Sunday, April 3, 2011

S73 Autopsy: NU Bulldogs

Outgoing Players
- Kokoy Hermosisima (10.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 27.91 3PT%)
- Jewel Ponferrada (8 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.1 blocks)
- Melvin Baloran (6.9 points, 4.7 rebounds, 0.6 steals)
- Jerome Tungcol (1.2 points, 1.5 rebounds, 1 assist)
- John Ludovice (0.9 points, 0.6 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 0.5 steals) (transferred to SBC)

Win/Loss Records
- Season 73: 7-7 (5th)
- Season 72: 3-11 (7th)
- Season 71: 2-12 (8th)

Key Stats
- First in the league in fouls given up per game (13.27 fouls/game) and free throw attempts allowed per game (11.71 attempts/game)
- First in the league in opponent's defensive rebounds allowed per game (19.93) and total rebounds allowed per game (33.86)  
- Last in the league in field goals made (21.79) and three-point field goals made (3.86) per game, while being last in attempts in both categories (53.43 and 14.5, respectively) as well
- Last in the league in offensive rebounds (11.64), assists (11.43), steals (3.71) and turnovers (21.93) per game
- Last in the league in opponent's field goal attempts allowed per game (67.64)

While Emmanuel Mbe was quite "imbah", the rest of his team was just average

Season in a Snapshot
Tired of being stuck in the cellar, the NU Bulldogs finally made an impact in the recruitment wars, getting a few high school standouts, but most importantly, acquiring the services of foreign big man Emmanuel Mbe. Coupled with a veteran core of Kokoy Hermosisima, Jewel Ponferrada and Melvin Baloran, the Bulldogs were raring to return to the Final Four for the first time in a long time.

Unfortunately, while the team looked good on paper, the actual product turned up short in their quest for a post-season berth. While Mbe was in fact dominant, the numbers of the three graduating veterans all went down. The team turned it over way too much, and the bench production was so close to nonexistent that at one point, head coach Eric Gonzales opted to start games with a bench quintet while bringing his actual starters off the bench in an effort to shake things up. In the end, many will see this season as a transition year anyway, with many believing that the season was a necessary step to punching that ticket to the Final Four.

Team Needs
- Pass-first point guards, ball handlers
- Outside shooting

The future is bright for NU, and the effect of having Henry Sy as a financial backer has had great effect on this program, allowing them to revamp facilities, hire Eric Altamirano, and attract a lot of blue chippers.

That said, Season 74's squad is one lacking in veteran leadership. Floor general Joseph Terso will be one of two seniors, the other being seldom-used center Marion Magat. Altamirano will also need to find a way to balance his squad's minutes, given all of the weapons he has. In fact, those two problems are related: will this be Joseph Terso's team or rookie Bobby Ray Parks'? And if it is Park's team, how far can you go on the shoulders of a rookie, albeit a talented one?

Projected Recruits
- Bobby Ray Parks is the big name here, and no doubt, team management is thankful he decided to stay instead of heading to the (American) NCAA. That said, his eligibility is still in doubt, and should he be made to sit out, then this team would take several steps back.
- Cedric Labing-isa and Kyle Neypes were RP Youth U18 squad members who played under Altamirano. UST High School alums, Labing-isa is an undersized point guard, while Neypes is a multi-faceted athlete.
- Robin Rono is a transferee from the University of Perpetual Help. He averaged 8.7 points, 1.6 assists and 2.7 rebounds in 2009 for them, before transferring.
- Gelo Alolino is a 5'9" combo guard who graduated from UPHDS High School. Another U-18 player, he does have a reputation for being more of a scorer than a playmaker though.
- Reden Celda is a transferee from Davao, and is a former Nike Elite Basketball Camp participant, and
a mythical five member of the Nokia National Basketball Training Center D-League.
- 6'4" Robby Celiz and 6'3" Lee Denice Villamor are transferees from Rizal Technological University
- AJ Henson, listed in the team's FilOil preseason roster, is possibly a Fil-Am player
- An old article for Yahoo Sports lists scoring machine Keith Agovida and 6'7" Spencer Eman as possible recruits, though neither are on the FilOil roster.
- NU has long been considered a suitor for Ael Banal. Initially placed on their FilOil roster, his name has since been removed by team management

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