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Adamson Soaring Falcons: UAAP S78 Starter Pack



Let’s Rebuild Every Year!

UAAP Season 77
Record: 1-13 (8th)
Offense: 56.7 (8th)
Defense: 71.1 (7th)
Rebounds: 41.2 (6th)
Assists: 11.9 (7th)

Pomp and Circumstance:
Don Trollano, Jansen Rios, Ryan Monteclaro, Francis Donahue, Jessie Pedrosa, Alexis Barrea, Ryan Gumtang, Kevin Baytan, Harold Butron, Axel Inigo (transferred to FEU), Matt Aquino (transferred to NU)

Depth Chart:

Papi, Sarr (1st)Ochea, Dawn (3rd)Tungcab, JB (1st)Capote, Nico (1st)Nalos, Joseph (3rd)
Camacho, Simon (1st)Villanueva, Ivan (2nd)Margallo, Alwin (1st)Polican, William (2nd)Ng, Harold (1st)
Garcia, Cristian (2nd)Bernardo, Kristian (4th)Miranda, Ken (1st)Garcia, Jherome (2nd)Escalambre, Jose Carlo (1st)
Fernandez, Gerald (1st)

When Coach Kenneth Duremdes first decalred that UAAP 77 was going to be the first of a three-year rebuilding plan for the Falcons, the idea initially seen asa cop out – a ploy to hopefully keep his job secure for three years. It was like he was saying “we’re going to be terrible this year, and there’s nothing I cab do about it. It’s not my fault.” While it is true that last season’s iteration of the Adamson Falcons had the least talent since Leo Austria’a first season, it shouldn’t excuse Duremdes from actually putting in an effort coaching. To illustrate, this is how Duremdes talks to his players.

At least Matt Foley, motivational speaker, got some laughs. Duremdes basically spewed just three words during late game timeouts – a combination of “Puso”, “Laban”, and his choice of appropriate expletive. Not to mention his defensive scheme aka the “K-Zone”, which is Adamson just using a 2-3 zone the entire game, regardless if the other team had a great shooter.

“But Coach! JR Gallarza and Mikee Reyes are torching us from deep. Shouldn’t we at least stick a man on them so they can’t-“
“Hindeeeee! Zone defense lang tayo! Arhghrraaghrnjsa!!!”

Next thing you know, UP’s having a bonfire for their first win in two years and Adamsonians are begging Coach Leo to come back.

The Klasmeyts were dead last in every offensive and defensive category last season. Just read the recap their infamous game against the NU Bulldogs last season and you should get a clear vision of just how bad they were.

Their scoring mostly came from their senior duo of Don Trollano and Jansen Rios. Although they had their moments last season, AdU’s offensive didn’t necessarily put them in oppurtunned scoring positions. Ditto for AdU’s point guards – Axel Iñigo, Airo Nalos, and Ryan Monteclaro. All their bigs were young and either too flimsy to hang around the rim with UAAP’s brutes, or too big for their own good (looking at you Ivan).

There were a few bright spots last season. The Falcons took UST to the brink of an upset in both their meetings and, in the games Coach Kenneth missed, the Falcons ran a few quirky sets that loosened their offense.

Sadly, Duremdes’ exodus also meant additional casualties for the San Marcelino based sqaud. Aside from Trollano and Rios who just got drafted into the PBA, Axel Iñigo decided he had enough of the turmoil in Adamson and transfered to FEU to join his brother, while Matt Aquino took his long arms and baby giraffe-like running form to Sampaloc.

Adamson, still, is in a better place than they were last year. New head coach Mike Fermin vows that he’ll actually make adjustments this season and put an effort into a viable offensive and defensive system.

Fresh from the Baby Falcons’ program comes rookie combo-guard JD Tungcab. The UAAP Junior’s Mythical Five member put up glittery numbers in the FilOil preseason tournament. His mix of thoughtful play making and positional strength further combined with a heavier role in the offense compared to his fellow rookies makes him a dark-horse candidate for rookie of the year.

