Sunday, July 3, 2011

NCAA S87: EAC vs AU (Round 1)

History Lesson:

The Arellano Chiefs outclasses the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals in both encounters last season, holding the Generals to just 37% shooting. The Chiefs themselves shot a superb 46% from the field and 32.5% from beyond the arc, while also getting more trips to the line. The one-two punch of Isiah Ciriacruz and Andrian Celada proved too much for the Generals, as the duo poured in a combined 34 points both times.

Emilio Aguinaldo Storyline: Question abound for this probationary team, after a mostly fruitless summer campaign. How healthy will Milan Vargas be when the season begins? Where will this squad get the points to fill the void left by second-leading scorer Argel Mendoza? Can Claude Cubo take better shots? Will hyped-recruits Igee King and Joshua Torralba prove to be difference-makers? Head coach  Gerry Esplana will hopefully have some good answers or they could be at or near the bottom once again.
Stat to Watch: Turnovers; sloppy ball-handling by all of the Generals gave them a 20.5 average in the summer. Given their projected inability to score points, they'll need to execute better or they'll be staring up at a huge deficit in a hurry.
Player to Watch: Jan Jamon, from averaging 2.73 points in 7.18 minutes last season to 12.3 points in 28.5 minutes, Jamon has embraced his position on the floor, leading EAC in scoring in the Fil-Oil Tournament. His shooting ought to help space the floor better for big man Claude Cubo.

Arellano Storyline: Heading into the season, the buzz around Arellano isn't who they have, but who they don't have. First off is Isaiah Ciriacruz, the team's second-leading scorer from last season, who is still recovering from surgery. The second is Charles Mammie, the team's incumbent center who is currently looking for another team to ply his trade on. That basically means it all falls down to Mythical 5 selection Andrian Celada again. In his last year of eligibility, it falls to him to lead his squad to a possible Final Four berth.
Stat to Watch: Turnover points; for a squad that doesn't do anything like actively press ballhandlers, the Chiefs managed to average 18 turnover points a game, comprising 27% of their scoring repertoire. They normed 20.5 turnover points last season against EAC, and they can certainly continue with that in S87.
Player to Watch: Chris Okpe; nearly forgotten in the summer due to all the focus on Mammie, he goes into this season as the lone foreign player of the Chiefs. Even more raw than Mammie, Arellano will nonetheless count on Okpe to give them some toughness down low. Anything he gives on offense will be gravy.

Prediction: Arellano Chiefs

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