The article says that Parks "obtained a certification from the Department of Education" confirming that he has completed his high school requirements, but the point of attack will be where said requirements were completed. If the answer is, "America," he will have to sit out. EDITED TO ADD (01/12/11): Is it possible that NU had Parks take a PEP test? Parks would still have to sit out a year, according to UAAP rules. However, given that Parks enrolled as a freshman last year, which could in theory count as his year of sitting out, it gives rise to the question, "when did he take the test if he just came back to Manila last year?" And how could he pass the test given, at most, reaching the junior year in the US?

Making the situation more befuddling is the fact that Ray parks, his father, has said that Bobby Ray will still leave the door open to play college in the US, saying that his son "will play at least two years with NU then he'll study his options." While anything is possible, the chances of him getting recruited again by a program as good as Georgia Tech are now much slimmer. It's rare for student-atheletes to break or go back on their Letters of Intent, which Parks signed when he committed to Georgia Tech, and even rarer for them to want back in. The longer he plays collegiately will also have a negative effect on his NBA draft stock, what with most teams wanting rookies to be closer to 20, than to 24, which he will be, by the time he plays two years in the UAAP, one year of red-shirting, and at least one year in the NCAA.

And finally, there is the unspoken suspicion going around the internet that the reason why Parks has decided to stay is to keep reaping the benefits of a substantial signing bonus that NU offered him. As ADMU coach Norman Black said winkingly in a forum, he fears NU in the upcoming UAAP season because "they've been buying a lot of players out signing bonuses." Although that line drew laughs, it is the sort of thing that the NCAA can and probably will look into, further decreasing his chances of playing in the US.

There is no question that the addition of Parks will make the NU Bulldogs a Final Four contender next season. What is sad is the amount of opportunities abroad that Parks is giving up in order to give a former doormat team some legitimacy. Again, you can dress it up in patriotism all you want, but the possibility of Parks becoming the first Filipino drafted in the NBA would have been bigger cause for celebration. Settling for the UAAP, and most likely, for the PBA, isn't.

One Decision Down: Bobby Ray Parks Commits to NU

Both the Philippine Star and GMA News are reporting that 6'5" Fil-Am prospect Bobby Ray Parks has decided to give up his scholarship offer to play for US NCAA Division 1 school Georgia Tech and instead begin his collegiate career locally with the National University Bulldogs.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Jerry Codinera Named UE Head Coach

In: Jerry Codinera (left), Out: Lawrence Chongson

Sources close to the situation say that Jerry Codinera was introduced to the UE men's senior basketball team awhile ago, at 1 pm.

Cordinera replaces Lawrence Chongson, who came to within a game of the Season 72 Championship versus Ateneo. Last season, Chongson opened the season 0-4, but got his team to regroup in the second half of the season, finishing the campaign with a 6-8 tally.

A unique aspect of Chongson's system was a lack of concrete plays on the offense. He also had a tendency to start less-talented players, before quickly swapping them out for his veterans.

Chongson signed just a two year contract, over rumors of a Codinera hiring back then, in fact, making this less of a firing and more of a decision not to renew the contract. It was rumored that he would actually be a one and done coach, expressing doubt as to his coaching abilities immediately after their loss to Ateneo in the Championship round but he came back, to a less successful stint.

Expect links to the official announcement soon.

EDITED TO ADD (9:01pm 1/11/11):
PBA Head Statistician Fidel Magonon has confirmed the news on his Twitter site, confirming that Chongson's contract had run out and that UE opted not to renew it. Codinera will have his first game on Saturday, when his Red Warriors face his former teammate Dindo Pumaren's Green Archers in the Fr. Martin's Cup.

The confirmation of the Codinera hiring creates some new questions. For one, who will be on his coaching staff? Will Codinera retain Rene Baena, whose return to the bench in the latter part of Season 73 nearly sparked a Final Four return? Or will he tap another former player who was also getting some head coaching buzz, Allan Caidic?

