Saturday, April 28, 2012

FilOil Mythical 5 (20 games in)

Yes it's early, so early that San Sebastian hasn't even played a single game yet, but after hitting the 20 game mark yesterday, it's time for a look around the summer league to see who's been tearing it up.

Center: Greg Slaughter of ADMU - 27.3 minutes, 18.5 points (55% FG, 58% FT), 12.3 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 2.3 blocks, 2.5 turnovers

You can also make the case for Ola Adeogun, who is playing less minutes (23.8 points), thus averaging less points (14.0, on 60% FG, 67% FT), but still has more boards (12.8) and assists (1.3), and I bet some San Beda fans are rolling their eyes at the supposed homer-ism right now.

All that said, I don't like the fact that Adeogun turns the ball over more (3.3), and you have to consider the fact that right now, everyone save for Slaughter on Ateneo is playing poorly. Salva's been inconsistent, Ravena's shot is missing, the point guards aren't scoring, etcetera, etcetera. He's responded to the situation by putting the Eagles on his back, and that makes him more mythical in my eyes.

Power Forward: Jam Cortes of CSJL - 30.7 minutes, 14.0 points (47% FG, 86% FT), 10.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.3 blocks, 2.0 turnovers

True he's been playing quite a bit of center with Raymond Almazan injured, but Cortes is a power forward at heart, so I'm slotting him in there. Cortes is another guy carrying his squad, with the aforementioned Almazan out, and with Kevin Alas still regaining his bearings, it's been all Jam for Letran, and he's picking up on the consistent production he was churning out before he got an ejection in the second round of last season's NCAA tourney. He wasn't quite the same player after that, but he seems to have rediscovered his spark in the FilOil.

Also considered: Eric Camson

Small Forward: Bobby Ray Parks of NU  - 26.3 minutes, 20.7 points (33% 3PT, 54% FG, 76% FT), 6.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.7 blocks, 1.7 turnovers

The LeBron James of local collegiate basketball, Parks has been the prime beneficiary of NU's shift to an up-tempo, turnover generating beast of a team, allowing him to get into the open court more, where he excels (aside: I can't believe it took them a full year to realize that NU should be running on every play).

Also considered: No one!

Shooting Guard: Mark De Guzman of NU - 25.0 minutes, 12.3 points, (53% 3PT, 45% FG), 2.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.7 steals, 1.3 turnovers

The most difficult position to fill so far. I considered RR Garcia (more point guard than shooting guard), AJ Serjue (only played two games, one was great, the other was crap), Julius Armon (28% FG shooting???) and Carlo Lastimosa (only played one game against a weak opponent), but ultimately I went off the grid here and picked another NU Bulldog, Mark De Guzman.

Why Mark De Guzman? The former CSB Blazer has, in three games, converted 9-of-17 three pointers (53%), giving Bobby Ray Parks what he sorely lacked last season: a consistent outside threat to throw it back to after he drives into the heart of the defense. If NU goes places this season, it'll be largely because of the addition of De Guzman, preventing guys from doubling Parks and Emmanuel Mbe.

Point Guard: Roi Sumang of UE - 31.5 minutes, 16.5 points (45% FG, 42% FT), 5.5 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 3.0 steals, 1.5 blocks, 3.0 turnovers

Sumang looked like a shell of his former self last UAAP season, due to a knee injury that he spent a lot of last year recovering from, but he's rediscovered his edge, churning out a pretty amazing statline, and standing out on a nondescript UE Red Warriors squad.

Sure he has some flaws, he's only played two games, he hasn't made a triple, and his free throw percentage is subpar for a point guard, but his league-leading assists number says a lot, and would be higher if his teammates could convert more shots. Toss in three steals and a block and a half per game, and Roi's the man.

Also considered: RR Garcia

Saturday, April 21, 2012

FilOil 2012 - Why Has Ateneo Looked Off?

After steamrolling through much of the UAAP tournament last year, Ateneo has yet to find their groove in the FilOil tournament. A combination of new personnel, the loss of Emman Monfort and Kirk Long (the two guys mostly responsible for setting up the table for their teammates), and minutes being spread throughout the line-up has seen the Eagles' numbers plummet. As a result, they've been having a hard time putting away sub-par competition (they beat a Kevin Alas-less Letran squad and a Perpetual Help Altas team by a combined six points).

