Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Jeron Teng mailbag

Going off some received tweets about the news that Jeron Teng will commit to DLSU...

Here's what we know about Jeron Teng: he scores most of his points as a slasher, but he's going to score at a lower percentage because of the speed and height of his UAAP defenders. His rebounding is questionable, because of the lack of height in the Tiong Lian (6'3" centers ahoy!) and because he'll be a collegiate shooting guard instead of a high school forward. As the primary scoring option in Xavier School, he doesn't pass a whole lot, but let's assume he will with DLSU as he can't overpower double teams anymore. Xavier plays an up-tempo style with a big focus on the transition game so maybe he manages a steal every now and then, though he himself with turn the ball over a lot as he gets used to the faster pace of the college game and the general increase in athleticism. I'm also projecting him to play around 20 minutes per game because DLSU would want to showcase their blue chip recruit. That makes me think he'll resemble something like the following two players. See if you can guess who they are.

Player 1: 20 minutes, 9.73 points on 34.58 percent shooting, 4.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 0.8 steals, 2.8 turnovers.

Player 2: 20.43 minutes, 9.43 points on 36.71 percent shooting, 3.9 rebounds, 0.93 assists, 0.5 steals, 2.71 turnovers

So who are the above two players?

Player 1 happens to be Jarelan Tampus, with his per-minute averages expanded to 20 minutes instead of the 15 minutes he averaged in Season 74.

Player 2 happens to be Joshua Webb, circa Season 72.

That's right, I have Jeron Teng looking like two of his own teammates. Admittedly, he'd be ahead of the curve if he can average that in his rookie year (versus Tampus' and Webb's sophomore year stats) but if you're La Salle, you're wishing he can provide more than that, especially since the hope is that he can be a future go-to guy.

(You're also hoping he can eventually expand his range to hit three-pointers more reliably. Tampus was 0/1 in Season 74 and 0/0 as a rookie, Webb is 7/48 for his career)

DLSU has Simon Atkins and Maui Villanueva graduating, leaving the rest of their roster intact. Here's how it looks right now:

PG: LA Revilla / Almond Vosotros / Dan Sara
SG: Luigi Dela Paz / Jarelan Tampus
SF: Joshua Webb / Joseph Marata

Assuming everyone comes back, that's a pretty crowded line-up, and we're not even factoring in Mark Tallo (PG), or possible recruits like Alex Torres and Gab Reyes from DLSZ (both SG/SF).

Let's say Revilla decides not to come back due to his health, while Marata and Sara get dropped to Team B.

PG: Mark Tallo / Almond Vosotros
SG: Jeron Teng / Luigi Dela Paz / Jarelan Tampus
SF: Joshua Webb / Gab Reyes / Alex Torres

That's a ton of guys who need the ball in their hands to be effective, with Tallo and Vosotros not being traditional point guards to boot. In fact, you could make the argument that everyone in that line-up is a scorer! And to further complicate things, we're not even factoring in the amount of touches the big men will need too. It goes without saying that head coach Gee Abanilla will definitely need to work on ball sharing in the off-season. If La Salle's offense devolves into a series of iso-sets, I doubt they'll be able to make the Final Four.

For argument's sake, let's look at the NU and ADMU line-ups, which were the other two schools that were going hard after Jeron.

PG: Jelo Alolino / Cedrick Labing-isa / JJ Alejandro (rookie)
SG: Ajeet Singh / Robin Rono / Reden Celda
SF: Bobby Ray Parks / Jeoffrey Javillonar

PG: Juami Tiongson / Nico Elorde (transferee)
SG: Kiefer Ravena / Tonino Gonzaga / Von Pessumal / Jomar Adonardo (Team B)
SF: Ryan Buenafe (one-year leave) / Oping Sumalinog / Gwynne Capacio

Both teams are pretty stacked as well, plus you have guys like Parks and Ravena who will dominate the ball much more over the others, but you can at least say that some of the other guys are role players (defenders like Singh and Gonzaga, traditional point guards like Alolino and Elorde) who won't demand the ball, or will look to pass first before anything else.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Jeron Teng commits to DLSU

Image courtesy of Archer Pride's Twitter account

As reported by numerous media outlets earlier today, blue-chipper Jeron Teng of the Xavier School Golden Stallions has committed to DLSU and will be a Green Archer in Season 75. His brother, Jeric, tweeted this morning about having to play against his brother, before saying that Jeron would be an Archer. Later in the afternoon, Jeron then confirmed the news on his own Twitter account, all of which can be seen in a snazzy graphic courtesy of GMA News.

Publicity-wise, this is a big get for La Salle. The Archers have been up and down in recent years, hitting a nadir last season when they went 1-6 in the second round to close out the season at 5-9. As a result, head coach Dindo Pumaren was let go, replaced by Gee Abanilla. Getting Teng was a show of force, a message to the other seven teams that DLSU was not about to go quietly into the night.

