Sunday, February 27, 2011

Arnold Van Opstal Has Hops

Waitaminute, is that a lowered rim?

ADMU's Roster Math Equals Subtractions?

ADMU Blue Eagles coach Norman Black has some roster math to figure out.

Each UAAP team is given 16 roster spots. From last season's three-peat squad, two will graduate: Eric Salamat and Jason Escueta. Those two spots automatically (in as much as "automatically" means something) go to Kiefer Ravena and Greg Slaughter.

We've discussed rumors about the eligibility of Chris De Chavez. For me, even if he is eligible, I still think he could do well with a year on Team Glory Be, so for the purpose of this post, I'm ruling him out. His slot goes to the come-backing Oping Sumalinog, who does a lot of what De Chavez does, except with heightened defensive skills.

Another player whom I think could use a stint in Team B is Jeric Estrada. The guy is so raw that he could definitely use the minutes to develop some moves in the paint, and bulk up. If he's out, we can go and put in Gwynne Capacio, who scared some people when he showed up after Christmas Break with a knee brace (it was just a minor tear of the miniscus, the brace is off already).

While we're talking about Team B, we might as well talk about Carlo Balmaceda, who was called up from Team B last season. He didn't play a single minute, but he was highly praised by Coach Norman Black for his attention to detail and his almost assistant coach-like demeanor. That said, he's graduating this March and could easily give up his last year of eligibility. Let's presume he does that, paving the way for me to add Cebu hot-shot Mark Tallo to the mix.

So from the list of "bubble" players, I'm presuming Coach Black keeps Bacon Austria, Tonino Gonzaga, Juami Tiongson, and Art Dela Cruz on Team A.

That closes the door on any Team B call-ups, and from the list of recruits that Coach Black has, sits out Ael Banal, Von Pessumal and Kevin Ferrer.

Now, call this burying the headline, but from those three, two are supposedly contemplating a change of scenery.

The first is Kevin Ferrer, the UST Tiger Cub. Eyebrows were raised when Rick Olivares had to edit his Kiefer Ravena interview to delete the part about his supposed recruitment. Now, word has it that he's supposedly staying, perhaps in part because he doesn't want to be Soc Rivera'd.

The other is Ael Banal. The former Blue Eaglet famously decided not to commit to a college after his RP Youth Tam stint and has bounced around since then (practicing at NU's gym, training in the US with Gab Banal and Joshua Webb of the DLSU Green Archers, to participating in scrimmages with ADMU's Team A). New information has since surfaced that has him practicing with UP, although another source told me that he's definitely staying at ADMU.

Such is the balancing act Coach Black has to play. If he really wanted to, he could presumably find slots in Team A for both Ferrer and Banal if he wanted them to stay (dropping Dela Cruz and Gonzaga, for example). However, that would mean subtracting veterans with Final Four and Championship experience from his bench.

With a month to go before the FilOil Preseason Tournament, there's still plenty of time for recruiters to do their work and for potential recruits to play musical chairs.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Now We Know Where UE's Getting Reinforcements

With the exit of Paul Lee, and no direct confirmation as to the success of their attempts at recruiting a blue chip 2/3, it seems that the University of the East Red Warriors will be turning their attention southward to Cebu.

According to an article in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, UE is set to tap four incoming college freshmen from Cebu Eastern College's high school ranks. Quoth:

Reigning juniors MVP, Nike Montalvo, heads a formidable recruitment class that seeks to rebuild the once-proud UE dynasty that has won 18 championships in the UAAP.

Montalvo will be joined by Roy Villarias, Mark Olayon and BJ Zosa. All four were vital cogs in turning the Dragons around from a miserable bunch in 2009 to a fearsome and title-winning one last year.

They performed well enough during the drills and scrimmages highlighted by them beating the regulars of the Red Warriors. This impressed UE head coach Jerry Codinera and team manager, Jesus Tanchanco Sr., enough to offer them slots on the regular squad.

The move will make the ADMU-UE matches a bit more interesting, what with former Cebu standout and CESAFI Juniors MVP Mark Tallo Jr. on the Ateneo squad. It also represents a major recruiting coup and the creation of a potential pipeline of talent, should these players' games transition well in the UAAP. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

UAAP Teams in the PBA-DL

Though there's still a lot about the PBA-DL that we don't know, especially with regards to UAAP eligibility (Can you play in the PBA-DL before you play for a UAAP team? Is there a minimum number of years you need in the UAAP before you play in your school's PBA-DL team? Will there be schedule conflicts with the PBA-DL?), we at least now know which teams will be getting direct PBA-DL affiliate teams, thanks to this article from the Philippine Star.

So according to the information from the paper, the Freego team will be comprised of Adamson Falcons players, Max Bond will be reinforced with UST Growling Tigers, and the one we all knew about from before, Powerade with guys from the UP Fighting Maroons.

A few other schools have gotten tie-ups, such as San Beda and Maynilad Water, CEU and Cafe France, Arellano University and Black Water, and San Sebastian and Metro Pacific Toll Corp.