UAAP S74 ADMU Averages FilOil 2012
72.29 Points 58.50
21.67% (2.59 / 11.94) Three-point percentage 18.75% (3.00 / 16.00)
46.48% (22.94 / 49.35) Two-point percentage 39.13% (18.00 / 46.00)
41.65% (25.53 / 61.29) Field goal percentage 33.87% (21.00 / 62.00)
72.54% (18.65 / 25.71) Free throw percentage 60.00% (13.50 / 22.50)
43.00 Rebounds 53.50
17.53 Assists 16.00
15.65 Turnovers 19.00
14.53 Fast break points 10.50
16.76 Bench scoring 20.00

One Blue Eagles whose shot has been particularly off in the early-goings of this tournament is Kiefer Ravena. While he's made some crucial scores (in particular, a triple right after Letran had tied things up in the fourth quarter), he's been unable to hit the mid-range jumper so far. That said, he's been compensating in other aspects, which is what you'd want from your star when his attempts aren't falling.

UAAP S74 Ravena Averages FilOil 2012
27.60 Minutes 26.50
13.60 Points 11.50
52.29% Two-point percentage 29.41%
44.85% Field goal percentage 26.92%
4.20 Rebounds 5.50
3.00 Assists 4.00
1.50 Steals 2.00
1.70 Turnovers 0.50

Can the Eagles bounce back and post an impressive win against the NCAA champions, the San Beda Red Lions? We'll find out later at 5:15pm at the Arena in San Juan.

EDIT: Ravena's averages versus San Beda (two games in last year's Fil-Oil, one game in the PCCL) are pretty amazing. In 28.33 minutes, he norms 18.33 points on 61.11 percent shooting, four rebounds, 3.33 assists and 0.67 steals to just 1.67 turnovers. If he's going to snap out of his funk, San Beda's a good a time as any.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

FilOil 2012 - April 18 box scores

The box scores for AdU vs LPU, JRU vs EAC and SBC vs UST, under the cut

Updated to include ADMU vs UPHSD

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

FilOil Random Thoughts - Gameday April 18, 2012

In addition to this blog post, I also wrote the primer for GMA News Online. Give it a read why don't you? And then come back here.

LPU Pirates vs ADU Soaring Falcons
  • Lyceum lost all seven of their games in last season's Fil-Oil, but rebounded nicely in the actual NCAA as a guest team. It will be interesting to see if head coach Bonnie Tan will be out to win or if he's going to be more focused on testing line-ups and working in their new players.
  • Speaking of new players, Lyceum has two new centers, Daniel Garcia and Joseph Ambohot. Both though are ridiculously raw, based on what I saw of them in the Fr. Martin Cup. That said, it's unlikely Lyceum will be using them to score, and would rather they focus on rebounding. With Austin Manyara (6.0 rebs in 20.7 mins) and Eric Camson (7.6 rebs in 23.1 mins) standing across the court though, they may be in for a rough day.
  • Adamson's point guard position has to worry fans of the Soaring Falcons, as they are going from Jerick Canada and Lester Alvarez to...Ryan Monteclaro. The team is also hoping that Jericho Cruz, who is more of a wingman, can be converted to play the position. 

UPHSD Altas vs ADMU Blue Eagles
  • This should be the debut of new head coach Aric del Rosario for the Altas. It'll be interesting to see if he has done anything drastic to their playing style. 
  • The Altas should have some added size in foreign center Femi Babayemi and former Junior Alta Eugene Canuza. Would those two be enough to stop the giants on Ateneo, especially Greg Slaughter? 
  • I wasn't a big fan of the starting five Ateneo put out versus Letran - Slaughter, Golla, Sumalinog, Ravena, Tiongson. The offense took a while to get going, and it seems like Sumalinog still has not rediscovered his shot. Salva presumably was nursing a minor injury, logging just nine minutes, which is why he didn't start. 
  • One thing Letran did that I presume the Altas will try, is to put a big guy with range on Slaughter, and then run plays on offense to free him up on the perimeter, daring Slaughter to chase him out to the arc. The Knights tried that with Junjun Alas, but he was unable to make Ateneo pay for leaving him open, missing all three of his triples. 
  • I thought it was clever of acting head coach Sandy A. to pair Buenafe up in the second unit with JP Erram and Tonino Gonzaga. Though the former Finals MVP has lost a lot of weight, he's still not quite in peak condition, but that's negated by Erram and Gonzaga, who are two athletic help defenders who can compensate for Buenafe losing his man.

