UNIVER­SITY OF STO. TO­MAS GROWL­ING TIGERS

IF YOU NO­TICED – AND YOU SHOULD HAVE – THERE’S A BOUNCE IN PIDO JAREN­CIO’S STEP NOWA­DAYS. HE’S LIKE A KID WHO FI­NALLY HAS A FEW MORE PIECES ADDED TO HIS ARSE­NAL. ALL THE BET­TER TO DO BATTLE WITH THE BIG BOYS. BE­FORE, IT WAS ALL ABOUT BOMB­ING WITH IMPUNI

Rebound Magazine - - UAAP PREVIEW - by Rick Olivares

Jeric For­tuna and Clark Bautista in the back­court with Jeric Teng and Chris Ca­mus in the front­court with the un­der­sized but no less tough Carmelo Afuang in the mid­dle.

Pretty much the same start­ing unit as last sea­son. Jaren­cio hopes that be­ing a year older will bring out the best of this unit.

Af­ter two dis­ap­point­ing years, Bautista looks to fi­nally ful­fill his prom­ise as a lethal weapon in­stead of be­ing an offthe-bench spe­cial­ist. He’s shown more con­fi­dence and whether that’s growth as a player, ma­tu­rity, or both, then that au­gurs well. Be­cause that means Teng will be­come more of a threat when he drives and their front­court men will have a lit­tle more room to op­er­ate.

The prob­lem with this start­ing unit is that they are height chal­lenged. There’s no doubt that they can score but can they de­fend?

And if Jaren­cio in­sists on mak­ing Jeric Teng a stop­per, then they’re in for more trou­ble. Teng, while a good de­fender, loses some of his of­fense be­cause he is forced to guard an of­fen­sive player on the op­pos­ing team. That could put him into foul trou­ble. And if he goes, there goes one slash­ing threat.

Bench

Karim Ab­dul is a swing­man with ter­rific up­side but the ques­tion is – will

he ad­just to the Philip­pine col­le­giate game right away? In the pre-sea­son, he showed that he can be of help while at times, he was grossly in­con­sis­tent. And what this team needs is con­sis­tency and de­pend­abil­ity.

Ed Daquiaog pro­vided that spark last year, al­though few and far be­tween. It re­mains to be seen if he has brought a new di­men­sion to his game be­cause when the driv­ing lanes were closed to him, he was pretty much a non-fac­tor.

If Paolo Pe was look­ing for play­ing time af­ter com­ing out of Ate­neo High School, he sure got it with UST. He plays like Afuang mi­nus the medium range jumper.

Jaren­cio is hop­ing that Ju­niors MVP Kevin Fer­rer packed his sweet jumper with him to the col­lege ranks. Long, lanky, and ath­letic, he will pro­vide an­other scor­ing threat for the Tigers. And when you look at it, they’ve got a plethora of trey snipers – For­tuna, Teng, Bautista, Afuang on oc­ca­sion, and Fer­rer. They’re like the Dal­las Mav­er­icks of the Far East. The ques­tion is – who on this squad can ap­prox­i­mate Tyson Chan­dler?

Coach­ing

Jaren­cio is one of only two coaches in the UAAP who has been around since 2006. The other is Nor­man Black who has one more year of ex­pe­ri­ence. But ev­ery other school has made at least two coach­ing changes. Jaren­cio has sur­vived ru­mors of be­ing re­moved and ev­ery year, he seems to pro­duce a medium rab­bit out of his hat. How many MVPs or Rook­ies of the Year have come out of Es­paña in that span of time?

There’s a feel­ing that good things are blow­ing UST’s way and this year is a step in the right direc­tion. Jaren­cio will squeeze the most out of this squad with an up­tempo game. If he can get more out of the bench (to give the starters some rest), then they can con­tin­u­ously move up the UAAP rank­ings.

In­tan­gi­bles

Don’t be de­ceived by their lack of ceil­ing. They could re­bound some. But this team is built on of­fense and their out­side shoot­ing. Short on size, the phi­los­o­phy here is “the best de­fense is a good of­fense”. And it’s up to For­tuna and Jon Sher­iff to show the way. For sure, they can put points on the board in a hurry.

Out­look

Un­for­tu­nately for UST, ev­ery­one, save per­haps for UE, got longer, taller, and more ath­letic. They will still pull off some sur­prises.

C PF SF SG

PG Carmelo Afuang

Chris Ca­mus Jeric Teng

Clark Bautista

Jeric For­tuna

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