Here it goes! With the Season 72 just around the corner, it’s time to make a calculated guess on what the outcome will be. There is no formula to determine the outcome but it is just so much fun to give an opinion.
The Bulldogs are nowhere near the level of players they had last season. With Asoro, Aguilar and Jahnke gone, they just don’t have the pieces to match up against the other teams. I have always liked the underdog and NU has always been just that. They may just win one game and that is if they are really lucky. Even with the backing of the Sy family, NU is still not the primary destination of prized rookies. It will take at least 2 seasons to make them as strong as their teams of the last 3 years.
Projected record: 1 – 13
University of Santo Tomas:
It’s not going to be easy for the Growling Tigers to replace Jervy Cruz. A player (especially a center) of his caliber comes few and far between. Add to that the loss of the experience and leadership of Japs Cuan and what you have is a UST team that is definitely rebuilding. Dylan Ababou and Kasim Mirza will have to play a notch or 2 higher that what they have done in the past for UST to make an impact this year. Last season, even with an almost intact line-up from their last championship, UST failed to even make the Final Four. It looks like another grim year for them this season.
Projected record: 4 – 10
University of the Philippines:
The Fighting Maroons will definitely be better than they were the last two seasons. Coach Aboy Castro has done a great job in improving their defense. They will no longer be the team that other schools will consider sure wins. What they lack is height and consistency. They need to come to the floor and play solid basketball for four quarters. Barganza, Gamboa and Woody Co need to provide the leadership by example.
Projected record: 6 – 8
The Falcons will surely be in the thick of the battle for a slot in the Final Four. They showed their mettle in the summer leagues by beating top tier teams. Leo Austria is a very good coach and if his players respond, then they are capable of beating any team in the league. The downside of Adamson has always been their ability to perform in the big stage that is the UAAP. It always seems that playing in front of a big crowd intimidates the Falcons. Players like Galinato, Cañada, Canuday and Colina have to be consistent and unintimidated.
Projected record: 7 – 7
De La Salle University:
This may be the most difficult year for the Green Archers to grab a slot in the Final Four. They do not have a consistent go-to guy like they have had in previous years. A lot will depend on how their rookies and veterans jell. Hampered by injuries and other unfortunate events that have sidelined many of its players, La Salle will have to be in peak form every game. Barua, Mangahas and Atkins will have to carry the cudgels for the Green Archers. La Salle will win games because of their trademark Franz Pumaren defense. If they can match their defensive tenacity with a balanced offensive game, then they may just make the Final Four. They don’t need big games from 1 or 2 players. What they need is a balance point production from 4 or 5 players.
Projected record: 7 – 7
University of the East:
The Red Warriors may be the sleeper this season. Most pundits are picking FEU and Ateneo to end up in the Finals. However, with a core group of Espiritu, Llagas, Lingganay, Zamar and most especially Paul Lee, this team may be more than capable of matching up against the best teams. They have the talent and experience that will make them a solid contender. Too bad that James Martinez has been sidelined with an injury as that would have made them even stronger. New coach Lawrence Chongson has the parts to win. It’s now or never for the Red Warriors.
Projected record: 10 –4
Ateneo de Manila University:
The Blue Eagles will surely go all out to defend their title. They have a solid frontline with Al-Hussaini , Buenafe and Baclao. Salamat and Reyes form a very potent backcourt combo. The question for the Blue Eagles is how their bench will fare. So far Kirk Long has not made an impact on the team. Can Chua and Burke come in and give productive minutes? The loss of Baldos will also significantly affect their bench. Will the absence of the leadership of Chris Tiu change the complexion of this team? Coach Norman Black is a great tactician and their extensive off-season training will surely make this team a top contender.
Projected record: 10 – 4
Far Eastern University:
The Tamaraws are ripe for a championship. With a core of Smart Gilas Team members in Barroca, Cawaling and Ramos leading the charge, FEU will be the measuring stick of Season 72. Cervantes and Ramos will be a formidable frontline. Barroca and Knuttel may just be the best backcourt combination in the league. Sanga and Nondou can likewise be major contributors to their title run. Coach Glen Capacio is an extremely talented coach who can take this team to the championship which is something Mr. Anton Montinola would love to have in the year that FEU is the host school.
Projected record: 11 – 3
I’ll go out on a limb here and forecast an FEU – UE finals, with FEU winning the championship.
Tony Atayde (LSGH70/DLSC 75) is a writer for www.inboundpass.com. Very Opinionated. Very Green. Hate him. Love Him. It does not matter and he does not care. A Howard Stern in cyberspace. He bleeds Green, He is purely from La Salle.