The Arena, San Juan City
May 1, 2013
It came a day late. But as they say, better late than never.
So its Labor Day. I’m somewhere in Pinaglabanan, San Juan. For others, its a holiday. But for Sportsmaryosep, its work as usual. I get to see three games of basketball. Southwestern U versus Emilio Aguinaldo. San Sebastian versus University of the East. Far Eastern U vs National U. Its basketball nirvana on Labor Day.
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It started with the Cobras beating the Generals. 80-75.
Cameroonian behemoth Landry Sanjo was litterally a…MONSTER. No racial slur intended. 23 points. 16 rebounds. Five blocks. If these numbers aren’t impressive, I don’t know what is. The next Ben Mbala perhaps?
There’s this Fil-Canadian guy who had 16 points he highlighted with four booming triples. His name is Adam Mohammed. No disrespect, someone whispered to me that he is a allegedly a friend of Anthony Hargrove of FEU. You know what happened before that right? Read the news and someone, somewhere got HIGH.
It’s a fun game yes but the best part was when three unsportsmanlike fouls were called in the first quarter. I was expected a full-blown fight when it happened. But nothing really significant happened except the Cebu collegiate champions won and the Generals were…to put it in perspective, DEMOTED.
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Let’s talk about the Stags and the Warriors.
For the first time, I saw San Sebastian play. Although Topex Robinson is back as coach after resigning midway in last NCAA season, the Stags are no longer the title-contender that they once were. The Big Three are all gone. No more Calvin Abueva. Nor Ian Sangalang. Ronald Pascual is gone too. Its a brand new San Sebastian team. But after pulling the rug from the fancied UE side, 89-87, in overtime, Robinson and his guys made a believer out of many people, including Sportsmaryosep.
Aside from Jovit dela Cruz, who was one of the few remnants of San Sebastian’s past teams, I see some guys stepping up in place of the Big Three. Jaymark Perez, a Fil-Nigerian born in Hong Kong and eventually relocated in Bautista, Pangasinan where he has been living for 16 years now, stood out the most by finishing with 20 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists, two steals and two blocks. He had six turnovers but his all around play all but erased it. He’s shorter and thinner, but this early, he’s being heralded as the next Abueva. The Beast 2.0? We’ll see.
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Leo De Vera, a Fil-Am from San Fernando Valley, California, is another impressive presence. If he could finish with 20 points, eight rebounds, six steals, four assists and a block against a taller, bigger UE side, he must be good. And oh, did I tell you he had five triples including four in the fourth quarter of regulation?
As for UE, I will not be surprised if it makes the Final Four in this coming UAAP cage wars with Roy Sumang evolving to a star that he is now and Sierra Leone’s Charles Mammie imposing his will inside. Although the Warriors lost, I got to give it to coach Boycie Zamar for transforming this team to a legitimate title contender.
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The NU-FEU finale was the most entertaining game of the three. Why? It’s because I’ve learned 10 things from this showdown.
10. Unless he breaks a leg or suffers a bleeding scrotum similar to Junmar Fajardo (knock on wood), Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. will win his third straight UAAP MVP.
9. Terrence Romeo and RR Garcia no longer exclusively own the right to shoot from beyond the arc.
8. Anyone in FEU uniform except perhaps Hargrove has the license to shoot if free.
7. Alfred Aroga is better than Emmanuel Mbe.
6. The Tams will need a fit and ready Hargrove to contend.
5. FEU will need another big man aside from Hargrove. Hello Arvie Bringas?
4. Former Energen boy Jj Alejandro is as good as advertised and can be a good running partner of Parks.
3. Jeth Rosario is a solid big man but he doesn’t answer NU’s prayers.
2. Nash Racela will have a chance to win a collegiate championship if given the right players.
1. There’s no truth to the rumor that Vice Ganda is the Tams’ team manager.
Follow Sportsmaryosep at Twitter: @JoeySVillar