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Looking at Blue Eaglets and Red Cubs

MANILA, Philippines -- The 2015 edition of the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup tipped off with Juniors action as the NCAA champions San Beda faced off against UAAP titlists Ateneo. The Blue Eaglets looked poised to blow out the Red Cubs early in the game as they raced to a 24-10 lead in the first period. The Red Cubs answered by holding the Blue Eaglets scoreless for 5:20 to come within one point. They finally took a five-point lead in the third period behind two triples by Joshua Tagala.

Ateneo finally wrestled control of the match in the fourth period as their bench – SJ Belangel, RV Berjay, and Jason Credo went on a 7-2 run to give their side a 58-48 lead. Ateneo held off San Beda the rest of the way for a 72-66 win.

San Beda Red Cubs 2015-16

Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup roster: Chris Samaniego, Joshua Tagala, Addie Velasquez, Rob Nyve, Luke Sese, Prince Etrata, Evan Nelle, Ry Dela Rosa, Germy Mahinay, Albert Bordeos, Peter Alfaro, Sam Abuhijileh, Jeshuel Ladao, Migs Bolanos, JM Lagumen, Bernard De Guia, John Aguirre, Joshua Quezada, and Jasper Collado.

Coach JB Sison’s thoughts on this year’s Red Cubs: Sampu ang nag-graduate from last year’s team. We are left with five veterans - Prince Etrata, Addie Velasquez, Peter Alfaro, Albert Bordeos and Sam Abuhijleh.

I told them that “wala tayong go-to guy but we have a go-to play.” Walang Andrei Caracut. Walang Chami Diputado. Walang Norrish DeCapia. That play means we are looking for a leader to emerge. In the meantime, yung play namin – it is knowing kung saan tayo pupunta at saan namin ibabagsak ang bola. Pero importante at kailangan dumepensa kasi yan ang magpanalo sa atin.

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Sa mga bago, yung tinutukan si Germy Mahinay our back-up center to Sam. I am hoping he can deliver right away. He has good work ethic now. Noong dumating yan sa amin tatamad-tamad yan. Now iba na yung attitude. And he can see what he can do if he puts his mind to the job.

Sila Tagala, Bordeos, and Velasquez will have to carry the scoring load as well.

This team of Red Cubs -- isang motivation yung ayaw mahinto yung string of six straight championships sa kanila. Alam nila ‘yan kaya sa practice they go hard at one another. Nagpapakita sila ng kanilang kakayahan. Nakikita ko naman yung trabaho nila sa practices. As for games wala pa kami nakakalaban na big team so this game against Ateneo, the UAAP champion, is our first big test. Dito ma-gauge kung saan na tayo.

Bleachers Brew grade on the Red Cubs after their loss to the Ateneo Blue Eaglets, 72-66:

I have seen the bulk of the team play in the NBTC and MMBL. For the veterans, Velasquez can shoot and drive. Of the newcomers, Lagumen, and Tagala can shoot as well. They have a seemingly endless parade of shooters to open up the lane for Abuhijleh and Mahinay to work the post. One-on-one, because of the size of Mahinay, he will be difficult to stop. A double team with a good pressure D such as Ateneo, he has to learn to pick his spots. They were up against a smaller Ateneo team but they got outrebounded 56-48. Mahinay had Andrade and Ildefonso on him. They mostly played him straight up one-on-one. But the Blue Eaglets made it difficult for him to get the entry pass. How many passes were picked off with SBC trying to get him going? Three? Four?

I like Evan Nelle who transferred from De La Salle Zobel to San Beda two years ago. He plays the point. While he can hot some pretty big shots, he has to make better decisions with the ball. I am glad they are giving the kid a chance.

This team – like last year’s squad, will rely on its forwards and guards. Sure their bigs will produce but the last time the Red Cubs had some really good centers who played in the lane (rather than shoot from the outside), it was when Fonso Gotladera and Chris Javier were in uniform.

Ateneo Blue Eaglets 2015-16

Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup roster: Bryan Andrade, Gian Mamuyac, Carlos Gatmaytan, RV Berjay, Jolo Mendoza, Justin Eustaquio, Jaime David, Zack Bernardo, Shier Hassan, Amchel Angeles, Shaun Ildefonso, Alfonso Rosales, Martin Mendoza, Allen Tañedo, Dale Termoso, Jason Credo, SJ Belangel, JM Berjay, Migo Santos, and Andrei Flores.

The Blue Eaglets were supposed to have the services of Enzo Joson who still had a year left but he was stricken off the line-up because of academic deficiencies. It is real sad considering that he was entering his senior year.

Coach Joe Silva thoughts on this year’s Blue Eagles: Well, we are preparing for the UAAP. This summer we are planning on giving our veterans to become leaders and for the bench and the newcomers to get a lot of exposure. We focus on the technical stuff, the discipline, the effort and the attitude.

They are more confident now. In a good way. We really police them so they do not act mayabang. We are the defending champions so the confidence is here. We already scaled that mountain.

SJ Belangel and RV Berjay will be vital contributors. Bryan Andrade and Shaun Ildefonso are greatly improved and will help out our main veterans in Jolo Mendoza and Gian Mamuyac. We have Martin Mendoza back in the line-up and he should contribute. Justin Eustaquio takes over the point from Matt Nieto. SJ will come in for him. But we expect the rest of the team to contribute and soak in this experience.

Bleachers Brew grade on the Blue Eaglets after their win over SBC, 72-66:
Scoring: Better and more well rounded this year. Jolo Mendoza and Gian Mamuyac and newcomer SJ Belangel will be their Big Three. But do not forget Shaun Ildefonso, Bryan Andrade, and RV Berjay.

Bench Depth: If Andrade can consistently crash the boards and replicate what Mike Nieto did for the team the past season, he will give this team an added dimension. SJ Belangel has got a tremendous upside. He learns pretty fast, I’ll say. After he lofted an alley-oop when he had the open shot (it went out for a turnover), the next time he attacked the lane, he went for the bucket. There will be more contributors: Martin Mendoza, I like Rosales and Credo. David Jaime has to look to make better decisions with the ball.

Defense: Full court pressure? Check!
Hustle? Check!
Rebounding: A smaller team compared to the Red Cubs yet they won the battle of the boards, 56-48.
Depth: Better than last year that’s for sure.

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