Preview: NCAA Season 91 (Part 2)

Topex Robinson of Lyceum, Gabby Velasco of St. Benilde, Aldin Ayo of Letran, Andy de Guzman of EAC, Aric del Rosario of Perpetual, Ed Cordero of Mapua, Jerry Codiñera of Arellano, Rodney Santos of San Sebastian, George Ella of JRU and Jamike Jarin of San Beda join hands during the NCAA Season 91 press conference at the Mall of Asia Arena. JOEY MENDOZA 

RELATED: NCAA Season 91 Preview (Part 1)

Letran Knights

The Knights have talent. Their biggest problem is the lack of quality and depth at the four or five spot. Rey Publico isn't a center. He is a small forward with height. Jomari Sollano, their wonderful new find is also cut in the same mold. Felix Apreku is a workhorse who will corral offensive boards and give Letran another stab at the basket. But…. The glaring problem is lack of ceiling and a certified rim protector.

With the emergence of rim protectors and an inside presence for other squads like Perpetual Help and JRU, that gives the Knights more problems. They are in the same boat as the College of Saint Benilde except that they still have some firepower.

Their fortunes will largely depends on the heroics of Mark Cruz, Rey Nambatac, Kevin Racal, and John Quinto with badly needed help from Public, Sollano, Apreku, McJour Luib and Jerrick Balanza.

They showed they are still capable of mixing it up and contending especially during the summer. But for them to really contend, they have to find ways of containing the opposing frontlines. Now this is a challenge because do you reveal your hand in the eliminations where wins will be hard to scrape by or do you do what you can now?

At this point, I figure they will show everything and try and book that Final Four slot. Anything else will be an overachievement at this point.

Team Roster:

Apreku Jr., Felix G.

Balagasay, Jerrick G.

Bernabe, Matthew M.

Buenaflor, Kevin T.

Calvo, John Paul

Cruz, Mark L.

Dela Pena, Chrisantoni M.

Gedaria, Tommy York

Luib, Mcjour B.

Nambatac, Rey Benedict

Publico Jr., Reynaldo J.

Quinto, Kier John R.

Racal, Kevin Kent R.

Sollano, Itomari T.

Mapua Cardinals

The Cardinals are a perplexing bunch. They have talent - albeit in their starting unit. But they need to know how to play alongside one another.

Watching them during the summer, the chemistry problems were obvious. When they needed to make a pass, they took a shot. When they needed to take the shot, they made the pass and that led to a violation, turnover, or poor attempt.

When the game was on the line, they went one on one.

Hopefully, they would have learned all they needed to know.

They've got talent in that starting unit - the do-it-all Josan Nimes, undersized power forward Mark Braña, and their wonderful and hardworking Nigerian center Allwell Oraeme. Stephen Que never met a shot he didn't like. Andretti Stevens - yes he is still around but is in his final year - can still conjure some of that magic and late-game heroics. Along with role players CJ Isit, Exeqiel Biteng, Raphael Layug and Justin Serrano, they showcased their wares in a tournament in Cebu against CESAFI squads. But those southern squads do not place a premium on defense and opt for the run-and-gun style.

While the NCAA has a similar style, that won't work against the likes of defensive-oriented teams like San Beda, Perpetual Help or JRU.

"If we learned these lessons from the pre-season then that will serve us well in the NCAA," said head coach Fortunato "Atoy" Co. "Hopefully, we did."

They aren't deep. They have some talent. What Mapua needs to do is put it together.

Aguirre, Denniel Jay

Biteng, Exeqiel

Brana, Mark Jayson

Dela Rosa, Buenaventura

Isit, Carlos

Layug, Raphael Joesh

Menina, Darell Shane

Nieles, John Paul

Nimes, Josan Michael

Oraeme, Allwell

Que, Stephen

Raflores, Buenaventura Jr.

Serrano, Justin Oliver

Stevens, Andrettimari

Villasenor, Ronnel

San Sebastian Stags

Life after CJ Perez Year One. With the King Stag, the supposed heir to Calvin Abueva now ensconced in Katipunan with Ateneo, the Stags will lean heavily on Jon Ortuoste and talented bigman Bradwyn Guinto for leadership and points. They will be supported by Michael Calisaan, Ryan Castelo, and Jerick Fabian, however, the concern is the bench play.

The best bet for the Stags is to try and keep it close so they have a chance. That also means that Ortuoste and Guinto have to stay fresh and foul-free to give San Sebastian a chance.

Team Roster:

Alvarez, Eravin Oliver C.

Bragais, Genmar M.

Bulanado, Allyn B.

Calisaan, Michael D.

Capobres, Alvin Hohn M.

Costelo, Ryan Paule A.

David, Jayson Well P.

Fabian, Jerick A.

Guinto, Bradwyn M.

Mercado, Justine Louie C.

Ortuoste, Jon Kervin P.

Pretta, Spencer C.

Santos, Jeffrey S.

Sibal, Jess Albert F.

Vera, Domenick E.

Lyceum Pirates

There is a premium on bigs today. For Lyceum to do well, they will need strong performances from Kevin Gabayni and Wilson Baltazar. If they don't play well, then they will have a long day at the office trying to snipe from the outside behind Joemari Lascastesantos and Jeremiah Taladua. Not much material here. They will try to steal wins here and there but the odds are stacked up against this squad.

Team Roster:

Alanes, Shaquille Oswald M.

Ayaay, Mer Jesper A.

Baltazar, Wilson S.

Bulawan, Jebb B.

Elmejrab, Seraj A.

Gabayni, Joseph Angelo B.

Lascastesantos, Joemari Y.

Lugo, Noah Tracy

Malabanan, Allyn Mark A.

Marata, Edcor C.

Mbida, Essono Guy Mellon

Nguidjol, Jean Victor

Soliman, Paul John

Sunga, Richmon Jenric G.

Taladua, Jeremiah M.

Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals

New coach (Andy De Guzman is now sitting for Gerry Esplana) but same old problems.

Chemistry, game smarts, and defense are all wanting. During the summer, they relied on stops and individual brilliance to battle. But they also crumbled in the end. They have talent. If Sidney Onwubere, their talented small forward, can let the game flow instead of forcing the issue he will blossom into a fine talent. Joshua General has his moments. He is smart and crafty. Deceptive even. But he will have to do more than bombard from the outside. He should also set up his teammates. And there's Francis Munsayac who can match up with the best of the NCAA's top point guards. If he can stay foul free and not give up silly fouls then he will keep his team in the fight.

The onus on this squad is to play smart.

Adoum Abba, Mbang

Bonileon, Mario Emmanuel II T.

Corilla, Dan Kenneth E.

Diego, Enjerico John J.

Estacio, John Edric C.

General, Jozhua Mecdaniel P.

Hamadou, Laminou

Mallari, Jefferson E.

Mejos, Chirst Fernan M.

Morada, Jose Remy II B.

Munsayac, Francis John T.

Onwubere, Sidney Nelson B.

Pascua, Raymund C.

Pascual, Faustine O.

Serrano, Jerald G.

comments powered by Disqus