 JRU Heavy Bombers vs EAC Generals
  • JRU relies on generating turnovers for turnover points for a large chunk of their offense. They got the tables turned on them in their debut against NU, as the Bulldogs forced 23 errors and scored 23 points off them. Meanwhile, the Bombers managed to force 16 turnovers, but could only score four points ,as the superior athleticism and speed of the Bulldogs allowed them to catch up and flash some impressive transition defense. 
  • While everyone on JRU had a bad outing, of note is the poor performance of John Villarias. The sophomore put up some nice numbers in his rookie year (10.7 points, 4.5 rebs, 2.6 asts, 1.2 stls) but he was a miserable 1-for-8 from the field for just two points in his 19 minutes of play. 
  • The EAC Generals might be even more of a perimeter-oriented team than last season, after losing their best post player, Claude Cubo (11.7 points, 7.3 rebounds), to graduation. Their remaining prospects at center don't exactly inspire confidence though. Rafael Sanchez (11.4 mins, 1.5 points, 2.4 rebs in NCAA S87) is the veteran, and they have two rookies in Jeff Mallari and Dominador Pillas, but their best bet might be foreign center Happi Noube, who had averages of 8.0 points and 7.7 rebounds in last year's FilOil tourney. 
  • While rosters are still in flux, it's worth noting that EAC did not list two of their main contributors from last season's campaign, Milan Vargas (8.5 points, 4.2 rebs) and Fil-Am Joshua Torralba (10.4 points, 3.6 rebs). Even without them though, they still have the likes of Jan Jamon (13.7 points, led the team in scoring in the NCAA), Remy Morada (5.1 points) and Franz Chiong (4.5 points), shooters will who will benefit from more touches.

SBC Red Lions vs UST Growling Tigers 
  • After conceding a 0-6 start to DLSU in their season opener, San Beda bounced right back scoring the first quarter's last 13 points, on route to a big lead, 49-34, headed into the final quarter. But they eased up on the gas a bit too early, allowing the Archers to claw back in the dying minutes, slicing the deficit to four, 67-63 with 16 seconds remaining. 
  • The team's surprise package was undersized scorer Ryusei Koga, who poured in eight points in 10 minutes on 4-of-7 shooting. He also chipped in three boards and two assists in limited minutes and so it'd be interesting to see if he can pull off similar production again. 
  • The Red Lions struggled on the perimeter, making just 4-of-11 from beyond the arc. Take away Anjo Caram's two late triples, and the rest of the team was a mere 2-of-9, with Julius Armon posting a 1-for-5 clip.
  • The Tigers return a mostly intact line-up, but their one loss is a big one, power forward Chris Camus (7.27 points, 7.67 rebs, 1.47 asts, 1.13 stls, 1.53 blks), who was their best defender last season. Guys like Melo Afuang and Karim Abdul will have to do a better job on the boards to compensate for his absence. 
  • The return of Clark Bautista and Aljon Mariano will definitely help a bench unit that averaged just 19.27 points last UAAP season. If Louie Vigil and Kim Lo continue to make strides as well, then UST will be a tougher team to tangle with.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Saturday, April 14, 2012

FilOil Random Thoughts - Gameday April 14, 2012

  • Ateneo lost three of their four best perimeter defenders to graduation, Kirk Long, Emman Monfort and Bacon Austria. Their ability to stop trigger-happy guards immediately gets tested as they go up against the likes of Mark Cruz, Kevin Alas, and Kevin Racal. Can Juami Tiongson, Kiefer Ravena, Tonino Gonzaga, and new Eagles Kiefer Lim and Nico Elorde pick up the slack?
  • That said, Kevin Alas is still questionable for today's game. 

