The Green Archers’ preseason tournament finish was a pleasant surprise

The Filoil Flying V preseason tournament is a very good preparatory venue for a college basketball team. The coaches and the players derive a lot of benefits from participating.

First of all, it’s a tournament. It’s not a scrimmage. All who understand sports know that competition is a lot different from practice. People watch you. Competing for school pride is still there. Games are televised. Goons like us watch it (as if that isn’t enough pressure already. Hahahaha.) Something is at stake.

I joke about the goons, but there are. And some bad ones too. Again their focus is more on winning rather than evaluating. And here lies the pressure.

Well let’s not dwell on them or their toxicity just yet. After all, it still isn’t the UAAP. Not yet.

Let’s put a positive spin on their toxic comments instead. Remember, the focus is on evaluation. Their comments actually help. Dig deep and there are some points to consider there.

But first thing’s first. Let us congratulate our team and the coaching staff. Hey, the goons said this team wouldn’t amount to anything but guess what? We competed for the title. The title game goons. Hahahaha.

But again, this was gravy. The meat and potatoes being evaluation of the team, it’s performance, it’s composition, and the results.

Our team right now, is a fast team. It is basically four midgets (no offense to the vertically challenged. Really.), and one giant. Sometimes two giants are used in stretches. Basically, we are The Kingdom of Lilliput. The Lilliput Green Archers. Bagay. Hahahaha.

Gulliver is very good. His name is Justin Baltazar. Well, he was named MVP of the tournament. Some adjustments are necessary in his game, but basically, no major overhauls are needed.

His understudy, Brandon Bates, is improving. Those who expect him to be an offensive threat like Balti, is off his rockers. His main role is to rebound, box out, block shots, screen, do the dirty jobs, and occasionally score when he is free. And of course, since we don’t have an import this year, our main heavy body to push the imports away.

Our main man Aljun Melecio, leads the first five. The leader of our second team is now Encho Serrano. These two are actually part of our finishing five. I won’t have to elaborate what these two bring to the team. You all know what they can do, but summed up in one word. In whatever style they do it, they score.

Our third scorer is Andrei Caracut. He us now free of point guard chores, with a slew of point guards that we have.

Foremost among our recruits is Joel Cagulangan. Remember him as the main man of La Salle Greenhills champion team, and the former UP recruit who was already practicing for them (really goons? HAHAHAHA). You can see that he will be the premier point guard of the team in the future. He is more of our creative point guard. Great nose for the ball.

Our main point guards, however, are Bartlett/Lojera. What rocks of point guards!!! In the LPU game for instance, three guys couldn’t trap them. Very strong bodies, pesky defenders, three point shooter in Bartlett and slasher in Lojera. All what a point guards are supposed to be. We are excellent in the point guard slot.

Because of them, Aljun and Andrei can slide in and out of the 1-2 slots easily and concentrate on scoring. And because of these four, our press defense is once again deadly.

Then, we have a stabilizer. Ralph Cu. Very intelligent. Uses his wide body well. Good outside shooter to bring out a stretch four. Basically, only one problem. Undersized.

And here lies the team imbalance. Undersized at 3 and 4. Christian Manaytay could have been it. But he lacks body mass and is not a banger. Joaqui Manuel is, but at 6-3, undersized, slow footspeed, and still some body fat, he is still struggling inside. Has a decent outside shot but he is more effective on a kick out pass, and set shot. Doesn’t have a jump shot. Very intelligent player though. So he has a place on this team.

Off the bench players, David, Bonggay, Donn Lim, Escander, and Gabe Capacio are good. They are good enough to make the team. So consistency is key for them to stay on the A team.

So size at 3-4 is our concern. Evident in our last two games. In the LPU game, we ran Justin Baltazar. Without Nzuezu, LPU is a mirror team. They couldn’t slow the game down, because they didn’t have their main middleman and rim protector. But since we ran ours, we also didn’t have one. So it was lay up after lay up after lay up. For both teams.

San Beda is a different animal. They also ran with us in the first half. We won that. Then came the second half. They changed. They slowed the game down and gave the ball to Tankoua. We have no one to contain bulldozers and he was one. Once his game was established, their shooters took over. And on defense, they employed a box and one concentrating on one. Aljun Melecio. And since they were big on the 3-5 spots, they can recover on Balti and Encho on defense.

So, height and heft at 3-4 is our improvement area. Are we addressing this?

Apparently with a 6-5 filam named Singson and a 6-5 injured Tyrus Hill. I am very sure we will get a couple more bigs while waiting one year for our foreign player’s eligibility.

The coaching staff is also being evaluated but if you ask me, they did great. Imagine second place playing a security agency. Great performance guys

My one and only concern right now is chemistry with the recruits who did not play in the preseason tournaments. Remember, the task is to build a team, not to find giants. But we do need giants to help the team. And it looks like we can find them. Let’s just hope they blend with the team.

We know what to do. Let’s do it. We know what we need. Let’s get them. Then just hope for the best. That’s all we can do at this point.

But really. Our team as it is right now? What a pleasant surprise! Hello to the Goons! Animo!

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