Returning point guard Airo Nalos showed that he can get to the rim consistently last season. However, the SWU transferee had trouble finishing plays, missing layups in traffic. Sophomore guard, William Polican was deadeye shooter but he had nothing else to offer. Tungcab can’t play all the guard minutes so, for one of these guys, the minutes are right of the taking should they show a well-rounded game.

The frontline is still razor thin. In his rookie season, Ivan Villanueva showed that the Belga similarities didn’t just end with his supreme girth. The former Letran squire had a quirky offensive game consisting of hook shots, floaters, and a notable outside touch. Ivan, also, had success in defending post-reliant dudes but his lack of length and verticality meant AdU had to play him with the gangly Aquino to have any sort of rim protection. Now without Aquino, it’ll be interesting to see how Coach Fermin jiggers his defensive scheme with Villanueva on the floor.

This year’s team captain, Dawn Ochea will most likely share the big man minutes with Villanueva and Papi, AdU’s African student-athlete. Ochea plays a lot like a poor man’s Eric Camson. He has Camson’s decision making in the post and a workable jumper. The Ateneo de Davao standout had the highest offensive rating on the tean last season but that’s a bit hard to read into since his team was a historically horrible on offense. Adamson needs Ochea to produce stuff they’ll see on the stats sheet. A 10 pts-7 rebs-3 asts line would be delicious for a team that ate ofd scraps last season. Ochea is not a versatile as Jansen Rios nor is he as offensively gifted as Don Trollano but he is quick enough to guard most UAAP wing players should teams go small on AdU. When Ochea came in two seasons ago, Leo Austria tagged him as a four-year project. Now in his third year, it’s high time Ochea starts to make a name for himself.

Gone are the days when Adamson had one of the deepest lineups in the league. Now, they’re thin upfront and loaded with potentially deadly guards. Asides from those mentioned before, former Baby Falcon, John Margallo is going to make his UAAP senior’s debut after a short stint with the Arellano Chiefs. Margallo was a beast in high school, putting a 40-10-10 game in a FilOil Juniors match.


So, as you can see, I’ve done my best to grasp the slippery straws that is the Adamson Falcons. Given their youth, sudden change in coaching, and lack of veteran leadership, odds are AdU will not win a game this season.

But, Adamson is not the only team going through transitional period this year. UE booted out all of its seniors and are at a nearly similar point with Adamson right now. UP, with its nth coaching change in n years, is still UP. Adamson has the quick guards to break a Pumaren press and a good head-to-head matchup with the Maroons. This is a stretch, but four wins is the absolute most Adamson can win this season.

Best case: 4-10
Worst case: 0-14

UAAP Season 78 Men’s Basketball Starter Pack
Let’s Rebuild Every Year!Taking Flight for One Last Time
Hauling the Best of the ClassOn the Verge
Underdogs Once AgainReplicating the House of Chaos
Kevin and Karim’s One Last ChanceThe Dark Horse
Filoil UP vs UST-2771uaap9
UAAP Season 78 Women’s Basketball Starter Pack
The Ultimate UAAP Season 78 Basketball First Round Schedule

Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.

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Calvin Abueva rejuvenated with return of physical play: ‘Masarap maglaro’



Photo by PBA Images

For Calvin Abueva, it feels great to play in the PBA nowadays.

The Beast, who has always been known as one of the league’s most physical players since entering in 2012, was all praises for the way the officiating has changed this 43rd season — by just letting all the players play.

“Mas gumanda yung tawagan ngayon, naging physical nga. Naging exciting para sa mga tao, mas marami na nanonood ngayon eh,” said Abueva moments after their 97-83 victory over the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, Sunday night.

As has been said many times, physicality had become something controlled over the last two years. Abueva knows it too well, having been a casualty, as he has paid a bevy of penalties during that time.

And now that it is a thing of the past, the 6-foot-2 bruiser feels much better, knowing that he can display his brand of basketball once more.