Line-ups will be due on March 4, so we'll have a clearer picture of how things will work by then.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

No Ravena or Amer in Smart Gilas

Straight from Coach Toroman's mouth, via a GMA News report:

“We may not have problems from their respective schools once we make the request, but we will definitely encounter problems from the collegiate leagues, which they will play for this year," said Toroman in a telephone interview.

“It’s a short tournament, and we need to win as many games as possible. Our campaign in the PBA will be tough, so I don’t want to take a gamble," added Toroman

Toss in the fact that the chance of either making it to the final, PBA-reinforced roster that we're sending to the FIBA qualifying tournament is extremely tiny and the whole idea of Kiefer Ravena and Baser Amer being on the squad seems more ridiculous. 

Remember, it was not Toroman who said that they ought to be on the PBA roster. That was SBP vice-chairman Ricky Vargas. We never really got the sense that Toroman wanted either of them, so it's good that he comes out now and quashes this line of thinking before the summer collegiate preseason tournaments get underway, so that both Ravena and Amer can concentrate on practicing with their respective teams.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Forum Crawl: 02/17/11

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! The heir apparent to UE's Paul Lee, former Letran Squire Roy Sumang, was injured in the fourth quarter of a Father Martin's Cup game versus STI last week. The injury to either his knee or toe looks to take a long while to recover. Last season, Paul Lee got injured during their US training and it completely threw the start of their year off-kilter. The Warriors are hoping Sumang recovers quickly, in time for the summer leagues.

ITEM! Should the injury be serious, expect the Warriors to make renewed runs at Gino Jumao-ass and/or Von Chavez, with some Warriors hopefuls praying that they have an outside shot at prying away Baser Amer from San Beda

ITEM! Here's a bit of an under-reported item circulating the internet. According to an FEU forum, Reil Cervantes will not be rejoining the Tamaraws for his last year of eligibility, opting instead to play for the Cobra team, coached by former UE mentor Lawrence Chongson, in the PBL PBA-DL. Joining him on that squad is another former Tam, the graduating Paul Sanga, and Paul Lee. Cervantes' decision reduces the number of veteran players on an increasingly young FEU squad (the team is slated to add at least four rookies) that's trying to return to the UAAP Finals.

ITEM! Fil-Canadian Norman Penola was slated to be the next great Blue Eagles point guard, a taller LA Tenorio with sicker handles, but academic deficiencies forced Penola to transfer to NU at the start of last school year. After a year of completing his residency, Penola has decided to return to his native Canada, according to his Twitter page and finish schooling there instead, saying that college basketball in the Philippines might not be for him.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Bert Flores Returns as FEU Head Coach

Following Season 67, the FEU Tamaraws saw head coach Koy Banal resign after failing to get his team that second "W" in the UAAP Finals versus the DLSU Green Archers. He was replaced by his assistant, Bert Flores, and armed with essentially the same roster, Flores was able to return to the Finals, this time dispatching the Archers and nabbing the championship trophy.

It looks like the FEU braintrust are hoping history will repeat itself, as the Philippine Daily Inquirer reports that the team has rehired Flores, to replace Glenn Capacio.
"The last coach to steer Far Eastern University to the UAAP championship is back at the helm
Bert Flores, who mentored the 2005 champion squad powered by Arwind Santos, hopes to bring his winning touch anew this season when the Tamaraws go for another shot at the men’s basketball crown.
Flores will be assisted by former pro standouts Johnny Abarrientos, Victor Pablo and Richie Ticzon. Jorge Gallent, the head coach of B-Meg Derby Ace Llamados, will act as consultant."
The hiring fills the last coaching vacancy, in an offseason that saw half the coaches get replaced. FEU had been inundated with rumors that the other assistants, Richie Ticzon, especially, would get the nod, but Flores stood above them, with a championship already on his resume. Given the veteran nature of this Tamaraw squad and the last year status of some of its stars, it's presumed that management opted to go with its best chance to win by getting someone who has already been there.

As for Flores' style, it was very similar to Koy's, very defense-oriented, a fact he stressed in the article, saying:
“We have to bring back our defensive game,” said Flores yesterday. “The past FEU champion teams won mainly because of defense.”

Friday, February 11, 2011

Forum Crawl: 02/11/11

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! Looks like the Calvin Abueva era in FEU is over before it began. UAAP rules don't allow someone to play in the PBL before the UAAP, and the compromise would have been an extended sit-out period...that would have eaten up all his years of eligibility. To really put the nail in the coffin, he's signed up for the PBL again this upcoming season.

ITEM! Incoming sophomore JP Mendoza of the San Beda Red Lions is supposedly out for a good long time, perhaps permanently, because of a medical condition, says the Red Lions Den of Gameface. That leaves a roster spot open for one of the Cubs who have been eying other schools...

ITEM! Lots of rumors about Ryan Buenafe not being academically eligible to play next season. The Blue Eagles Nest of Gameface though, says that the problem is not grades-related, but cuts-related, and that Buenafe has rectified the problem and is expected to suit up for S74.

