NCAA Season 90 Preview Part Two (AU, LP, EAC)

Jose Rizal U Campus
June 23, 2014
NCAA Season 90 Preview Part Two (AU, Lyceum, EAC)
(Second of a series)

On this busy, rainy Monday, Sportsmaryosep ran into NCAA Management Committee chair Paul Supan of Season 90 host Jose Rizal and told us about his reaction to the first part of our preview (Here it is: https://sportsmaryosep.wordpress.com/2014/06/21/ncaa-season-90-preview-part-1/). He was obviously happy with our preview of the Bombers. Like us, his favorite hero is Jose Rizal. As always, the perky Supan is optimistic while remaining humble of his team’s chances. That’s the spirit.
After previewing Mapua, St. Benilde and Jose Rizal in Part One of our Madam Auring-assisted piece a couple of days ago, we’re back with Part Two. And we’ll start with…

Arellano U

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Last year’s placing and record: (7th, 8-10)
Coach: Jerry Codinera
Players: Keith Agovido, Nichole Bangga, Julius Cadavis, Prince Caperal, Isiah Ciriacruz, Allen Enriquez, Donald Gumaru, Levi Hernandez, Dioncee Holts, Jiovani Jalalon, Zachary Nicholls, David Ortega, Christian Palma, John Pinto, Ralph Salcedo
Why it would win?
The Chiefs will parade an almost intact line up, a new coach who is a former PBA superstar, two talented Fil-Ams and a talented returnee who was part of the team’s earlier years in the league. Agovida, Bangga, Cadavis, Caperal, Hernandez, Salcedo, Nicholls and Pinto are all returning this year and should enter this year as seasoned veterans. Codinera, known in his heydays as “The Defense Minister” should be an asset as he vowed to preach the thing he was known for–defense. Fil-Ams Holts and Ortega should contribute significantly in the campaign and their presence should also fill the void left by Fil-Canadians James Forrester and AJ Serjue. Arellano U’s prodigal son after being part of the school’s first two seasons in the NCAA, Ciriacruz, is back after a three year hiatus. All this, if translated into good, solid play on the basketball court, should spell success for the Chiefs. Perhaps Final Four.
Why it would not?
One of the problems of the Chiefs last year is the lack of a legitimate go-to-guy and the lack of offense. They have many weapons this season but most of them are still unproven. Codinera is still untested as a coach. Their bigs headed by the troika of Caperal, Bangga and Cadavis are still softer, smaller and a step too slow for the Adeoguns and Happis of the league. These are all recipes for disaster if at least two of these factors will not be addressed.
Madam Auring: I see Arellano U as a legitimate Final Four candidate. If the Chiefs will believe in the system that Codinera is espousing, it will be easy for them to make the post-season cut. And oh, I have a feeling they will be inspired after the school was recently elevated to regular member status early this year.

Lyceum

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Last year’s placing and record: (6th, 8-10)
Coach: Bonnie Tan
Players: Wilson Baltazar, Jebb Bulawan, Seraj Elmejrab, Joseph Gabayni, Shane Ko, Tirso Lesmoras, Rhoel Maconocido, Allyn Malabanan, Essono Mbida, Issah Mbomiko, Christian Paul Pamulaklakin, Paul Soliman, Jeremiah Taladua, Dexter Zamora
Why it would win?
I always like Lyceum’s physicality and rugged-playing and if used wisely without the hot-headedness and dirty plays, should translate to victories. Their guard combo of Ko, Taladua and Zamora are also impressive. The Pirates have also invested on recruiting foreign reinforcements, adding Libyan Elmejrab and Cameroonian Mbida to the fold as primary help to small but fiesty Mbomiko also of Cameroon. Bonnie Tan is also a student of the preachings of defense as the key to everything. I’m excited already seeing the Pirates of the Carribean, I mean Intramuros, play.
Why it would not?
As I’ve said, if Lyceum goes overboard by playing dirty, it will all backfire on their faces. The lack of bench support will also be critical. Mbomiko should also get less minutes with two more imports coming in, which will mean Lyceum will miss some of his hustle and aggressive play when he’s inside the court. It’s also bad news that their team captain, John Azores, was stricken off the list because he didn’t pass eligibility. His big man minutes will be missed greatly.
Madam Auring: I love the way Bonnie Tan coaches. Perhaps he’s the disciple of Alfrancis Chua, who in turn learned from Joe Lipa, or Pongalangala to his close friends and The Nose to his foes. Barring major injuries, I see Lyceum finishing not less than what it played last year and it will not be a surprise at all if it barges into the Final Four.

Emilio Aguinaldo

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Last year’s placing and record: fifth, 10-8
Coach: Gerry Esplana
Players: Ariel Aguilar, Jack Arquero, Jozhua General, Noube Happi, Al Rashid Indin, Igee King, Jan Jamon, Christ Mejos, Sidney Onwubere, Faustine Pascual, Mannelle Quilanta, Edsel Saluda, John Santos, Jerald Serrano, John Tayongtong
Why it would it win?
For the record, Sportsmaryosep predicted EAC to make the Final Four last year. And the Generals almost did by coming one win away from gatecrashing into the Final Four. This year, we will stick to our guns. And we will count the ways. One, there is Happi, who is the only one who can guard San Beda’s Nigerian behemoth Ola Adeogun one on one if he is up to it. Second, EAC has an intact roster. I mean intact to the point that 10 of its 15-man lineup are coming back. Third, Esplana has the acumen of a great coach being a point guard himself. Last but not least, like Lyceum, EAC has a defensive mentality that could lead to success.
Why it would not?
The reason why EAC failed to meet expectations was becuase of Happi underperforming. This will be the same reason for the Generals’ potential downfall this year.
Madam Auring: If you have a Happi and this rookie named Joshua General, what could go wrong? Add the two and a letter s and you have Happi Generals. Ain’t it sweet?
(To be continued…)
Follow Sportsmaryosep on Twitter: @JoeySVillar

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(Photos courtesy of ncaa.org.ph and Filoil Flying V)

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