UAAP post-season: UP, Adamson need to work on improvement

Dave Moralde celebrates with the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons bench during a game in the UAAP  | Efigenio Toledo IV/Philstar.com Photo

UP Fighting Maroons (3-11, seventh)
 
They may have bettered their win total from Season 77 but make no mistake, this was a bummer and a failure of a season. Their target was the Final Four and they made no bones about it after strong showings during the summer tourneys and they looked good. Come UAAP time, they floundered. Badly.
 
There are stories of discord. How this player/s didn't like this coach, coaches arguing with one anotherÂ… pretty much par for the course over the last few seasons.
 
They have a plethora of players who can put the ball in the hoop. The problem is there is only one basketball. Yet, they scored the fewest points in the league (64.6 points per game). Why is that so? Well, they didn't exactly take good shots as they finished with a 34 percent field goal accuracy rate. Furthermore, until they learn to pass the ball around (they finished with a paltry 9.9 assists per game) they won't win.
 
I also heard that they are disappointed in Cheick Kone's performance. Hmm. Maybe, but if they want to point fingers they should look elsewhere first because they were wanting in so many ways. 
 
The Fighting Maroons were pretty much at the bottom of almost every single statistical category that it sounds cruel to list everyone of them.
 
They have the talent for sure. They just need to add some pieces to help inside and most definitely, they have their work cut out for them in the off-season.
 
Adamson Soaring Falcons (3-11, eighth)
 
Now even at 3-8, this was a very good season for Adamson. Why is it better when they have the same record as UP and yet the Falcons finished eighth in the league?
 
For one, not much was expected from them. There were even projections (myself included) that they could go 0-14 unlike UP where they were expected to really fight not for survival but for a Final FOur slot.
 
And where have you seen a team that loses four starters to graduation from the previous year, their head coach and a top player during the middle of the summer tournaments, and yet they challenged every UAAP team for 3/4 of the match before ultimately losing? They should have even gotten a fourth win but they were robbed by the referees in that second round match against NU.
 
Just as it was in Season 77 when many bench players were pressed for long minutes, it was the same for this season as William Polican, Dawn Ochea, Ivan Villanueva, and Jerome Garcia had to learn on the job how to handle the long minutes and pressure cooker that is the UAAP.
 
Even for rookies like JD Tungcab, it was a learning process as he more often than not tried to force the issue. 
 
They finished 2-6 during the summer (with Matt Aquino who has since departed for NU) with Papi Sarr, JD Tungcab, Nico Capote leading the charge. By the end of the UAAP at 3-11, Sarr was their top scorer and force inside with Joseph Nalos backing him up in points.
 
Yes, they are a young team but they were fun to watch. Given another year of seasoning, they will be darn good. 
 
Terrific job by head coach Mike Fermin.
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