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.