Batang Gilas, rookies look to make noise for UPIS, FEU
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Nov 13, 2015 03:21 PM
WIDE OPEN. While Ateneo, DLSZ, and NU favorites to finish top three, the fourth and final playoff berth is anybody's guess.
After defending champion Ateneo de Manila High School, runner-up Nazareth School of National University, and intact De La Salle Zobel, the race is pretty much wide open in the UAAP 78 Juniors Basketball Tournament.
Adamson High School Baby Falcons
Adamson went on a spectacular run in the second round of last season and barged themselves into the Final Four. However, the key cogs from that team, Jaydee Tungcab and Jimboy Pasturan, are now in the Seniors ranks and coach Goldwin Monteverde has been left with a lineup without any player who has played more than two years.
Still, Monteverde expects nothing from his boys but to fight for each and every game. To do so, he will lean on second-year guard EJ Agbong as well as first-year man Jason Celis to rediscover the same magic they had a year ago.
Far Eastern University-Diliman Baby Tamaraws
After missing out on the Final Four last year, coach Mike Oliver is completely starting over in FEU-Diliman and will feature a squad made up of rookies. These first-timers will have to grow up quick to fill the shoes of Marvin Lee (now a Growling Tiger), Christian Fajarito (now a Blazer), and Wendell Comboy (now a Tamaraw).
University of the Philippines Integrated School Junior Maroons
After Ateneo, the school with the most number of Batang Gilas players is UPIS with 6’5” tower Will Gozum and sweet-shooting swingman Juan Gomez de Liano. Fresh off gaining international experience, the two hope to help carry the Diliman-based squad out of the cellar.
More important for coach Allan Gregorio, however, is that last year’s go-to-guy Javi Gomez de Liano returns as a game-by-game double-double threat.
University of the East High School Junior Warriors
Things could only get better for UE following a bottom-place finish and their rise begins and ends with Batang Gilas member Jethro Publico. The rangy guard looks to become the go-to-guy the Junior Warriors did not have last season while holdover Genesis Vinte will be holding down the frontcourt.
University of Sto. Tomas High School Tiger Cubs
Along with FEU-Diliman, UST has the least experienced lineup in the league with only three returnees. Of the three, Marlon Navarro will be looked upon to pick up the slack and lead the team back to contention.
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