Asian Hospital, Muntinlupa
July 6, 2014
UAAP Season 77 Preview (UP, Adamson)
(First of a series)
On this quiet Sunday afternoon, I was sitting somewhere down the parking lot of this hospital, waiting for my wife who was up there visiting a relative who had undergone an operation to remove a gall stone. With nothing to do, I day-dreamed. It was actually about the UAAP, which will usher in its Season 77 on July 12 at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum. You see, I was wondering about its opening day production number and how it will fare against the NCAA’s own opening show last June 28. If you haven’t seen the NCAA opening number prepared by host Jose Rizal, it was a spectacle. That’s why I’m shivering in anticipation on how University of the East, the UAAP host, will perform.
But this is about basketball. And Sportsmaryosep will talk about basketball. As per year tradition, Sportsmaryosep has written previews not just of the NCAA but the UAAP as well. And this year is no different. Of course, this will not be possible without our resident fortune teller-cum-basketball forecaster Madam Auring. So here goes.
University of the Philippines
2013 placing and elims record: Eight and dead last, 0-14.
Coach: Rey Madrid
Players: Henry Asilum, Miggy Reyes, Jarell Lim, Kyles Lao, Dave Moralde, Diego Dario, Agustini Amar, Moriah Gingerich, Jose Escalambre, Maerk Juruena, Joseph Rey Gallarza, Gelo Vito, Andrew Michael Harris, Darwish Vince Bederi, Martin Pascual, Nhomer Gonzales
Why it would win?
The Maroons have found stability by finally answering questions on who will coach them this season with the promotion of Rey Madrid from interim to head coach. As we all know, Madrid took over from Ricky Dandan in August last year. Another factor, former starting point guard Miggy Reyes is back after a spat with Dandan a year ago. Former national team mainstay and Xavier hotshot Kyles Lao should play inspired basketball in Season 77 after emerging as last season’s Rookie of the Year. There are some good recruits too, one of them is big boy Gelo Vito of La Salle-Greenhills. Vito, Lao and Henry Asilum will thus reunite being former teammates of the Energen Pilipinas team coached by Olsen Racela. Based on reports, the Maroons are doing good in Taiwan. So everything looks promising for UP for now.
Why it would not?
Coming off a turbulent season where UP lost every single one of its games, it’s hard not to be pessimistic. Aside from the aforementioned, Moriah Gingerich, Mark Juruena and Joseph Rey Gallarza are among the remnants of last year’s squad, but they will need to play bigger to avoid another embarrassing season.
Madam Auring: If someone like Dan Palami joins the team, something is cooking. As you all know, Palami is the manager of the Phl Azkals team composed of a bunch of Fil-foreign booters headed by Phl soccer demi-gods Phil and James Younghusband. And he is managing the Maroons now. When interviewed on television just recently, he said they hope to win at least three games. If that’s the case, Palami should be Tom Cruise and the Maroons his movie titled “Mission Impossible.”
2013 placing and elims record: Seventh, 4-10
Coach: Kenneth Duremdes
Players: Matthew Aquino, Alexis Barrera, John Kevin Baytan, Harold Butron, Francis Donahue, John Ray Gumtang, Alejandro Inigo, Ryan Monteclaro, Joseph Nalos, Dawn Ochea, William Polican, Jansen Rios, Celedonio Trollano, Jr., Ivan Villanueva
Why it would win?
I guess you’re introduced to Kenneth Duremdes already. If not, try Google. Better, ask the closest barber in your neighborhood. Or the plumber in the office building. They know. They will tell you though about Captain Marbel’s exploits as a player. But as a coach, he’s a newbie venturing into the coaching abyss. Ryan Monteclaro, Jansen Rios and Celedonio Trollano, Jr. are familiar names so expect them to dominate the stat sheets the rest of the year. The rest are practically virtual unknowns. Unless you count in this kid named Dawn Ochea, a Sacred Heart of Ateneo-Cebu product who helped Central Visayas win the Palarong Pambansa gold medal two years ago and currently a member of the Phl youth team competing in the FIBA-Asia Under-18 Championship in Dubai late August. And then zip. Hello twilight zone.
Why it would not?
Did I already mention the word unkown? Or lack of experience? Or absence of go-to-guy? Or the best player in the team is your coach? I rest my case.
Madam Auring: Someone whispered to me that the Maroons are the Mapua Cardinals of the NCAA. But I slapped them in the face and screamed my lungs out that they’re wrong. It’s somewhere nearer. Try San Marcelino in Manila.
(To be continued)
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(Photos courtesy of interaksyon.com, gmanews.tv and UE)