“Masarap maglaro, talagang pisikalan,” said the 29-year-old forward from Angeles, Pampanga. “Siyempre makikita naman natin kung sinasadya o hindi, basta katawan lang.

“Pisikal. Yun yung magandang laro di ba?”

Aside from the comeback of physicality, what makes Abueva beam even more is the way the Aces have been playing in the 2018 Philippine Cup. After a 0-2 start in the tourney, they have now booked their third straight win.

“Nung 2017 parang nilubog na namin yung losing streak namin doon. Ito 2018 na at panibagong destination na naman yung ina-ano namin,” said Abueva, who had nine points, nine rebounds, and five assists against Ginebra.

“Sustain muna namin ‘to… Sana magtuloy-tuloy ‘tong winning streak namin.”

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Alaska takes advantage of Greg Slaughter’s absence



For the streaking Alaska Aces, their stunning 97-83 victory over the favored Barangay Ginebra San Miguel on Sunday night was partly made possible by the absence of one key player: seven-foot behemoth Greg Slaughter.

The 28-year-old center, who was averaging 20.67 points and 10.3 rebounds prior to Sunday, did not play against the Aces due to a hamstring injury. How he incurred the injury has yet to be determined.

“There’s a small person named Greg Slaughter who didn’t play; I think he has an impact on the game,” quipped coach Alex Compton after the match.

“[They missed] a guy who I think is gonna win an MVP soon in Greg Slaughter.

“Sometimes dito sa liga natin, you have to take advantage when opportunities come your way. You don’t want anybody to get hurt [though],” added Compton.

With Slaughter out of the way, the Aces’ big men feasted.

Vic Manuel top-billed with 18 points and five rebounds, and elder statesman Sonny Thoss turned back the clock with a 17-point, four-rebound outing.

“Malaking bonus na rin sa amin, kasi wala nga si Greg kaya nakuha namin yung panalo,” said Manuel.

“Yeah it definitely helped,” added the six-foot-seven Thoss, who shot 6-of-12 from the floor and made four of his freebies.

“He’s a big guy, he’s a big presence inside so it took one big guy off our shoulder.”

Slaughter was approached and asked by scribes regarding his injury, but he was not in the mood to comment. No one can blame him, though, since the Barangay have slipped to their second straight defeat after a 2-0 start.

“I’m always there in practice, going over our gameplans. But it’s better if you ask our PT,” he said.

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Alaska completes turnaround at Greg Slaughter-less Ginebra’s expense



Photo by PBA Images

A strong second half surge was all the Alaska Aces needed to turn back the heavily-favored Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, 97-83, and book their third straight victory, Sunday night at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

The Aces, who have yet to lose this 2018, have now improved to 3-2. Meanwhile, the Barangay absorbed their second straight loss and have dropped to 2-2.

“I was telling the guys na parang ang dami nating iniisip, hindi natin ginagawa yung ginagawa natin noong nakaraang dalawang linggo. Sabi ko relax lang tayo,” said coach Alex Compton, sharing what he told his wards that sparked the win.

Vic Manuel led the Milkmen with 18 points and five rebounds. Sonny Thoss turned back the clock as he made 17 markers on 6-of-12 shooting, while Chris Banchero supplied 14 points, six assists, and five rebounds.

The Aces were trailing by eight, 36-44 at the half, but it became a different ball game come the third chapter as they outscored the Gin Kings, 37 to 19, to erect a favorable 73-63 cushion heading into the game’s final 12 minutes.

From there, Alaska kept their foot on the gas to sustain their lead, which grew to as much as 18, 85-67, after their 6-0 spree — punctuated by Banchero’s lay-up plus a foul — with 6:14 remaining in the final frame.

Ginebra still tried to make one last push as they inched within 10, 75-85, but baskets by Thoss and Kevin Racal propelled Alaska to an 89-75 lead with 3:42 left to play — more than enough to knock out their counterparts.