The second, and perhaps, more important question, is whether or not Paul Lee will be back, as I alluded to in yesterday's Forum Crawl. Lee really blossomed when Chongson cut the superstar guard loose. He is supposedly very loyal to Chongson, and returned only because the notion at the time was to retain Chongson. I can easily see him bolting for the pros, especially if Codinera expects the team to play defense.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Mailbag Mondays: 01/10/11

Q: What about the foreign-born players recruitment of ateneo? can you write something about them? word is there is a YOG player from Iran who wants to go to Katipunan
- - Basketphenome

CHF: Last question first; the notion that Ateneo has a prospect from Iran comes from an August 22 Tweet by Noli Eala. Said prospect was supposedly a point guard and member of the Iran U-17 team from 2009. Since then, no word.

If he is in fact with Ateneo, or at the very least, committed to Ateneo, he's got to be a season away at the very least (2011 would be his second residency year), and if he is already here, he's being hidden very well as he's not even a member of Team B. Should 2012 be his debut year, he'll be backing up Juami Tiongson and/or Mark Tallo Jr. for the foreseeable future unless he's really that much of a talent.

A pure foreign player being prepped for as early as Season 75 is Anthony Hargrove, a 6'5" power forward from the U.S. He came into Moro with a 6'2" small forward candidate, Dale (or Dave) Porter, who has a strong slashing game. The former is more of a lock to make the roster than the latter.

If you're looking for Fil-Ams, the SBP is supposedly targeting 6'8" Christian Standhardinger, a Fil-Am who left Nebraska because of academic deficiencies. Given the MVP connection, it's highly possible that he will continue his education in Ateneo, with the hope that he eventually makes the National Team.

There's some other random chatter out there: a few 6'7" 14 and 15 year olds being recruited, a 7' giant National Team possibility, but no definites.

Got a question of your own? Email

Forum Crawl: 01/10/11

A look at various, as of the moment, unconfirmed bits of information, floating around the different hoops forums. If an ITEM! is marked in red, take that item with a grain of salt, or better yet, a lot of salt.

ITEM! Angered by the fact that everyone's poaching their high school talent, San Beda has decided to go on the offensive and steal some recruits back. Target #1? Ateneo High's Von Pessumal, who was "supposedly" seen practicing with the Red Lions recently...

ITEM! Tamaraw Whammy #1: Is Gino Juamo-ass being stolen away by UE?

ITEM! Tamaraw Whammy #2: Is Calvin Abueva changing course and heading towards M.O.A.?

ITEM! No more Lawrence Chongson? Then no more Paul Lee as well, as Lee only wanted to play in Chongson's freewheeling (read: Lee-centric) offense...

ITEM! UE will be relying on former Letran Squire Roy Sumang for offense and to give their backcourt the sort of stability players like James Martinez had given them in the past. The question is though: is he eligible for next season? He never properly graduated from Letran High, and had to transfer to U.E. If that's the case, why's he taking an equivalency test that will render him out for another year?

ITEM! Adamson fans rejoice, as King Importante will finally be eligible this season. Two years of being ruled out at the last minute ought to be more than enough.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

S73 Autopsy: UP Fighting Maroons

Outgoing Players
- Woody Co (9.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1.4 steals)
- Martin Reyes (9.2 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists)
- Magi Sison (11.9 points, 10 rebounds, 2.1 blocks)

Win/Loss Records
- Season 73: 0-14 (8th)
- Season 72: 3-11 (8th)
- Season 71: 3-11 (6th)

Key Stats
- Last in the league in scoring (60.85 ppg)
- Last in the league in points allowed (74.31 ppg)
- Last in the league in shooting (35.36 FG%, 22.93 3P%, 55.7 FT%)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Forum Crawl: 01/07/11

A look at various, as of the moment, unconfirmed bits of information, floating around the different hoops forums. 

ITEM! That Ponso Gotladera thing? Pretty much confirmed according to just about everyone. The question still is why? Well, according to "hacksaw", DLSU team management was not satisfied with the progress one of their recruits, necessitating the need for a "Plan B." Going by the logic that a big man replaces another big man, that leaves Arnold Van Opstal and Norberto Torres as the two main candidates...

ITEM! Movement has been made on one of the coaching fronts in the UAAP, according to "Wang-Bu." Supposedly, the UE board voted not to renew the contract of current coach Lawrence Chongson, and have decided to target Jerry Codinera. They'll have to pry him away from his current position as UP assistant coach though...

