Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Fr. Martin Cup Final Four Scouting

NU Bulldogs (def. by JRU, 69-71)
  • The first quarter show of Bobby Ray Parks was truly impressive. Parks scored using a variety of moves, showing off the full repertoire and earning a lot of "oooh's" from the crowd.
  • Early on, the Bulldogs ran a lot, even off made shots. 
  • The Bulldogs countered the JRU full-court man to man press by running the ballhandler's man off Mbe or another big man screens near the halfcourt line. Unfortunately this resulted in illegal screen calls twice, as the screener usually kept clenched fists across his chest. The first time it happened, Raycon Kabigting was sent sprawling to the ground, clearly shaken.
  • I had big issues with the way NU head coach Eric Altamirano used Parks. He played him the entire first quarter, and didn't pull him until the 5:28 mark of the second, when NU's 10-point lead had dwindled to just 6. With him out, the Bulldogs hit a huge scoring drought, and their lead disappeared completely, forcing NU to sub him back in at 3:34. They would go on to score just 1 more field goal in that quarter. From that point on, with his energy clearly sapped, he would just make two more field goals. 
  • Beyond Parks and Mbe, the Bulldogs didn't have any other real big man in their 12-man roster, forcing them use Glenn Khobuntin a lot at the four. While he was their second leading scorer, he made a lot of errors, including a missed rotation in the dying seconds of the game, when the Bulldogs were fouling to keep them in the game. 
  • Emmanuel Mbe got into foul trouble in the first half and it clearly limited his production (scoring 4 in the first 3 quarters, and 6 in the fourth). That said, the Bulldogs rarely posted him up, despite the fact that JRU was going small nearly the entire game. 
  • Some NU fans sitting next to me were muttering about Altamirano's rotation, wondering why Kyle Neypes, Cedric Labing-isa, and Mon Celiz didn't get more touches. Celiz, in particular, could have gotten some burn late in the game when they needed triples to break the JRU zone. 
  • In fact, that might be the biggest key to defeating the NU Bulldogs, a very effective zone. In the fourth quarter, NU went 0 for 4 from beyond the arc, and the quick rotations forced turnovers. 
  • Which makes you wonder why the heck they aren't doing more to secure the services of Ael Banal.
AdU Falcons (def. by SBC, 72-80)
  • Although the Falcons managed an 8-6 lead early on, for most of the game, they were exerting a ton of energy just trying to keep it close. In the end, despite the fact that SBC had just played the day before in the PBA-DL, it was the Falcons that ran out of gas. 
  • Austin Manyara still struggles to do anything productive in the post, and the difference was magnified, given that he was going up against Sudan Daniel and Beda's new import Ola Adeogun. The two red shirts combined for 27 points, while Daniel had just a measly 5. 
  • In fact, the entire Adamson team struggled, clearly intimidated by Beda's size. The Falcons rarely took the ball inside, relying on outside jumpers, and aside from Janus Lozada's third quarter burst, none of the other perimeter shooters were finding their mark. Jerick Canada and Lester Alvarez took turns bombing away from beyond the arc, and the result was largely that, a bomb. 
  • Another aspect of the Falcons team that was missing was their tight defense. They led the UAAP with 7.2 steals a game last season, which led to easy transition baskets, but despite the fact that Beda was going point guard by committee, the Falcons couldn't make any headway there. 
  • To be fair though, Adamson coach Leo Austria barely made use of Alex Nuyles, opting instead to see what some of the younger players could do. All of Nuyles' 6 came in the second quarter
  • After two seasons of waiting, Adamson was forced to pull the plug on the King Importante issue, allowing the guard to go off and play in the PBA-DL. Importante was at the heart of PCU violations and his eligibility in the UAAP has been questioned multiple times.
Other teams
  • UP is supposedly going after JRU's Joe Etame, who watched the game in civilian clothes. If he sits out this upcoming season, he'd have one more year of eligibility left. No word on whether or not his fellow Cameroonian, Nchotu Njei will go with him.
  • Some buzz about UE acquiring San Beda's Von Chavez and Chris Javier

And oh yes, shameless plug, I wrote the recap of the Final Four for Inboundpass.com, so I would appreciate it if you head over there and check it out.

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