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Thread: NU Hosting UAAP Diamond Season

  1. #1

    NU Hosting UAAP Diamond Season

    This year's UAAP press conference was held in the brand new and very posh SMOA Arena where Season 75 host school National University had the chance to show off its latest big time facility. While technically an entertainment venue for NU's parent company the SM Group, it will also serve as the home court for the Bulldogs, complete with their own exclusive team dugout. "No, there is no jacuzzi," responded head coach Eric Altamirano with a good chuckle when asked about the new "dog pound" as it were.

    NU is looking to bounce bag big after a disappointing Season 74, which was the debut for both Altamirano and highly-touted super recruit Ray Parks. While Parks did make history becoming the league's first Rookie-MVP, the Bulldogs limped out of last season with only six wins. Since they won two Fr Martin Cup titles and the Uni Games title with Parks at the helm, more was expected of them comng into last season. "Winning the MVP was great, but of course my ultimate goal is still to win the championship," Parks declared when I had a chance to chat with him during the press con. "I know that means having to work harder, but I've always worked hard on my game and making my team better, and I'm ready for the season," he added.

    This is a team that has grown a year older and hopefully a year wiser. They will be coming into the Diamond Season of the UAAP with equally great if not even greater expectations than last year. Being the host school kind of does that. Although there are protestations to the contrary, pressure is there and it is palpable. "We are ready for this year, both as host school and as a team, not just for basketball but for every event we are joining," exclaimed Junel Baculi, the athletics director. "Of course basketball being the centerpiece event, we want to come out stronger this year, but we have a very capable coach in Coach Eric, and a very good team, so I think it really will be a better year for us as well," he added.

    They had a semi-deja vu sort of summer, beating the Ateneo in the semifinals and then La Salle in the Finals to annex the Fil Oil crown, but skipping the Fr Martin Cup where they were the reigning champion. Parks was named MVP of the Fil Oil, and was joined by 6-6 African import Emmanuel Mbe in the Fil Oil Mythical 5 along with Norbert Torres of La Salle and Ateneo stars Kiefer Ravena and Greg Slaughter. "I hope we can take this positive momentum into the UAAP tournament, both personally for Ray and of course for NU as a team," said Ray's father Bobby, a seven-time PBA Best Import in the frenzy of the Fil Oil awarding about a month ago.

    Parks and Mbe will need plenty of help from their team though, if the Bulldogs are to make the Final 4 and challenge for the title. As with the last three years, the road to the UAAP title will go through Loyola Heights and the mighty Blue Eagles. With the Ateneo aiming for an unprecedented 5-Peat and their head coach Norman Black looking to leave the UAAP in style, the Blue Eagles will be a particularly focused, dangerous and mighty foe for everybody. NU got its arse handed to it twice by the Blue Eagles last season, one loss saw the Ateneo take a lead of over 30 points. If last summer portended good things for NU, the actual UAAP season was an eye-opener on so many levels. "I've never been down 30 points, that was really something," Parks said in one interview last season. "I want to use that as a motivation to work even harder and make sure that never happens again," he added.

    Other schools are also going to be tough nuts to crack. La Salle has the size, depth and athletic ability to match up across rosters with NU. Parks had to pull out all the stops en route to 19 points against the Green Archers in the Fil Oil Finals, and even then the Bulldogs could not quite leave La Salle in the dust. Former RP Youth team mainstay Jed Manguera used his lateral strength and speed to limit Parks for close to three periods. Torres also played Mbe about as straight up as any Filipino player can. FEU is still FEU and they still have arguably the best guard combo in the league with RR Garcia and Terrence Romeo, two guys who can light it up in a hurry and in bunches. FEU as a team still has among the best defenses in the UAAP. UST won't be able to match NU size-wise, but the perimeter firepower of the Tigers is a truly great equalizer. Those are just the schools most likely to be fighting for Final 4 spots this year.

    All told the hosting job this year will bring great expectations. NU last won the UAAP basketball title in 1954. Now in the league's diamond year, NU is hoping to bring back a diamond of a title.

  2. #2
    NU tore UE a new one right on opening day and right in the new SMOA Arena 90-55. After a shaky start that saw Roi Sumang keep a lead for UE, the Bulldogs bit into the Warriors and just never looked back. I think it was as much as a 42-point lead at one point.