ITEM! Thanks to some kind Bedan friends of his, "Bahay_Kubo" has dropped some info on where this successful group of Red Cubs are headed. Expect Baser Amer to stay home, Gotladera, as previously mentioned, to head to Taft, Chris Javier to go to Ateneo, and Von Chavez to play for UE.

Additionally, "Bahay_Kubo" feels that UST will keep one of their homegrown talents, Jaypee Sarcia, while King Tiger Cub, Kevin Ferrer, is still deciding between Ateneo and UST...

BLIND ITEM! See if you can identify this prospect, as described by some members of the Blue Eagles Nest.
  • "If it were up to me, I'd take him over Gwynne Capacio!"
  • Plays the same position as "our juniors Scottie Pippen"
  • Won't be a problem academically
  • Says one poster, "para naman makabawi tayo kahit paano sa atraso nung 'current school' nya sa atin."
  • At the very least, deserves "equal billing" with the Phenom

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Ponso Gotladera to DLSU?

Remember when DLSU was all about recruiting a security agency's worth of guards and crossing fingers that their big men in waiting could hold down the fort?

A rumor that's fast gaining traction is that the Archers have been able to secure the talents of San Beda Red Cub Ponso Gotladera, giving the Taft squad possibly their first post player in a long time.

Averaging about 12 points and 8 rebounds in 26 minutes, the 6'4" PF rookie will give La Salle a back to the basket player that can draw a double and give their guards the space to shoot.

The question is though, on a roster that already has Yutien Andrada, Papot Paredes, Maui Villanueva, maybe Jovet Mendoza, and is expecting Arnold Van Opstal and Norberto Torres, will there be a roster spot and playing time for him?

UAAP Decision II: National U Boogaloo

On the heels of Kiefer Ravena's impending "Decision" comes another potential UAAP cager making a tough choice: Should Bobby Ray, Jr. up to his letter of intent to Georgia Tech, or honor an earlier commitment to National University?

Well, according to a new Yahoo post by Patrica Bermudez-Hizon, his answer will come in a "couple of weeks" according to Parks' father, former PBA import, Bobby Parks, Sr.

The article seems to be quite optimistic about his chances of staying, quoting Parks, Sr. saying:

"(Ray) is still weighing it out.  Of course Georgia Tech is a top ACC school but we’re also looking at things in terms of being able to play for the national team.  He really wants to serve the country and get some international experience....One thing is he grew up here, hence the love for the Philippines...I also feel this is a fairly quicker way to get into the NBA because now international basketball players are a big thing.  We’re looking at that also.  He would like to be the first Filipino to make it to the NBA and I think he would have to lay the ground work here, become very familiar with the Filipinos here, serve the country and get the fan base behind him. Then if he goes to the States, go to college or wherever there would be a big Filipino community, they would come out and really support him."
 Personally though, I don't really find any compelling reason for him to stay. He'd actually have an easier time playing for the national team should he go to Georgia Tech, as most international tournaments run from July to October, exactly when it's summer in the U.S.

Furthermore, it'll be a lot easier to get drafted into the NBA playing college hoops in the U.S. as it'll be easier for scouts to compare his performance versus other Americans. There's not a lot NBA scouts are going to learn if he plays here, out of position, versus players much shorter than him. 

Finally, the longer he stretches out his "collegiate" stint, by say, playing a year or so in N.U., and then spending another year or so in the U.S., the bigger the hit his draft stock is going to take. NBA scouts hate old college players, and so it makes more sense for him to play one year in the A.C.C. where Georgia Tech plays, and then declare for the NBA Draft in 2012. All that hogwash about getting the Filipino community to support him is nonsense. He'll get the support regardless of where he plays, knowing Filipinos. 

All that said, the post can be seen in the light of his father laying the groundwork for him staying, and should that be the case, Parks, Jr. faces a risk that might keep him sidelined even longer.

There has been significant rumbling that several schools would be banding together to question Parks, Jr.'s eligibility for the upcoming Season 74. They would be attacking him on the grounds that he never fully established his high school credentials locally, which are needed for him to immediately play for N.U. next season (the best example would be how Kirk Long graduated high school here, before immediately going to play for Ateneo), thus forcing him to sit out the two year period for foreign transfers (ala Emmanuel Mbe).

