ABS-CBN Sports analysts give fearless predictions for UAAP 79
ABS-CBN Sports on Sep 04, 2016 10:27 AM
Some early favorites are already surfacing.
With the UAAP Season 79 Men's Basketball Tournament tipping off after months of waiting and speculation, let’s try and get you pumped up, one last time before the whistle blows.
We asked our top basketball analysts from ABS-CBN Sports to give their fearless forecasts on for the upcoming Men's Basketball Tournament.
To get their honest answers and to save our analysts from bashing, we have decided to withhold their identities and just name them “ANALYST 1 to 3.”
1. Who will be this season's dark horse?
ANALYST 1: ADMU. The Eagles may have lost a ton of talent with the departure of Kiefer, Von, Ponso, and their seen recruits who could've played this season, but they've shown some signs of strength.
Having Thirdy Ravena back is a boost, Ikeh Chibueze looks to have improved, and, of course, being handled by Tab Baldwin is gonna ensure that the Eagles are going to be a helluva disciplined team.
ANALYST 2: The two Pumaren-coached teams (UE and Adamson).
Coach Derrick (UE) might have lost Chris Javier, but [Edson] Batiller is a year older, the system matured another year with their core and they surprised a lot of people last year and they just fell short of the Final Four.
Of course Adamson with coach Franz and they might not be as offensively talented as other teams but if you give coach Franz a disciplined team who's in great shape, and from what i know their in real great shape, being trained by a well-known trainer who trains the pros, they're gonna be running up and down the court for sure and playing some high intensity defense, up tempo game and they could just surprise a lot of teams.
ANALYST 3: Dark horse(s) would be Adamson and Ateneo, both are young teams with very serviceable foreign centers. Papi Sarr may have the higher ceiling, but Ateneo's roster comes mostly from a winning program, with a lot of high character players. Both teams are now under the tutelage of highly respected and winning coaches, who will surely make their winning imprint on the boys.
2. Who are your Final Four picks and why?
ANALYST 1: DLSU should be the top seed, for sure. They're stacked like crazy in every position, their twin tower combo of Mbala and Tratter is going to be near impossible to stop, and Jeron Teng is going to have an MVP-type of season.
FEU will be close behind. The defending champs are field by a great pipeline of recruits and great coaching from Nash Racela. It's all about the system in FEU, and that system will keep on giving them wins.
NU should be among the top four as well. The Bulldogs have issues at the PG spot, but guys like J-Jay Alejandro, Dave Yu, Matt Salem, and Alfred Aroga should be able to carry the team to a lot of wins.
ADMU is my sneaky fourth pick. Coach Tab is known to make the most out of whatever talent he can scrounge, and he should be able to squeeze out the best from these Eagles on most days.
ANALYST 2: Definitely FEU and La Salle. They're up there. Then it’s really a toss up for the final two slots. But if i were to be insisted on picking two more teams, I’d probably put NU? Because they've still got Alfred Aroga and they've got a bunch of talented scorers daw and they've got a faster-paced game. Last team could either be UST, Ateneo, UE, or Adamson.
ANALYST 3: DLSU, FEU, UE, NU/ADU/ADMU. DLSU has the deepest and most potent roster with this year's most dominant duo in Mbala and Teng.
FEU meanwhile is coming off a championship and a winning system. They still have a solid trio in Orizu, Jose and Arong, and Coach Nash's selfless system has brought out the best in role players the past years.
UE, with its style of play and athletic lineup can beat anyone on any given afternoon. They'll be one of the more veteran lineups outside of DLSU.
NU with Aroga and Alejandro, coupled with Coach Eric's defense first philosophy will always be in the game. ADU and ADMU for reasons given above.
3. Who will win the title?
ANALYST 1: DLSU is the fashionable answer here, and for good reason. Mbala will be nearly unstoppable, Abu Tratter will be such a good complement to him, Teng will be an MVP type of player, and all their other pieces can be productive in any gameday. Perhaps the only possible thing that will hold them back outside of injuries is whether Aldin Ayo goes through a significant adjustment period in terms of coaching in the UAAP or not.
ANALYST 2: La Salle. they're an intact team, add to the mix Ben Mbala. They’re healthy, the only wildcard there really is how Aldin Ayo can perform on a higher stage. From the material he's got, [it] looks like they'll be heavily favored to win it all.
ANALYST 3: This year's title is for DLSU's to lose. They have the most formidable lineup, now paired with a system that wreaks mayhem on opposing offenses.
4: Who is your pre-season Mythical Five and why?
ANALYST 1: Ben Mbala - He's gonna be a beast uncaged.
Raymar Jose - He'll be a solid double-double guy for the Tamaraws.
Jeron Teng - MVP peg for the season.
Monbert Arong - He should be among the league's best scoring options.
J-Jay Alejandro - He should have a breakout season for NU.
ANALYST 2: You know what, because he's the last star left, Louie Vigil just might rack up a lot of points, so he might be up there.
Mbala of course, Jeron teng. maybe even Thomas Torres, wow this is a tough one. I'll come back to that.
ANALYST 3: Mbala, Teng, Aroga, Vigil, Arong.
Mbala and Teng will both lead in scoring and rebounding (Mbala) and possibly assists (Teng) for DLSU. Aroga will lead NU in rebounding and possibly scoring together with Alejandro. Vigil and Arong will both be the go-to perimeter players for UST and FEU respectively. Arong, many times will be the creator in the dribble drive FEU offense.
5. Who is your pre-season MVP?
ANALYST 1: Jeron Teng - He won't put up double-doubles, but I expect him to stuff the stat-sheet often. Winning a ton of basketball games is certainly gonna help, too.
ANALYST 2: Mbala, I mean if you go by the way the UAAP judges this, how they rank it in terms of statistical points, points and rebounds and blocks alone, he could be up there.
ANALYST 3: Mbala. He'll be the most dominant on both ends of the floor. La Salle's frenetic pace will also allow him to post more numbers than Aroga.
6. Who is your pre-season Rookie-of-the-Year?
ANALYST 1: I love the chances of Jerrick Ahanmisi (provided he's eligible). I think he'll thrive in coach Franz Pumaren's system and Adamson will get enough wins to pad his odds. Ahanmisi has the trimmings of a rising star.
ANALYST 2: “I have absolutely no idea, im not familiar with the rookies and honestly.”
ANALYST 3: Jerrick Ahanmisi of ADU or Joshua Sinclair of NU
7. Who is your coach on the hot seat and why?
ANALYST 1: Aldin Ayo for sure. He has the deepest team and the biggest expectations. Nothing less than a title will justify the kind of team DLSU has given him to run, and sometimes that kind of pressure can have a very negative impact on a coach, more so for a coach in his very first UAAP season.
ANALYST 2: Maybe Boy Sablan (UST), depends if they do really bad. Because of hosting year, a lot of expectations, if they slip down below 5, they go 6 or 7 who knows. There might be so much uproar in the UST community, they might want him changed, and bring in a bigger name because the other 4 new coaches are such big names you got Franz you’ve got Bo Perasol, (Tab) Baldwin, and then Aldin Ayo.
ANALYST 3: Aldin Ayo. With the lineup that DLSU has, nothing short of a finals appearance and possibly a championship would be acceptable to the DLSU community.