  3. #3
    They're still at it. Parks was sent back in with about 2 minutes left and NU leading by 30+ points. They say that one has to play hard for 40 minutes but this is just plain ridiculous. I hate teams winning in the board room but, just for this, it somehow lessens it...

  4. #4
    ^ Gunning for a back-to-back MVP is certainly a noble goal, isn't it my friend? After all, I believe it was Jeff Javillonar who was actually named best player for this game with 19 points and 11 rebounds.

  5. #5
    On a side note, it's open season for scalpers! FEU side patron seats went as low as 400 when game 1 started. going price for UST-side single ticket went for 500. 1.3K for 3 tickets. They prolly think they can get a better ROI the next game day with the AdU and UP crowd

  6. #6

    Ateneo bounces back big, trumps National U

    By Celest R. Flores

    7:33 pm | Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

    MANILA, Philippines—Reigning titlist Ateneo bounced back big time and gave National University a jolt of reality with an 89-65 shellacking Sunday in the 75th UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.

    The Blue Eagles, after dropping a 70-71 stunner against University of Santo Tomas last Thursday, showed no signs of committing the same mistakes by breaking the game wide open early and never letting their guard down.

    “We told the players that our offense may be up and down, but the defense must be consistent,” said head coach Norman Black, who learned a lot from his squad’s last loss.

    Ateneo stretched its winning streak over NU, which is expected to give the Blue Eagles a run for their money this season after a great pre-season, to nine games dating back to 2007.

    Nico Salva was simply on point in scoring 21 points, knocking down a long two, helping the Blue Eagles amass a massive 27-point edge as they were well on their way to their second victory.

    Ateneo’s bigs Greg Slaughter and Justin Chua also did their work as they combined for 26 points while staying out of early foul trouble.

    Kiefer Ravena led Ateneo’s offense in the open court, which has been his squad’s bread and butter, and got the better of Bulldogs’ star Ray Parks Jr. with 17 points and six boards.

    Despite building an early double-digit lead, the Blue Eagles were wary of Parks’ explosiveness in the offense and NU’s capability to claw back—like what UST pulled off.

    But Parks carried the bulk of the load for NU, which did not look like its dominant self, and fouled out of the game with a game-best 22 points while Emmanuel Mbe struggled with just 12.

    The Bulldogs, who opened up the season with a rout of University of the East, reeled to their first loss, which makes FEU the lone undefeated squad thus far.

  7. #7
    After beating the Ateneo 84-70 in the Fil Oil semis en route to capturing their first ever title in that tournament, the NU Bulldogs were suddenly reminded yet again that the UAAP is a totally different proposition. It took a familiar nemesis, the Ateneo, to remind them. Up as much as 87-60 late in the payoff fourth period, the reigning champions looked every bit as unbreakable as this Diamond UAAP Season. At no point did the Bulldogs even come close to turning things around. Emmanuel Mba had a very good first half then all but disappeared in the second half. Ray Parks led all scorers with 22 points but was 6-12 from the field and 0-12 from trey range, and also fouled out with still some three and a half minutes to go. Head coach Eric Altamirano could not get Joff Javillonar going against a peskier and tougher Tonino Gonzaga, a surprise starter for Ateneo Boss Norman Black.

  8. #8

    Tams eye No. 3 versus Falcons

    The Philippine Star

    Updated July 26, 2012 12:00 AM

    MANILA, Philippines - After grinding out two close victories, Far Eastern U found itself in an unlikely spot atop the leaderboard of the UAAP Season 75 men’s basketball tournament.

    “Both were close games. We could have easily been 0-2. We were just lucky,” Tamaraws mentor Bert Flores, whose wards rallied to beat University of Santo Tomas (73-72) then outlasted erstwhile leader La Salle in a low-scoring game (48-46) to start the season, said in Filipino.

    Today, the Tams gun for their third straight triumph against Adamson (0-1) at 4 p.m. at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, hoping to somehow address the shortcomings that nearly led to their downfall in the first two outings.

    “We still need to work on our rebounding; we were outrebounded by La Salle the last time (40-49). Arvie (Bringas) and (Russel) Escoto must step up in this department to help (Anthony) Hargrove, who was riddled with foul trouble in our second game,”said Flores, whose team stands half game ahead of defending champion Ateneo (2-1) and La Salle (2-1).