ITEM! The same apparently cannot be said of his teammate, Chris De Chavez.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

More Chris Newsome

The Philippine Star also had an article today further discussing 6'2" Fil-Am guard, Chris Newsome, whom Coach Norman Black is targeting for his SEAG roster.

Phl coach Norman Black said Chris Newsome, a 6-foot-2 sophomore at New Mexico Highlands University, will come over to seek his spot in the team, which will be gunning for its 15th SEAG cage title against what he described as improved rivals.

“He practiced with Ateneo the past school year and I can say he’s good, he really can jump and he’s very athletic,” Black said during yesterday’s Scoop sa Kamayan session.

Based in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, Newsome currently plays for the Cowboys in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, leading the squad to a 90-84 win over University of Colorado-Colorado Springs with 18 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals in their most recent game. Newsome will relocate to the Philippines after the season and play for Ateneo by 2013.
According to poster "yungha" in the Blue Eagles Nest forum of Gameface, Newsome will come over to the Eagles as a junior, meaning he will have two more years of eligibility as a Blue Eagle. In that same post, "yungha" also mentions that another SEAG potential player, 6'6" Anthony Hargrove, who is currently already enrolled in Ateneo, will have three years of eligibility when he's finished with his residency.

Due to Coach Norman Black's role as SEAG coach, many young Fil-Am players are being wooed to move over here and enroll in Ateneo, to further gain the benefit of his coaching. It's a big perk, and the talent he gets, though they'll have less eligibility years, will definitely be several steps higher than the fresh from HS foreigners other schools like La Salle have been signing up.

The Eagles' Share: Best Recruiting Class Ever?

The Philippine Star dishes on the state of Ateneo basketball, and guess what? It's royal blue, as in, four-peat royal blue.

Ateneo could well be on its way to a rare UAAP four-peat as the Eagles landed four of the brightest prospects this year.

Smart Gilas’s Greg Slaughter, Ateneo high school standout Kiefer Ravena, Cebuano star Mark Jayven Tallo and former RP Youth mainstay Gwyne Capacio will don the Eagles’ jerseys in the coming UAAP season as the Loyola-based squad tries to annex the league’s first four-peat since the University of Santo Tomas Tigers did the feat in the 90s.

The seven-foot Slaughter, who steered University of Visayas to four Cebu collegiate league crowns from 2006 before being tapped for the national team, will provide muscle underneath following the departure of now pros Rabeh Al-Hussaini and Noy Baclao.

Ravena, who powered the Eaglets to three UAAP juniors crowns, Tallo, the Jr. NBA MVP and spearhead of Cebu Institute of Technology in the Cebu leagues, and Capacio, a former La Salle high school stalwart, are expected to more than fill up the slack left by skipper Eric Salamat, who has graduated.

“We’ve got talented recruits for the coming season,” said Ateneo coach Norman Black in yesterday’s Scoop sa Kamayan Padre Faura. “We’ve got Greg Slaughter who will man the middle for us the way Rabeh (Al-Hussaini) and Noy Baclao did during their time.

“We also have guys like Kiefer Ravena, who everybody knows how talented he is, Mark Tallo and Gwyne Capacio to help fill in the void left by Eric Salamat,” he added.

Aside from the Fantastic Four though, who were already linked to Ateneo as early as July of last year, the article confirms that two Blue Eaglets, in addition to Ravena, will be staying home as well:

Aside from these blue-chip recruits, Ateneo also took in Von Pessumal and Ael Banal from its high school squad while Oping Sumalinog, who missed last season due to a knee injury, is expected to be back this year.

If the story is to be believed, then we can probably squelch those rumors of Pessumal headed to San Beda, or of Banal going to DLSU or NU. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Quinito Says "Don't Forget the Archers!"

With all the publicity Ateneo, UP and NU have been drawing in recent weeks, thanks to "Decision" episodes by their respective superstar recruits, it is no wonder that famous DLSU alum Quinito Henson wants desperately to swing the spotlight back on to his beloved Archers, which is exactly what he does in an article today for the Philippine Star.

Truth be told, there's not a lot of new information in it for those who frequent various UAAP forums. The Archers are bringing in Arnold Van Opstal, Dan Sara, Norbert Torres, and, health willing, LA Revilla for next season. That means four people are going to get cut, at the very least, and the article gives no hints about that (in fact, it lists the entire current DLSU roster, including everyone's favorite goat, Ferdinand).

In fact, THE juiciest bits are like mere morsels of information. The first is that Coach Dindo Pumaren says they "may tap three more rookies[,] but declined to name them." We can assume one is Ponso Gotladera, from the San Beda Red Cubs. The seemingly disappeared Louie Vigil from JRU High School might be another, but there are rumors regarding his academic eligibility. The last one could be yet another Tiger Cub changing colors, as the Archers are supposedly interested in Ismael Corre.

The second nugget is dropped when Pumaren outlines their summer plans, saying that "La Salle will play Ateneo in an exhibition game in Dubai in April." Hopefully that can be televised on Studio 23, as it'll be interesting to see which side draws more supporters there. That would also mean the two rivals will be meeting a minimum of twice during the summer (the other would most likely be a Fil-Oil Preseason Tournament game).