    • The Greg Slaughter (13.3 points, 9.1 rebounds, 1.9 blocks) - Raymond Almazan (7.1 points, 9.8 rebounds, 2.6 blocks) match-up could decide the game. If Slaughter gets into attack mode early and gets Almazan into foul trouble, that opens up the interior for Ateneo's slashers. 
    • Another intriguing match-up will be Nico Salva (13.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 47.15% FG shooting) against Jam Cortes (12.2 points, 10.1 rebounds, 49.48% FG shoting). Salva will drag Cortes to the perimeter, where he's got the advantage, but on the flipside, Cortes can punish Salva by backing him into the post. 
    • Ateneo has a hard time with physical defenses, as seen in their struggles against San Sebastian in the PCCL. Letran plays a similar kind of defense, though they do not have an all-around Calvin Abueva type who can stop multiple positions. Time to see if the Eagles have learned from that thrashing. 

    SBC vs DLSU
    • Player most likely to excel under new head coach Ronnie Magsanoc: Baser Amer (18.5 minutes, 7.0 points, 3.4 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 0.9 steals). Amer had a hard time adjusting to then-head coach Frankie Lim's system, which saw him constantly checking over his shoulder to see what play he needed to run on that specific possession. If Magsanoc is more willing to let Amer get creative and run wild, he could put up near his high school numbers average of 11.7 assists
    • Player most likely to excel under new head coach Gee Abanilla: Joshua Webb (9.6 minutes, 3.5 points, 1.5 rebounds, 0.6 assists). Last season saw Webb post his worst numbers since his rookie year, as then-head coach Dindo Pumaren buried him on the bench. We saw glimpses of this already in the PCCL, when the Archers turned Webb loose, allowing him to post several double-digit scoring games  (13.75 points through 4 games. When they got knocked out versus Letran, he tellingly only tallied 6 markers). Webb in transition and coming off the weak side is tons better than the catch-and-shoot Webb we saw in Season 74
    • The last time these two teams played, San Beda needed a game-winner by Garvo Lanete to come out on top, 70-68.
    • No Arnold Van Opstal for La Salle, as he's still nursing an injury. That leaves Norbert Torres, Papot Paredes, Yutien Andrada, Jovet Mendoza and Ponso Gotladera to go up against Ola Adeogun. 

    • Intriguing rookie match-up: Julius Armon versus Jeron Teng. Of course, Armon has several years on Teng, plus experience playing in the Fr. Martin Cup, while Teng is fresh from high school, though to his credit, he has played in international competition. Still, Armon is much more of a polished product at this point than Teng that this could get out of hand should they face off one-on-one. 

    NU vs JRU
    • The last time these two teams played, it was in the PCCL and a Bobby Ray Parks-less NU team fell 66-62 to a complete JRU squad.
    • NU's biggest weakness, an average of 19.14 turnovers per game, happens to be JRU's strength, 21.58 turnovers forced for 18.37 turnover points. If the Heavy Bombers defense can disrupt the undersized NU point guards, Cedrick Labing-isa, Robin Rono, Gelo Alolino, and rookie JJ Alejandro, this could be a long game for the Bulldogs
    • Intriguing match-up: John Villarias (10.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.2 steals) versus Bobby Ray Parks (20.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.1 steals).

    Friday, April 13, 2012

    FilOil 2012 Rosters

    These are the rosters as of April 13, 2012. Yet to submit are FEU, JRU and NU. These are courtesy of

    FilOil Preseason Tournament Rosters

    Wednesday, April 4, 2012

    10 Must-Watch FilOil Games

    Arranged in chronological order, here are my picks for 10 must-watch Fil-Oil games, featuring rivalries, storylines, player match-ups, and of course, Ateneo versus La Salle-ness.

    1. April 14 - 4pm - Group A: SBC Red Lions vs DLSU Green Archers
    Of all the opening day games, this is the most intriguing because these two marquee teams underwent a ton of offseason changes. Both will have new coaches, Ronnie Magsanoc for San Beda, and Gee Abanilla for DLSU, and both will parade some fresh new line-ups, most notably two guys with huge star potential, Julius Armon and Jeron Teng, respectively. When they played each other last year, it was a close affair, with San Beda banking on superior end-game execution late to edge La Salle 70-68. Will that be the case this year? We'll find out soon enough.

    2. April 21 - 3:30pm - Group A: SBC Red Lions vs ADMU Blue Eagles
    When these two teams met last season, it was Kiefer Ravena's grand debut, then the second time, it was the Eagles' coronation night, as they won their first FilOil title. Toss in the fact that once again, these two squads are the defending champions of their respective leagues, and the whole Semerads defection/hijacking (depending on which side you're from) issue, and this is a must-watch game.