But what exactly do they get player-wise? Teng is the biggest name in what is a shallow recruitment year, and a lot of his recognition stems from a 104-point scoring binge that he put up a year ago. Since then, he and the rest of the Stallions won a third straight Tiong Lian title, with Teng getting his second straight MVP plume. That was February 2011. It's a bit surprising really that Teng didn't wait until after this season's Tiong Lian (which starts tomorrow, as a matter of fact), to see if he could boost his stock.

So who is Teng on the court based on last year? Here's what I wrote after his big scoring game:

listed at 6'1", Teng played the small forward spot, though he definitely does not have the shooting touch most people associate with that position. Instead, Teng operates mostly in the paint, hitting 8-foot jumpers reliably, or bullying his way into the lane. This was made easier for him due to the lack of height on the Grace Christian team. Despite double, triple, and even quadruple teams, Teng would usually opt to take shot forced shots, banking on his athleticism to get the rebound and the easy put-back. Teng's 0 assists was indicative of his score-first mentality, though it may just be a statement about his team's composition and depth (or lack of it).

Teng and his teammates run a pressure defense, and they took good advantage of it, forcing 42 turnovers, with 30 steals. That led to more shot opportunities (124 to 84), most of them uncontested, letting Teng pad his stats even more.

I also took a look at Jeron's contemporaries a few days after his big game, other high school stars with big scoring games and how they translated in the collegiate ranks. Let's just say, it's not a nice group to be in.

Jeron's decision to become a Green Archer makes a lot of sense vis a vis his other options. The two other schools that really went after him were NU, which has Bobby Ray Parks, and ADMU, which has Kiefer Ravena. Splitting touches with either of those two would have been tough, while at Taft, down the road if everything goes to plan, he could possibly be the main man for that team.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

High School Elite

Scouting for high school talent for a university or college basketball program is a tough gig in the Philippines.

Sure in Manila, you have UAAP/NCAA high school affiliates and other leagues like the Tiong Lian, but the province are a different thing entirely. This isn't the US where everybody is ranked, where YouTube highlight reels can be Googled, and where you can record out of state high school games. Legwork and connections therefore are key. You have to head out to all these little gyms based on recommendations from alumni living in the area to see if you have a diamond in the rough. And even then, it's hard to tell if you have a legit gamechanger, or someone who's merely dominating inferior opposition, but can't make the leap.

One group trying to change all that is the National Basketball Training Center, headed up by program director Eric Altamirano. After five years of existence, the Sea-Oil NBTC Elite League is now run in 17 cities with almost 5,000 participants, scattered across 139 schools. That's a huge improvement from when there were just 100 boys in their first year, based in Manila, Cebu and Davao.

"The Seaoil NBTC Elite League provides a competitive environment where the skills of the kids are developed and honed. We also teach them strategies and one facet of the game that is often overlooked – mental preparedness. The workshops are specifically designed not only with basketball in mind but also in imparting life’s values and character building. We believe in the holistic formation of a person,” said Altamirano.

And for the first time, the NBTC will be introducing the Seaoil High School All-Star Game, patterned after the McDonald's All-American High School Basketball Games of the US. The latter is known to be a must-watch affair in America, with nearly all the players becoming big names in the (US) NCAA. Just to give you an idea, the 2010 game had Terrence Jones, Brandon Knight, Tristan Thompson and Harrison Barnes go up against Kyrie Irving, Perry Jones III, Kendall Marshall and Jared Sullinger.

National Training Director Alex Compton added, "The Sea Oil High School All-Star Game will close out the year’s Seaoil NBTC Elite League in the first week of March 2012 following the National Finals. People from all over the country will also get to follow their respective players on television as the All-Star Game will be televised on AKTV.”

San Beda Red Lion Baser Amer and FEU Tamaraws Terrence Romeo are both products of the NBTC, so you know they're doing something right.

The Annual College Basketball Awards - 2011

Hosted by the UAAP-NCAA Press Corp and SMART, this year's edition of the Annual College Basketball Awards recognizes the following individuals who stood out in their 2011 hoops campaign:

The Mythical Five: Calvin Abueva, Bobby Ray Parks, Greg Slaughter, Kiefer Ravena, Garvo Lanete

UAAP Coach of the Year: Norman Black

NCAA Coach of the Year:
Frankie Lim 

Distinction of Excellence plum (for being the first NCAA team win the PCCL): San Sebastian Stags

Energy Player: Kevin Alas

Pivotal Player: Dave Marcelo and Nico Salva

Defensive Stopper: Kirk Long

Maynilad Super Senior: Emman Monfort

Impact Player: Ronald Pascual

Mr. Efficiency: Ian Sangalang & Aldrech Ramos

Court General: RR Garcia