I had always thought that Parks would drag this decision out until June, before the season would start, to allow him to keep an "escape hatch" so to speak, to allow him to go abroad, should he in fact be made to sit out.

The timing of this decision then, becomes rather questionable. Perhaps Georgia Tech has become antsy and is demanding an answer now (a strong possibility, given that in U.S. NCAA culture, a letter of intent is NOT something you back out of with good reason, for fear of drawing serious flack and harming your reputation) or N.U. is certain that they'll be able to beat any accusation from the other UAAP member schools.

In all, coupled with the Ravena "decision," this will make for a fun January, for UAAP fans

Jeron Teng Versus the 80+ Club

Jeron Teng's numbers in a 164-76 win over Grace Christian High School (January 5, 2011): 104 points (37/70 FG, 1/5 3PT, 29/34 FT), 24 rebounds (20 offensive), 6 steals, 2 blocks, 0 assists, 1 turnover (35 minutes)

Keith Agovida's numbers in a 127-49 win over Malayan High School (September 5, 2008): 82 points (36/49 FG, 0/1 3PT, 10/16 FT), 15 rebounds, 5 blocks (37 minutes)

Joshua Saret's numbers in a 171-43 win over Angeles University Foundation (July 7, 2009): 89 points (33/54 FG, 14/28 3PT,  9/10 FT), 11 rebounds, 12 assists, 13 steals (40 minutes)

Terrence Romeo's numbers in a 104-55 win over UPIS (August 26, 2009): 83 points (34/64 FG, 5/22 3PT, 10/13 FT) (31 minutes)


Keith Agovida was technically a junior when he scored 82 points, though he was in his last year of eligibility (18 years maximum in NCAA Juniors division). He was initially supposed to be headed to La Salle, but is now supposedly with National University.

Joshua Saret went to the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons where he played, on average, 10.2 minutes, norming 1.1 points, 1.2 assists and 0.6 steals.

Terrence Romeo stayed home with the Far Eastern University Tamaraws, winning last season's rookie of the year award, for his averages of 8 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 0.6 steals in 19.8 minutes.

Be Careful Not to Overrate Jeron Teng

First, the numbers: 104 points (37/70 FG, 1/5 3PT, 29/34 FT), 24 rebounds (20 offensive), 6 steals, 2 blocks, 0 assists, 1 turnover.

Next, the scouting report: listed at 6'1", Teng played the small forward spot, though he definitely does not have the shooting touch most people associate with that position. Instead, Teng operates mostly in the paint, hitting 8-foot jumpers reliably, or bullying his way into the lane. This was made easier for him due to the lack of height on the Grace Christian team. Despite double, triple, and even quadruple teams, Teng would usually opt to take shot forced shots, banking on his athleticism to get the rebound and the easy put-back. Teng's 0 assists was indicative of his score-first mentality, though it may just be a statement about his team's composition and depth (or lack of it).

Teng and his teammates run a pressure defense, and they took good advantage of it, forcing 42 turnovers, with 30 steals. That led to more shot opportunities (124 to 84), most of them uncontested, letting Teng pad his stats even more.

Though the game was clearly over as early as the end of the first half, when Xavier was up 68 to 32, Teng was clearly gunning for the Tiong Lian league scoring record of 64. He would top that with four minutes left in the third on a pair of free throws, and would later reach the 100-point summit with a minute and change left in the fourth. In all, he played 35:22 minutes.

What makes Teng's performance impressive is the fact that at 16 years old, Teng still has a lot of growing and learning to do, before he graduates high school. If he manages to grow an inch or two more and work on his jump shot, he could be a great recruit for many schools.

The converse though is true as well. A 6'1" shooting guard in the collegiate level is not going to make a lot of waves, especially if his range is limited. He'll also need to work on his court vision and find open teammates, especially if he continues to draw multiple defenders.

And as is typical in such cases, one might want to pass judgment on the quality of the opposition, in this case, the, as of writing, 1 and 3 Grace Christian High School squad. One might even choose to look down on the Tiong Lian league as a whole, saying that it's not as competitive as perhaps, the juniors ranks of the UAAP or the NCAA.

