Taking Flight for One Last Time
UAAP Season 77
Record: 11-3 (4th – Eliminated semifinals)
Offense: 75.9 ppg (1st)
Defense: 70.9 ppg (6th)
Rebounds: 41.6 rpg (5th)
Assists: 14.4 apg (3rd)
Pomp and Circumstance:
Chris Newsome, Nico Elorde, Anton Asistio, Kris Porter, Isaac Lim, Jay Javelosa, Clint Doliguez, Thirdy Ravena (academically ineligible)
|Ikeh, Bueza (1st)||Tolentino, Arvin (2nd)||Pessumal, Von (5th)||Ravena, Kiefer (5th)||Pingoy, Jerie (1st)|
|Gotladera, Alfonzo (5th)||Apacible, John (2nd)||Capacio, Gwyne (5th)||Black, Aaron (2nd)||Cani, Hubert (1st)|
|Babilonia, G-Boy (4th)||Tolentino, Vince (3rd)||Nieto, Mike (1st)||Wong, John (1st)||Nieto, Matt (1st)|
SEASON 77 PAINS
It was a mighty surprise that the Blue Eagles flew to the top of the standings against loaded competition while toting a rather glaring, and I’m putting it lightly, hole down the middle with uhm…efense.
The only true center Ateneo had last year was Ponso Gotladera who was best utilized against opposing benches, and really, not knocking on him, he wasn’t just starter-level. Then again, the only starter-level centers in the WHOLE league were Alfred Aroga, Charles Mammie, and Karim Abdul (fine you can throw in Norbert Torres).
But the story of Season 77 for the Blue Eagles was the Kiefer Ravena revenge campaign. He was the only player in the UAAP last year to put up a 20-5-5 line. Okay maybe in the recent decade or so (the UAAP really doesn’t have those Scottie Thompson, Art Dela Cruz, or Calvin Abueva eye-poppers). Thing is, Ravena practically dragged the Blue Eagles to the finish line, having an insane 32.3% Usage rate that translated to a 37.3% Assist rating. He’s not hogging that ball for the sake of hogging but for the sake of creating.
This led to Ateneo being the top offensive team putting up 75.9 ppg as a team. What deterred Ateneo from being a truly elite offensive team was their overall shooting which was a mediocre 38%. Actually, no one in the league cracked 45% from the floor according to Philippine-centric stats hub, Humblebola.com.
Given how tiny the Blue Eagles are compared to FEU, UE, UST and DLSU, they were pretty average in trying to keep offensive rebounds going for multiple possessions. It just severely lacked when they had to contend with the lengthier teams such as FEU, DLSU and the eventual champs, NU, who boasted of an Alfred Aroga and Troy Rosario up front.
To make myself, and maybe the other diehards feel better, we were one of the only two teams to even shoot a flat 30% from downtown, meaning, when it really rains, it really pours. However, that wasn’t the case when Kiefer Ravena layered 24 bricks to help the SM Blue Residences, yeah?
But then again, we ride or die with Kiefer Ravena.
We’ll do it again.
It’s one last flight for one of the most decorated Blue Eagles to ever suit up for the school.
SEASON 78 GAINS
The Blue Eagles definitely reloaded this past season and added a press to their defensive schemes in an effort to mask the size differential they suffer. Think Golden State with the hyper-active switching and constant feet movement. That’s what stood out for me anyway and that’s how I project them to be.
The offensive sets would still be heavily concentrated on Ravena and we are very unfortunate we cannot include some telestrator work here (which would make you come back since I really plan on doing one). If you can check out the projected starters, that would make for some 4-out basketball with Ikeh staying inside the paint and controlling it.
I would like to insist that Arvin Tolentino be given a touch of the damn leather every freaking time down the hardwood to engage him. Because that is the secret. That is the wild card, the trump card.
Keep Arvin Tolentino engaged, happy, and touching the leather leads to Arvin Tolentino playing insane basketball. And we mean really, really insane (like that otherworldly torching he dropped on Prince Rivero in a title game’s crunchtime no less).
But that’s where Bo comes in.
A starting five of Pingoy at the point, Ravena and Capacio at the wings with Tolentino and Ikeh up front makes for the best balance of the talent the Blue Eagles currently have. Slotting Von Pessumal and possibly Gotladera in the starting five would be detrimental for sustained fire power as I am not totally confident Gwynne can put the damn rock inside the hoop without buttery fingers, or as stated above, Gotladera being a true starter-quality center.
It’s a tough choice who will get the back-up duties over Cani and Nieto but my bet’s on the former Bullpup because Nieto has a penchant for flare-y stuff and I don’t like flare-y stuff, keeping true to the philosophies of that one guy named Norman Black (who, I implore Ricky Palou, to bring back). Cani keeps it simple, keeps it smooth and just gets buckets when you need to and dimes when he has to. And oh, it’ll be fun to see Cani make those second units look like fools.
The overall talent of this squad plus Kiefer Ravena going Blue Mamba is enough to get a top 2 seed and we’ll go from there. Like what good ‘ol Norman used to say: just gimme the top two and I’ll work it out.
Best case: 12-2 (UAAP Champions)
Worst case: 10-4 (Eliminated in the semifinals)
|UAAP Season 78 Men’s Basketball Starter Pack|
|Let’s Rebuild Every Year!||Taking Flight for One Last Time|
|Hauling the Best of the Class||On the Verge|
|Underdogs Once Again||Replicating the House of Chaos|
|Kevin and Karim’s One Last Chance||The Dark Horse|
|UAAP Season 78 Women’s Basketball Starter Pack|
|The Ultimate UAAP Season 78 Basketball First Round Schedule|