    National University (1-1) hits the floor against University of the Philippines (0-1) at 2 p.m. intent on getting back on track in the tourney they were billed to be a contender in.

    The Bulldogs kicked off their campaign with a masterful 90-55 trouncing of University of the East on opening day but got brought back down to earth by a numbing 65-89 beating at the hands of the Blue Eagles last Sunday.

  9. #9
    I can almost see NU chomping at the bit thinking this will be an "easy" game because it is "only" UP. But no less than head coach Eric Altamirano and assistant coach Joey Guanio should keep them well-grounded, being members of the one and only UP Title squad back in 1986. Altamirano in fact was the star of their championship run.

    Buckle down on defense with their 2-3 zone, and dare the UP shooters to fire away. Unless UP can shoot as well as the Ateneo did last weekend taking outside shots should not be a primary option on offense. NU has a bigger and stronger center in Emmanuel Mbe, but may need Ray Parks to play more 4 than 3 in this game to assure control of the boards. UP does not have much depth at the power forward spot anyway, at least none that can match Parks. He can be a 4 on defense and a 3/2 on offense to take advantage of his strong dribble-drive.

    If Mike Silungan, Alvin Padilla or even Jet Manuel, or any combination of the three, get hot, it will be a long afternoon for the Bulldogs.

  10. #10

    3rd tightrope act for Tams

    By Jasmine W. Payo

    Philippine Daily Inquirer

    11:41 pm | Thursday, July 26th, 2012

    FAR EASTERN University’s luck still hasn’t run out.

    Leaning on their vaunted backcourt trio, the Tamaraws survived another cardiac game in nosing out the Adamson Falcons, 65-62, to keep the solo lead in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament yesterday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

    Terrence Romeo, RR Garcia and Cris Tolomia combined for FEU’s last 13 points even as the Tamaraws held on to their slim lead after a crucial turnover in the dwindling seconds.

    “Another heart-attack game,” said coach Bert Flores after the Tamaraws stayed unbeaten in three games after pulling out close victories over University of Santo Tomas and La Salle.

    Romeo tied his career-high of 23 points, including the marginal three-point play, 65-60, with 2:18 minutes left. He also dished out six assists.

    “It’s still not the kind of game we’re looking for,” Flores said of his Tamaraws, who won their first two games by just an average of 1.5 points.

    Earlier, National University recovered from a lopsided loss to Ateneo with a 67-50 dumping of University of the Philippines.

    Ray Parks unloaded 18 points on top of four rebounds, six assists and three steals to power the Bulldogs to their second triumph in three games.

    Emmanuel Mbe also had a huge double-double outing of 17 points and 16 boards for the Bulldogs, who stretched the gap to as many as 28 points, 56-28, in the final quarter.

    “The ability to bounce back from a loss, especially a big loss to Ateneo, that’s one reason why I want to commend the boys,” NU coach Eric Altamirano said of his Bulldogs, who were outclassed by the four-time champion, 89-65, in a showdown tipped to be tight.

    “We worked on the stuff we struggled with,” said Parks, last season’s MVP. “They (Blue Eagles) showed our weakness, but at the same time, it was a test of character.”

    The Maroons dropped to 0-2 along with the Falcons.

    The scores:

    First Game

    NU 67—Parks 18, Mbe 17, Javillonar 9, Roño 7, Alolino 6, Villamor 4, Ignacio 4, De Guzman 2, Singh 0, Rosario 0, Neypes 0, Labing-isa 0. Betayene 0.

    UP 50—Silungan 11, Manuel 11, Montecastro 10, Ball 4, Lopez 4, Hipolito 4, Asilum 4, Soyud 2, Mbah 0, Romero 0, Padilla 0, Gamboa 0

    Quarters: 16-10, 42-18, 52-28, 67-50

    Second Game

    FEU 65—Romeo 23, Garcia 12, Belo 9, Tolomia 6, Escoto 5, Hargrove 4, A. Bringas 4, M. Bringas 2, Pogoy 0, Cruz 0.

    ADAMSON 62—Etrone 13, Camson 11, Brondial 11, Cruz 8, Petilos 7, Cabrera 4, Abrigo 4, Trollano 2, Nuyles 2, Rios 0, Monteclaro 0, Julkipli 0, Agustin 0.

    Quarters: 15-15, 35-28, 50-49, 65-62

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