In any event, the word is: caution. The younger Teng brother has all the tools and opportunities to really become a great player. But the track record for super-star scorers in the collegiate level is spotty at best, and a more well-rounded game might be the best thing for him and his future career.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Jeron Teng Shatters the HS Scoring Record

Xavier School junior Jeron Teng, brother of UST Growling Tiger Jeric Teng, accomplished an amazing feat, scoring 104 points on 37/70 FG, 29/34 FT, and 1/5 3PT, the highest amount by a Filipino high school student. He also chipped in 24 rebounds (Edited to add: 20 offensive, 4 defensive), 6 steals, and 2 blocks, in a 164-76 rout of Grace Christian High School.

Teng is supposedly going to follow in the footsteps of his older brother, but schools like Ateneo de Manila University and National University have also expressed interest in him. It's possible that more schools will look his way now, thanks to this performance.

Brand New Screen

Inquirer Sports' Twitter has the first look at the new scoreboard at the Araneta Colliseum:

The venerable old reliable has to start leveling up; it's only a year or so away until the SM-backed arena outside MOA gets completed...

UST's New Gym May Be Games Site For S74

The Manila Bulletin is reporting that Ateneo may consider using UST's new sports complex in lieu of or in addition to the Fil Oil Arena in San Juan.

The new location, once completed, is said to have a basketball gym that can sit nearly 6,000 people. In comparison, the Arena can sit only around 4,500 patrons, while the Blue Eagle Gym on the Ateneo campus, houses 7,500.

Kiefer Ravena: The Decision

Image courtesy of GMA News online

Is he or isn't he? Will he or won't he?

Despite Chot Reyes' Tweets, there is still some doubt in the air, as to whether or not Kiefer Ravena will be donning Ateneo blue in Season 74 of the UAAP.

Ateneo's Athletics Director, Ricky Palou, told the Philippine Star earlier today that:
"Yes, he is with Ateneo...He’s been actually working out with the team for the last couple of months already"
In the same article though, he also added:
"We’re confident he’ll come to Ateneo...It is our understanding that if he stays in the Philippines and there are no offers abroad, he’ll play for Ateneo."
Parsing his statements though, it is no guarantee that a player will wind up with the Blue Eagles in spite of months of training with them. For one, no formal agreement can be worked out until the student has graduated and enrolled. Another thing to consider is that Coach Norman Black has open training sessions, meaning any prospective recruit can work out with the Eagles at any time. This philosophy can easily give rise to rumors. For example, last season, many speculated that De La Salle Zobel point guard Nico Elorde would be Ateneo-bound, after seeing him in practice with the Eagles. He would later wind up at DLSU.

The fact that Palou couched his statement as "We're confident..." and "It is our understanding..." means it is not 100% sure yet.

This indecision was further strengthened in a later GMA News report found online, in which Ravena's father, former PBA standout Bong Ravena, issued a statement saying:

“Kiefer will make the announcement this week"

Which may give some hoops fans flashbacks to "The Decision" brouhaha that entangled NBA star Lebron James last summer.

Other nuggets of information from that article include Reyes' confirmation that he was in fact talking about Ravena in his Tweets, if there was any doubt (Reyes says "he got the news from a very reliable source from Ateneo"), and Palou clarifying that the school had a "verbal commitment" from Ravena about playing in Ateneo should there not be any foreign overtures, last October.

In addition to practicing with the Eagles, Ravena is also making appearances at the Smart Gilas practices, along with another standout incoming freshman, San Beda High School's Baser Amer, who is expected to stay at home as well.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Kiefer Ravena to ADMU - Chot Reyes

Via a conversation between Talk and Text coach Chot Reyes and ABS-CBN Sports reporter TJ Manotoc on Twitter:

Reyes: And the Phenom stays home...u can relax now blue die-hards...
TJ Manotoc: meaning kiefer passed the acet and got accepted?
Reyes: meaning NO to d US & d other U's - ACET results not yet out
Manotoc: just a firm commitment to ateneo? But then again not until they're enrolled & in uniform :) sana uaap has "letters of intent" din
Reyes: of course, but I'd like to think we have something stronger than any LOI :)
Manotoc: haha :) well congrats then!