Manila Post Office
July 10, 2014
UAAP Season 77 Preview Final Part (UST, La Salle)
I’m a firm believer that things happen for a reason.
So when La Salle beat University of Santo Tomas in Game Three of that epic UAAP title series last year, I thought the Archers are meant to be champions. Nevermind that Aljon Mariano was heavily criticized for blowing up what could have been a championship for the Tigers. I just thought that it’s probably meant to be.
Fast forward to present and we have Season 77, with La Salle having a chance to retain the title and Mariano and the Tigers seeking no less than redemption.
So here’s my final installment of this sleep-depriving, UTI (urinary tract infection)-inducing UAAP preview:
Last year’s placing and elims record: Second, 8-6
Coach: Bong dela Cruz
Players: Karim Abdul, Regie Boy Basibas, Ed Daquioag, Levi dela Cruz III, Jeepy Faundo, Alfren Gayosa, Kent Jefferson Lao, Kim Lo, Jan Cornelius Macasaet, Aljon Mariano, Paulo Pe, Raymart Angelo Sablan, Sheak Sheriff, Renz Subido, Louie Vigil
Why it would win?
Save for “The Gunslinger” Jeric Teng, the Tigers are a pretty intact roster. Getting former La Salle-Zobel hotshot Renz Subido should be a big plus to a team shallow at the point guard position. Subido should provide the scoring punch that last year’s starter Sheak Sheriff lacks. Mix the kid with a veteran core and UST should have another memorable run.
Why it would not?
Pido Jarencio gone is a big blow to the Tigers as well as sportswriters who are used to the customary dose of “Pido-isms.” But seriously, Jarencio’s successor, Bong dela Cruz, will have his hands full in at duplicating, if not surpassing, what the former has done. One championship and three finals appearances in seven seasons. That’s tough for the former Tigercub and Adamson Falcon. Fortunately for him, he inherited a battle-scarred core ready to do battle for him.
Madam Auring: One of these two things will happen this season–either Mariano stays traumatized by last year’s catastrophe or he bounces back from it with a banner year. But I wouldn’t count for both if I were you because I’m putting my money on Kevin Ferrer coming with a career season.
Last year’s placing and elims record: Champion, 10-4
Coach: Juno Sauler
Players: Yutien Andrada, Robert Bolick, Kib Montalbo, Lee terence Mustre, Jason Perkins, Prince Rivero, Matthew Salem, Julian Sargent, Jeron Teng, Norbert Torres, Thomas Torres, Abu Tratter, Arnold Van Opstal, Almond Vosotros
Why it would win?
Confidence brought by winning a championship is one. Jeron Teng two. Having a practically the same team as last year three. And last but not least, acquiring bluechip rookies in Terence Mustre, Prince Rivero and Julian Sargent.
Why it would not?
Usually, when you get to the peak of what you’ve long searched and strived hard for, complacency sometimes creeps in. And the Archers are no exception. One glaring example was La Salle’s Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup effort where they lost games to NCAA’s Perpetual Help and Jose Rizal in the group stages and almost did not make it to the playoff round. And though La Salle did and eventually beat San Beda and win the prestigious summer tournament, the indications of the potential to be complacent were there.
Madam Auring: La Salle is a shoe-in to the Final Four and nothing less of a disaster could stop it from making the finals where it could go all the way for a back-to-back crown.
Sportsmaryosep’s prognosis: Sorry UP and Adamson, you’re bound to occupy the last two slots. We see a six-team race by La Salle, UST, Ateneo, UE, NU and FEU. But since this is a forecast and anything can happen, we will make one. La Salle will top the eliminations followed by Ateneo and UE. A three-way tie for the fourth and last spot will ensue with UST eventually getting it. La Salle will need two games to finish off UST while UE will pull the rug from under twice-to-beat Ateneo. UE defies odds and shock La Salle via sweep in the finals. But it’s just me.
Follow Sportsmaryosep on Twitter: @JoeySVillar
(Photos courtesy of Paul Ryan Tan, La Salle and Filoil Flying V)