UNIVER­SITY OF THE PHILIP­PINES FIGHT­ING MA­ROONS

0-14. SIX WINS IN FIVE SEA­SONS. FOUR COACHES IN SIX. THEY GAVE UP BIG LEADS. THEY GAVE UP SMALL LEADS. MANY TIMES, THEY SIM­PLY GAVE UP. THIS IS THE SCE­NARIO RICKY DAN­DAN WALKED INTO WHEN HE AGREED TO BE­COME THE NEW HEAD COACH OF THE UP FIGHT­ING MA­ROONS,

Rebound Magazine - - UAAP PREVIEW - by Sid Ven­tura

As the sum­mer league sea­son be­gan, the Ma­roons were dealt a se­ri­ous blow in their quest to be­come more com­pet­i­tive when off guard Alvin Padilla was de­clared aca­dem­i­cally in­el­i­gi­ble. This is un­doubt­edly a big loss for the team, for Padilla is a vet­eran who can score both from the out­side and on drives to the bas­ket and who can also play good oneon-one de­fense.

Tak­ing his place on the start­ing ros­ter will most likely be sopho­more Jett Manuel, who showed flashes of bril­liance in his rookie sea­son. Join­ing him in the back court will be the come­back­ing Mike Gam­boa, who quit the team last year af­ter he was hardly used in 2009. Mike Silun­gan, the team’s best of­fen­sive weapon, will be back at the small for­ward spot, while third-year player Mark Ju­ru­ena will most likely get the nod at the four spot. Round­ing up the first five will be Alinko Mbah, the 6’7” African im­port of UP who should pro­vide some re­bound­ing and shot block­ing.

Bench

Just like the start­ing five, the bench was also dec­i­mated some­what when in­com­ing big man Raul Suyod, a trans­feree from West Ne­gros Col­lege, tore his an­te­rior cru­ci­ate lig­a­ment in Jan­uary and will now have to sit out an ad­di­tional year be­fore mak­ing his UAAP de­but. Suyod’s loss weak­ens an al­ready thin front­line ro­ta­tion, and Dan­dan is hop­ing to get qual­ity min­utes out of sec­ond-year cen­ters Martin Pas­cual and Vergel Evan­ge­lista and third-year power for­ward Carlo Gomez.

Rookie Paolo Romero from the Ate­neo Blue Ea­glets will likely see some time at the three spot to­gether with a pair of ba­lik-UP play­ers Don Fortu and Julius Wong, while Miggy Maniego and Mo­riah Gin­gerich will battle for min­utes at the two spot. Mak­ing their UAAP de­buts will be Fil-Am Rob­bie Weirzba and Col­lege of St. Be­nilde trans­feree Jelo Mon­te­cas­tro.

Over­all, it’s not a par­tic­u­larly deep team in the post, and the point guard ro­ta­tion of Gam­boa, Weirzba and Mon­te­cas­tro isn’t ex­actly that for­mi­da­ble. But the wing play­ers are pretty solid, even with the loss of Padilla.

Coach­ing

Dan­dan is a highly re­spected tac­ti­cian, a Joe Lipa dis­ci­ple of the high­est or­der who has years of coach­ing ex­pe­ri­ence un­der his belt. He left a suc­cess­ful job as di­rec­tor of the Ate­neo bas­ket­ball pro­gram to take on what he con­sid­ers a dream job of coach­ing his alma mater. He’ll be as­sisted by his for­mer UP team­mates Jojo Villa, Joey Men­doza and Duane Sal­vaterra, all of whom are coach­ing vet­er­ans as well. Dan­dan’s son Mark rounds up the coach­ing staff.

Like his men­tor, Dan­dan is a strict dis­ci­plinar­ian who has lit­tle pa­tience for slack­ers. He isn’t afraid to scream at his play­ers and get in their faces if they’re not meet­ing his stan­dards. His first or­der of busi­ness upon his ap­point­ment was ad­dress­ing the team’s strength and phys­i­cal con­di­tion­ing, a ma­jor de­vel­op­ment for a team widely re­garded as among the soft­est in the UAAP.

In­tan­gi­bles

The loss of Padilla made this rel­a­tively young team even younger. Silun­gan, Gam­boa and Maniego are the only play­ers with at least three years’ worth of col­lege ball ex­pe­ri­ence, and young teams are al­ways more likely to com­mit men­tal mis­takes dur­ing games. But if the Ma­roons stay healthy through­out the sea­son and if they fi­nally catch a break or two, then maybe the Dan­dan era in Dil­i­man will get off to a good, if not de­cent, start.

Out­look

The way the 2011 UAAP land­scape is shap­ing up, UP should be com­pet­i­tive against the likes of UE and UST. But they just aren’t a Fi­nal Four-cal­iber team, at least not this sea­son. Ate­neo, FEU and La Salle are all loaded with tal­ent, and Adam­son will al­ways be com­pet­i­tive with Leo Aus­tria at the helm. Plus NU has a pretty good re­cruit­ing class com­ing in.

Re­bound­ing re­mains a ma­jor area for im­prove­ment; a front­line of Alinko, Ju­ru­ena, Evan­ge­lista and Gomez will surely have its work cut out against the Slaugh­ters, Chuas, Van Op­stals, Tor­re­ses, and Ramoses. And at the point, Gam­boa al­ways has prob­lems when de­fended by taller guards. But con­sid­er­ing the string of bad luck that has hounded the team in re­cent years, you some­how get the feel­ing they’re due for a few good breaks down the road.

C PF SF SG PG Alinko Mbah Mark Ju­ru­ena Mike Silun­gan Jett Manuel Mike Gam­boa

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.