- ADU's Lester Alvarez and Alex Nuyles versus FEU's RR Garcia and Terrence Romeo
Ultimately, the thinking is that after explosive performances in the first game, both sides endeavored to shut the other side's superstars in the second match, leaving it up to the supporting casts to carry the game.
The "Other Guys" Battle
- FEU's Cris Tolomia versus ADU's Jerick Canada
Cris Tolomia on the other hand, found himself in a difficult position in his rookie year. After sitting out two seasons due to RP Youth U-18 commitments, Tolomia got onto the FEU Team A and discovered that Garcia and Romeo would be getting the majority of touches and minutes at the guard spot. No matter, Tolomia adapted well to the small forward spot, a necessity, given how often head coach Bert Flores is forced to go with three guards since JR Cawaling's injury. But Tolomia is a better defender than the other two, and may possibly be more clutch, as seen in his game-winner versus UST in Round One. But since their loss to UP in round one, Tolomia had not scored in double-digits, and was actually 0 for 13 in their last two games coming into this encounter. And yet, he played all 10 minutes of the third quarter and scored nine of his 19 in that period.
Unfortunately, only one player could be a winner, and that was Tolomia and his FEU Tams.
The Big Man Battle
- ADU's Austin Manyara, Jan Colina, Eric Camson and Rodney Brondial versus FEU's Carl Bryan Cruz, Aldrech Ramos, Russel Escoto and Mark Bringas
8 Things I Think
- I think the best coaching move of the series was Bert Flores going to the three-guard line-up in the third quarter and riding it late into the game. The Falcons simply did not have anyone who could guard Tolomia, and he made them pay for it.
- It's surprising to me how no one has really mentioned Janus Lozada, or rather, his second half disappearance. Lozada played 15 out of the 20 first half minutes and was leading Adamson in scoring with nine markers. He played just eight minutes in the second half and did not attempt a single shot. Why didn't they go to him more often and ride his hot hand? How come coach Leo Austria didn't try rotating him on the FEU guards instead of matching up by going small with two point guards and Nuyles?
- Austin Manyara was never really able to capitalize on his best UAAP game, a 13-point, 12-rebound performance versus UP, as he had to exit early with an ankle injury. He missed their next assignment and hasn't been as effective since.
- I don't think Adamson will be able to go back to the Final Four next season. Losing two veteran point guards is a huge blow to this team, especially when they only have Ryan Monteclaro as the other floor general currently on roster, who played a grand total of 16 minutes this season. They're okay at the other spots. Harry Petilos or Allen Etrone can split Lozada's minutes, plus Jericho Cruz, who impressed in this summer's Fil-Oil tournament will be eligible. Up front, Eric Camson will get the start in lieu of Colina, with Brondial splitting time between PF and C.
- Romeo's crippling errors have all been of the unforced kind, which says something about how easily this kid can get rattled. Matched up with Kirk Long and Kiefer Ravena in the Finals, the Eagles will be better equipped to force and pounce on his errors, than the Falcons could ever be.
- Similarly, FEU is going to have a hard time using that three-guard line-up versus the Eagles. Ateneo's problem was that they couldn't match-up with the bigger Adamson guards. Putting out what is essentially three shooting guards will just delight the defending champions.
- Russel Escoto is a beast for playing with a fractured hand - and still coming up with some huge rebounds.
- FEU's biggest advantage is the possibility that JR Cawaling or Pipo Noundou will pull a Willis Reed and turn a close game around. Just by participating in warm-ups and sitting dressed on the sidelines, the Ateneo coaching staff will be forced to gameplan for these guys, even if it turns out they don't see a single minute of playing time.