“I was glad to come away with the win,” added Compton. “Sometimes, we have to take advantage of opportunities coming your way. You don’t want anybody to get hurt but when two number one picks on the other team aren’t playing… There.”

Jvee Casio had 13 markers for Alaska, while Calvin Abueva nearly had a double-double of nine points and nine boards along with five assists in 20 minutes.

Aljon Mariano had 15 points, nine rebounds, and three dimes for Ginebra, who — despite having Sol Mercado back in the fold after ankle issues — missed the services of Joe Devance and Greg Slaughter due to injuries.

Japeth Aguilar, Scottie Thompson, and Kevin Ferrer each scored 12 for the Barangay, with Thompson adding five assists. The trio combined for 15 of Ginebra’s 43 rebounds.

Alaska will aim to extend their streak versus the Blackwater Elite on Saturday, January 27 at 4:30 PM, while Ginebra will look to end their slump against the Phoenix Fuel Masters on Friday, January 26 at 7:00 PM. Both games are at SMART Araneta Coliseum.

The Scores:

Alaska 97 — Manuel 18, Thoss 17, Banchero 14, Casio 13, Abueva 9, Teng 9, Cruz 5, Enciso 3, Potts 3, Exciminiano 2, Magat 2, Racal 2, J. Pascual 0.

Ginebra 83 — Mariano 15, J. Aguilar 12, Ferrer 12, Thompson 12, Caguioa 8, Cruz 8, R. Aguilar 5, Tenorio 5, Mercado 2, Taha 2, Wilson 2, Jamito 0.

Quarterscores: 26-23, 36-44, 73-63, 97-83.

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Frustrated Jared Dillinger admits ‘he’s getting sick’ of Meralco’s bad PH Cup runs



It’s no secret that the Meralco Bolts have struggled in the Philippine Cup for the last three years. During the last two seasons, the eight-year-old franchise’s win-loss tally is four wins and 18 losses.

And in the 2018 edition, the narrative has been the same, with little to no hope of it turning the other way around.

The Bolts bowed to the TNT Katropa, 99-81, Sunday night — their third straight defeat after winning over Blackwater Elite in their opener last December. If things continue as they are, it looks like another poor all-Filipino tilt run is looming.

“We’re 1-3 and there’s nothing to be happy about,” said Jared Dillinger, who had 14 points and five caroms in the match at Ynares Center in Antipolo. “It’s a long season though… We [shouldn’t] panic but it’s not fun right now.

“The Philippine Cup has been our Achilles heel and every damn Philippine Cup we get our ass kicked. I’m getting sick of it.”

In this game, Meralco missed the services of top forwards Ranidel De Ocampo and Cliff Hodge due to injuries. But for Dillinger, those issues shouldn’t be excuses.

“When you get two guys like Ranidel and Cliff out, as a team, that’s the opportunity for the guys below them to step up,” asserted Dillinger, who has been with the franchise since 2013.

“It doesn’t have to mean scoring, getting the assists or rebound, it’s just making the right play, being smart.”

Asked what went wrong in this particular loss versus their sister team, where they shot just 39.2 percent from the floor and had committed 17 turnovers, the 10-year veteran lamented the poor effort that the Bolts put up.

“TNT didn’t do anything much, given that they played well. But they didn’t have any secret schemes against us. They just passed the ball around, and they got open shots,” added the 10-year pro, as TNT made 23 assists and shot 18 triples.

“Our effort wasn’t there. We got to put up the intensity cause it sucks right now.”

Meralco have a chance to end their slump against the Kia Picanto this Wednesday. Dillinger sees it as a do-or-die affair, warning that it will be a grind-out affair knowing that the Picanto is coming off a skid-ending win over Rain or Shine.

Do-or-die ’cause that’s gonna be a playoff game. Thank God they beat Rain or Shine ’cause you don’t want to be that one team that gives the win to a 0-16 [team]. You don’t want to play teams like that,” stressed the all-around forward.

“Nothing to take away from Kia though. It’s gonna be tough.”

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