    3. April 27 - 1:45pm - Group B: SSCR Golden Stags vs NU Bulldogs
    Ask Bobby Ray Parks what aspect of the game he was most unready for in the UAAP and he'll tell you it was the physicality that he was least prepared for. Again, this was in the UAAP. Now he'll be up against probably one of the most physical teams ever, the reigning PCCL champs. And while the Stags don't have nearly the deep line-up that NU will be parading, they will have Calvin Abueva and Ian Sangalang, two guys who could probably go toe-to-toe against Parks and Emmanuel Mbe, and even come out on top.

    4. April 28 - 1:45pm - Group B: ADU Falcons vs FEU Tamaraws
    Two teams that always bring it that will come out with revamped rosters. We'll find out how Adamson will look like minus the dynamic point guard duo of Jerick Canada and Lester Alvarez, while on the flip side, we'll also get a glimpse of how FEU defends without Aldrech Ramos patrolling the paint. And more importantly, whether or not these two squads are still Final Four contenders.

    5. May 4 - 3:30pm - Group B: FEU Tamaraws vs SSCR Golden Stags
    A battle between the two bridesmaids in their respective leagues last season, it will also be a contrast in styles, as FEU will try to catch fire from long-range via RR Garcia and Terrence Romeo, while the Stags aim to dominate the shaded area with Abueva and Sangalang. Most intriguing side story? The Bringas brothers playing against Baste, as Arvie (the younger) was a high school standout there, while Mark (the elder) had a cup of tea with the Stags in NCAA Season 84 before transferring to FEU.

    6. May 5 - 3:30pm - Group A: DLSU Green Archers vs UST Growling Tigers
    It'll be brother versus brother when Jeron Teng faces off against Jeric Teng, with the two likely guarding each other in the process. Also, an underrated plot line: two Petron Blaze Bosters assistants going up against each other in Abanilla versus Pido Jarencio.

    7. May 16 - 1:45pm - Group B: EAC Generals vs AU Chiefs
    With the NCAA looking to impose a ban on foreigners a few seasons down the road, Fil-foreigners might become the thing, and these two squads have a headstart on it, with EAC tapping Joshua Torralba and Igee King last season, and AU revamping its roster to feature AJ Serjue and James Forrester. If the rest of their respective squads click, either could wind up as a dark horse in their mother league. This game could be a good gauge of that aforementioned "clicking."

    8. May 23 - 1:45pm - Group B: FEU Tamaraws vs AU Chiefs
    Oh look, an old friend for Far Eastern. Former championship-winning FEU coach Koy Banal will play across the Tamaraws this time, backed up by his new squad, the Arellano University Chiefs. Not only is AU's coach new, their squad looks a lot different, what with Gerald Lapuz and Andrian Celada out, and some Fil-for blood injected. Bert Flores going up against his old mentor will definitely be worth watching, along with a RR Garcia-Vergel Zulueta scorers' duel.

    9. June 2 - 11:30am - Group A: SBC Red Lions vs CSJL Knights
    A likely NCAA Finals preview, San Beda has added motivation coming into this game, as Letran is the school that was the biggest advocate of eliminating foreign players. Meanwhile the host school Letran will be looking to kick off their hosting stint with a bang by declawing the defending champs. Warning: this game WILL get physical.

    10. June 2 - 4pm - Group A: ADMU Blue Eagles vs DLSU Green Archers
    On one hand, La Salle is 4-0 against Ateneo in the FilOil. On the other hand, in those four years, Ateneo has always wound up raising the UAAP trophy a few months later. Trend, omen, or coincidence? Whatever it is, this is definitely a must-watch game. As if I needed to tell you that!

    2012 FilOil Schedule

    This is the schedule for the 2012 FilOil Flying V Hanes Preseason Cup, as of April 4. As is usually the case, expect certain playdates to change because of things like, the date of teams' overseas training changing, PBA-DL conflicts, Fr. Martin Cup conflicts, etc. etc.

    All 18 UAAP and NCAA teams will be participating this year, as opposed to last season when Perpetual Help went into hiding. Teams can field foreign students, but only one per team on the court, and the big twist is that everyone in the line-up has to be eligible for their upcoming home league season. Can't field all your just-about-to-start residency players this time.

    FilOil Schedule - April 4, 2012