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Adamson Soaring Falcons: UAAP S78 Starter Pack

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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:

CPFSFSGPG
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)

Assessment
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.

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Adamson Soaring Falcons: UAAP S78 Starter Pack    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.

PREDICTION

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


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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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