Season 91 Preview: Mapua, EAC, San Sebastian (Mercury Rising)

Mapua Campus
June 20, 2015
Season 91 Preview: Mapua, EAC, San Sebastian (Mercury Rising)

(First of a three-part series)
You probably had your basektball fix in the NBA Finals won by the Golden State Warriors against the clingy Cleveland Cavaliers. Clingy because they clung to LeBorn James too much that they were carried by King James like grocery bags.
I did.

ncaa logo
But basketball never stops because in a week, we’ll have another one via the 91st NCAA season slated on June 27 at the MOA Arena in Pasay City. As been Sportsmaryosep’s annual tradition, we’re back previewing it. And as always, our resident seer cum harbinger of doom cum palm reader Madam Auring will assist us. The process is I will say why a team will win or lose and then Madam Auring will do the forecasting. Any questions? None? None. So let’s proceed.
And we’ll start with last year’s doormat:

MAPUA
I’m sure the cliche “Nowhere to go but up” applies to the Cardinals. Why the hell not when Mapua, which happens to be this year’s gracious host, finished dead last in the past two seasons. Unless, of course, NCAA suddenly invents a place worse than the bottom. But kidding aside, Mapua’s team this year is nothing to joke about.
Why it would not win?
I’m a big fan of Atoy Co as a player. As a coach, I’m still somewhere in the crossroads after a pair of disappointing bottom fininishes. This year, the Fortune Cookie will have a lot to prove. And I’m rooting for his success. I’m not laying blame on coach Atoy on the failures of the last two seasons. But another disappointing performance this year would cement that belief. So this season is actually make or break personally for coach Atoy.

nimes,co
Why it would win?
Josan Nimes, Andretti Stevens and Mark Brana are back. Dikembe Mutombo is also playing for Cardinals. Well, it’s not actually the finger-wagging, not-in-my-house-blocking Mutombo, but a player who plays like one. His name is Allwell Oraeme. He breathes defense, eats defense and drinks defense. Like all the time. With Oraeme, Mapua takes care of the Ola Adeogun problem. So it’s all well for Mapua, right? Right. As for Nimes, he brings a shameless scorer that the team lacks the past two seasons. Nimes, if he wants to, has the ability to score in bunch in a spurt and could give the Cardinals somewhere around 15 to 20 points a game. Stevens, for his part, is defensive dynamo in the backcourt with some three-point shooting on the side. For those who know Brana, he will provide Oraeme another muscle inside and has this medium range jump shots to add to his arsenal. And I haven’t even mentioned CJ Isit, who has learned from last year’s tumultuous season and should be way better this year.
Madam Auring: Finally, Atoy Co is not the best player in Mapua anymore. So I see the Cardinals contentending for a Final Four slot. Seriously.

EAC
If there are two words that encapsulated EAC’s campaign last year, it’s John Tayongtong. For those who forgot, it was Tayongtong’s punch on Isit that triggered an ugly brawl that reached as far as Bleacher Report. In fairness to Tayongtong, he and Isit have already made amends and shook hands. So all is forgiven.

EAC-vs-Mapua-bench-clearing_03pionilla-copy1
Why it would not win?
Gerry Esplana is gone. Andy de Guzman comes in as his replacement. But coaching isn’t actually the problem. Manpower is. Cameroonian Happi Noubi has also left. The only familiar names in the team’s current fold is the tough hombre named Sydney Onwubere and the three-point-hoisting Jerald Serrano.
Why it would win?
Element of surprise. Im sure someone among the 15 players of EAC should emerge a star. Luck too. Other than that, it’s free for all. Oops. No free-for-all please.
Madam Auring: Hmmm. I’ll just borrow a famous line from the movie Hunger Games. May the odds be on your favor.

SAN SEBASTIAN
Rodney Santos is one of the best players San Sebastian has produced in the past. By bringing him in as Topex Robinson’s replacement, San Sebastian hopes to change its floudering fortunes.
Why it would not win?
Gone were the days when the Stags could outrun their foes in just one flick of a finger with Jovit dela Cruz, Jaymar Perez and Jon Kervin Ortuoste fuelling the machine. But dela Cruz and Perez have gone now, leaving Ortuoste to carry most of the load along with bruiser Bradwyn Guinto. For unknown reasons, Ranzelle Yong isn’t playing this year. Yong was the most promising rookies from last year’s crop and his production will be heavily missed.

guinto
Why it would win?
Thankfully, Guinto and Ortuoste stayed. Which means the Stags is expected to feed on the two, perhaps try to pick-and-roll their way to a bunch of points like John Stockton and Karl Malone. Their other reclamation projects–Michael Calisaan, Jerick Fabian and Ryan Castelo–could also use this year to blossom. So those are another pluses. And San Sebastian has a lot of basektball pride in it that I’m sure that alone would keep the team breathing and humming.
Madam Auring: I’m sure the coach then named “The Slasher” would like his team to be like him. Slash, slash and slash. If not, they could end up like splash, splash, splash.
To be continued…

Follow me on Twitter: @JoeySVillar
(Photos courtesy of spin.ph, philstar.com and tempo’s Tony Pionilla)

Here’s the NCAA Season 91 schedule:

Basketball Schedule 1 (1)Basketball Schedule 2 (2)

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