Tuesday, September 13, 2011

UAAP/NCAA Power Rankings: Week 9 of 2011

The unified UAAP/NCAA Power Rankings throws everything into a blender, hits the button, and ducks as it first mashes up, and then sorts out all 18 teams of both leagues. Among other factors, the panel of one takes into consideration: the quality of opponents played in the past week, how the team fared against those opponents, whether or not a team is on a roll, be it an uphill or downhill, and other factors like injuries or internal disarray.

In the second to the last Power Rankings for 2011 (it's hard to do them four teams in the UAAP are ON VACATION), we see just one remaining undefeated squad take the top spot, and some minor jostling around as the NCAA teams can see the halfway point of the second round from over here. We spend some time talking about the offseason already with the booted UAAP teams, as the mid-section of the NCAA starts to settle as teams drop out of the race for the fourth seed, one by one.

Defeated JRU 78-59, CSB 86-79
Last Week: #2 - It seems a bit silly how head coach Topex Robinson keeps harping on how he isn't satisfied with the level of play of his squad when they're 13-0, but watch the games and you'll see what he means. The Stags are still turning it over at a level unbecoming of an elite team (tied for third worst with 21.08 a game) and outside of the Big Three, Anthony Del Rio and Jovit Dela Cruz, guys like Krushev Ferrer, Michael Miranda and Lyle Antipuesto can look brilliant in one game, and then maddeningly lost in the next.

Upcoming Games: UPHSD on September 14, MIT on September 16
Lost to ADU 46-62
Last Week: #1 - Of the nine fastbreak points Ateneo scored versus Adamson, eight came in the first half, when the score was still close. Luckily for them though, unless the UST Growling Tigers drastically change the way they play, the Eagles are going to be able to get up and down the court. They average 22.5 fastbreak points and 19 turnover points versus Jarencio's wards.

Upcoming Games: UST on September 15
Defeated MIT 69-67, LPU 88-74
Last Week: #4 - The Knights hurdled Mapua and sent Lyceum packing, taking care of the biggest threats to their reign at third see. Their mission is still the same though, deal San Beda or San Sebastian a loss to sneak into the top two with a twice-to-beat advantage. One thing that would help them in that quest? Better free throw shooting. They're already taking the most attempts per game, 31.46, the only team to average in the 30's, but they're only converting a third-worst 60.39 percent.

Upcoming Games: None
Last Week: #3 - If I made the NCAA schedule, I'd make sure the Red Lions play at least one game each week. Just saying.

Upcoming Games: JRU on September 14
Defeated ADMU 62-46
Last Week: #7 - Maybe it's a bit simplistic, but Adamson's semi-final match-up with FEU may come down to a single stat: points in the paint. In their round one 78-59 blowout, Adamson tallied a season-high 50 points in the shaded lane, compared to just 20 by the Tams. That got spun on its head in round two, when FEU tallied 38 to just 16 by the Falcons in that stat. One thing Adamson has going for them that they didn't have in that rematch? A healthy Jan Colina; he played just six minutes after hurting his knee in the previous game before cutting his losses and sitting out the rest of encounter.

Upcoming Games: FEU on September 15

Lost to UST 57-66, defeated DLSU 66-57

Last Week: #5 - Another man went down for the FEU Tams, as Ping Exciminiano suffered an ankle sprain early on in the DLSU game, and it's an injury that could mean rookies Roger Pogoy and Cris Tolomia will be the primary defenders assigned to handle Alex Nuyles. FEU has done a good job though of allowing Nuyles to dominate the scoring, while shutting down the other Falcons. In fact, aside from Nuyles scoring in double-digits in both games, only Eric Camson has gone over 10 points, scoring 12 in the round one match. Whether they can get away with that on Thursday might mean the difference between an early vacation and forcing a rubber match.

Upcoming Games: ADU on September 15
Defeated FEU 66-57, lost to NU 49-73
Last Week: #6 - Getting back Karim Abdul from his suspension is a big boost for this squad, as Abdul is actually able to contain Greg Slaughter one on one, holding the 7-footer to just six points and eight boards. That's good because UST struggles to contain everyone else, especially Kiefer Ravena (16 points) and Nico Salva (17 points). With Melo Afuang out, UST could use a big game from Kevin Ferrer, but the smaller Ravena is able to keep him in check, limiting him to just five points and six and a half boards and more importantly, no triples.

Upcoming Games: ADMU on September 15
Defeated DLSU 56-40, UST 73-49
Last Week: #17- Head coach Eric Altamirano made references to line-up changes for next season, which means some players are likely to be relegated to Team B, while the big men they have stocked there who have completed their residency move up to Team A. While there's nothing wrong with getting taller, their main problem is still point guard play. The slightest hint of pressure throws Gelo Alolino, Joseph Terso, and Cedrick Labing-isa off, as this squad averaged the most turnovers this season, 19.14.

