UAAP 78 By the Numbers: Opening Week
Paolo Mariano on Sep 07, 2015 11:44 AM
The University of the Philippines won its first opening game in four years.
The opening weekend of Season 78 didn’t disappoint as it featured four competitive, high-action games. It was a fitting and nail-biting way to start the new UAAP calendar. It was 10 months in the making it was surely worth it. Except for Far Eastern University’s (FEU) thrashing of Ateneo de Manila University, all the opening skirmishes were decided by an average of only 5.6 points. That’s how tight the competition was. If the opening games are a prelude to what’s coming this year, then the season will be another topsy-turvy ride.
The year the University of the Philippines (UP) last won its opening game. The Fighting Maroons don’t have to worry about getting their first win this season as they thwarted University of the East (UE), 62-55. The last time State U notched a W on opening week was on July 14, 2011, incidentally against the Red Warriors as well, 69-61. In that victory, the Fighting Maroons snapped their 18-game losing streak. Mike Gamboa led the squad with 19 points, while Mike Silungan added 15 markers.
The number of newcomers this season—almost half of the entire league. Most teams underwent major overhauls this year with De La Salle University and Adamson University leading the pack with nine neophytes each. Surprisingly, UP has the least with five. Some of the greenhorns to watch are Ateneo’s Jerie Pingoy and Hubert Cani, La Salle’s Andrei Caracut and Mark Dyke, FEU’s Monbert Arong, UP’s Jan Jaboneta and Pio Longa, UE’s Philip Manalang, National University’s (NU) Nico Abatayo, and University of Santo Tomas’ (UST) Mario Bonleon.
The number of points combined by UST’s Ed Daquioag and Kevin Ferrer in their win over Adamson. The graduating wingmen imposed their will with their length and athleticism. Daquioag scored a career-high 28 points, while Ferrer added 24 markers, 12 coming in the opening salvo. They almost outscored the entire Soaring Falcons, who tallied 64 points. While their scoring binge was impressive, it was also worrisome that the rest of the Growling Tigers didn’t produce. UST only managed two bench points compared to Adamson’s 21.
The field goal percentage of NU versus La Salle—the lowest among all the teams on opening week. The Bulldogs were simply abhorrent from the field, missing 48 of their 68 shots, including 15 from long distance. La Salle’s scrambling defense made it difficult for the Sampaloc-based squad to get quality shots. It also didn’t help that Gelo Alolino and J-Jay Alejandro hoisted forced attempts at times. They combined for only 10 of 31 FGs (32.0%). Could it be first-day jitters for the defending champs?
The winning margin of FEU over Ateneo—the biggest loss of the Blue Eagles to the Tamaraws in 12 years. Can you remember the last time the mighty Blue and White got manhandled this bad? It surpassed their 18-point loss in October 2003. The Blue Eagles had no answer for the Tams, who were almost unstoppable on offense. The boys from Morayta shot an impressive 51.3% from the field, compared to Ateneo’s eye-sore of 30.7%. One heck of a wake-up call for the Blue Eagles.