Monday, November 28, 2011

NCAA S87 Autopsy: UPHSD Altas

Outgoing Players
- Christopher Sison (10.4 minutes, 2.8 points, 1.4 rebounds, 0.8 assists)
- Harold Sumera (16 minutes, 3.1 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.1 blocks)

Win/Loss Records
- Season 87: 5-13 (9th out of 10)
- Season 86: 2-14 (8th out of 9, due to quotient)
- Season 85: 3-15 (9th out of 10)

Key Stats
- Scored the fewest points per game on average (66.5) and was dead last in scoring in each of the four quarters (15.39, 15.61, 16.33, 17.44)
- Made the fewest 2-pointers (17( and free throws per game (12.33) of any team, contributing to a league-worst field goal percentage (34.86)
- Led the league in three pointers made (6.72) and attempted (24.5)
- Committed the fewest turnovers per game (15.72) and gave up the fewest turnover points (11.72)
- Tied with Emilio Aguinaldo for most fouls per game (19.72)

Season in a Glance
If the Altas thought things couldn't get any worse compared to last season, they were wrong. Despite sitting out a season already, Paul Nuilan was once again denied eligibility by the NCAA MANCOM. Then Perpetual Help itself decided to remove Marlon Gomez from the line-up for vague reasons about an "unwritten gentleman's agreement." That led to head coach Boris Aldeguer resigning in disgust, leaving the host school without their two main big men and a mentor. As if that wasn't enough, they then lost Jeorge Allen in their season opener.

It was probably no surprise that the Altas won just a single game in the first round of play, needing a triple-overtime affair against JRU to notch their sole victory, but as the season progressed, new head coach Jimwell Gican was able to instill some fight in his boys. Heady play allowed them to stay in the thick of things in round two, winning four of their last nine, including a big win over the Letran Knights. That surge also lifted them from the cellar, 5-13, an accomplishment, given all that they went through.

Highlight: The San Sebastian Stags picked the wrong game to experiment in, switching to a slow-it-down style of play in an attempt to cut down on their turnovers versus Perpetual Help. Not only did the Stags still turn the ball over at their usual rate, the pace was to the Altas' liking as they stuck like glue to the then-tournament leaders. With Abueva missing on game-sealing charities, the Altas got the ball back with 14.8 seconds left, allowing Scottie Thompson the opportunity to snatch the win with a hook shot in the post over Ronald Pascual. Though it bounced off the rim, giving SSC-R the 77-76 win, it showed that teams underestimated the hosts at their only peril.

Lowlight: After watching their schoolmates put on an impressive opening ceremony, the Altas came out for the first game of the NCAA season versus the reigning champs, San Beda Red Lions, and then promptly fell flat, as the Red Lions roared to a 20-4 start. When the dust settled, not a single Alta finished in double digits, and they also suffered injuries to Jeorge Allen and Anthony Paulino in the process of the 82-52 rout.

Off-season Questions

1. Who's coaching this team?
Jimwell Gican clearly worked some coaching magic down the stretch of the season, motivating his hard-luck squad and putting them in a position to win in round two. After taking four of the last nine games, with only one of the five losses by double-digits, Gican joked that if there were a third round of play, his team probably could have snuck into the Final Four. He probably wasn't far off.

But there are rumors that the school is thinking bigger for their next head coach, with the possibility of tapping alumnus Bong Hawkins. Hawkins had a stint as one of Tim Cone's assistant coaches and was recently an assistant of Luigi Trilio for the Cebuana Lhuillier D-League squad so he does have some coaching experience. His name could also attract a few recruits so it's easy to see why he would be a strong candidate if he was interested in the job.

Answer: It's Aric Del Rosario. Surprise!

2. When will the Altas be a Final Four team again?
In 2003, the Altas were 3-11, but then jumped up to 10-4 the next year, where they were the top seed after the elimination round, getting all the way to the Finals before losing to PCU in two games. They missed the Final Four by a game in Season 8`, and have been slumping all the way down the standings since then. One recruiting class can make a huge difference, but does Perpetual Help have the scouts to look for untapped talent and the resources to attract said talent?

Team Needs
- Lots and lots of height

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