Upcoming Games: None

Lost to CSJL 67-69
Last Week: #8 - Josan Nimes and Yousef Taha, Mapua's rookies, carried the Cardinals into overtime, and Nimes had a shot to win the game but his triple just missed. If you're wondering though where the veterans were, well, they were buried, as Allan Mangahas tallied just 23 minutes, while Jonathan Banal notched 21. How those two played just 20 or so minutes in an overtime game is beyond me.

Upcoming Games: SSCR on September 16

Lost to SSCR 59-78
Last Week: #9 -The Blazers are trying to develop homegrown talent Alison Carlos into a capable post player, an element they've sorely lacked in the past years. So far, the growing pains have been there, as he's averaged just five points and two and a half rebounds in 17.5 minutes with three turnovers. Next season, they'll also get one-time DLSU prospect Tyle Fikowski to replace the graduating Tim McCoy. Until then though, expect CSB to continue their skid, as they try to adjust to life without Mark Romero.

Upcoming Games: JRU on September 19

Lost to CSJL 74-88
Last Week: #10 -Speaking of skidding, hello Lyceum Pirates. Losing Allan Santos to an indefinite suspension really hurts this squad, as he was their leading rebounder, the only guy in double-digits in that category with 10.1. Part of his problem though was he often gave away what he got, taking an average of 9.83 shots game, and making just 35 percent, or roughly three shots. On one hand, his undersized status makes it tough to convert when you're guarded by someone four inches taller than you, but on the other, some of his misses were really head-desk level bad. Bottomline though? They're on a three-game skid, but just a game out of the fourth seed.

Upcoming Games: AU on September 16, EAC on Sept 19

Lost to NU 40-56, FEU 57-66
Last Week: #11 - To-do list for DLSU: #1 find a new coach. #2 pray to god that Mark Tallo is indeed a game-changer. #3 hope the ouster of all Pumaren ties is enough to get Jeron Teng to put on the green and white. #4 hire a free-throw teaching savant. Shouldn't be too hard right?

Upcoming Games: None
Lost to SSCR 59-78, defeated AU 79-69
Last Week: #15 -Ultimately, it all comes down to this for JRU: they're not going to be Final Four contenders if they continue to average the most number of turnovers in the NCAA, 21.38. The Heavy Bombers are a pressing team, a squad that expends a lot of energy to get you to make mistakes. To be precise, they force 21.92 turnovers a game, and what happens with each one of them? Maybe not directly, but JRU gives them right back, essentially wasting all that effort. And that is why they're 4-9 right now.

Upcoming Games: SBC on September 14, CSB on September 19
Defeated UPHSD 77-71
Last Week: #18 - EAC has fielded a grand total of 13 players, and the number of players on that list that have been in all 13 of their games? Just three: Jan Jamon, Ralph Sanchez and Russell Yaya, and of that trio, only Jamon norms more than 20 minutes. And despite his tendency to dominate the ball for long stretches, they could sure use another 12.8 points per game, after beating the Altas by just six points.

Upcoming Games: LPU on September 19

Lost to JRU 69-79
Last Week: #12 -14 games in and the stats say that Arellano has the worst defense in the league, allowing 33.59 percent from beyond the arc, 51.07 percent from inside the arc, combining for a cellar-level 46.15 percent. It might be just me, but they could use some more Chris Okpe, after his 15-minute, five rebound, five block performance versus CSB.

Upcoming Games: LPU on September 16

Defeated UP 68-54
Last Week: #16 - Head coach Jerry Codinera has built up a lot of goodwill after wringing out three wins from a team many figured would go winless. But all the tactical acumen in the world isn't enough to get a team into the post-season. For that, you need good players, and establishing recruitment pipelines is something the former player will have to show he can do. He'll also have to make sure Chris Javier doesn't develop any wild ideas about transferring back to San Beda by giving him reasons to stay, like say, investing a lot of time developing the kid's post game.

Upcoming Games: None

Lost to EAC 71-77
Last Week: #13 - The good news for the Altas: they broke the 65 point barrier in consecutive games for just the second time all season, scoring 78 vs LPU and 71 vs EAC. The reason? Two games in which they got to the line at least 30 times, and two 20+ point fourth quarters. Unfortunately, they only won one of those two games, dropping a winnable match against a banged-up EAC Generals squad that saw just six players score the entire match.

Upcoming Games: SSCR on September 14

Lost to UE 54-68
Last Week: #14 - Expect UP once again to garner a lot of buzz in the off-season, this time, for the players they'll be bringing up from Team B. It's a gaudy list that includes former Maroons left of this season's roster due to injuries and eligibility (Mikee Reyes, Alvin Padilla, Mark Lopez) and some new blood in the form of players who have finished their residency (JR Gallarza, Chris Ball, Raul Sauyod, Carlo Mendoza). The question is, with 12 players left over from this year's squad, and only 16 roster spots, who gets cut?

Upcoming Games: None

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