Back to Reality

Pio Garcia - The Philippine Star

What a week that was for college basketball. And what a way for reality to bite teams back in the ass, right? Well, for three collegiate teams, it’s about forgetting the shock of a lifetime that they were dealt with and move on and prove to everyone else that the tags given to them before the start of the college calendar is well-deserved and with merit.

San Beda Red Lions

Imagine that. Two unheralded and most likely doormat teams pushed you to the limit and one got away with the biggest catch in their lives: they got your number. And you know what’s worse than that? That one team that hasn’t beaten you since they entered the league, got that gargantuan upset and showed everybody how they can beat you guys.

It’s kind of ugly really that Ola hasn’t been the same since I saw him get crossed up pretty badly by NU’s Alfred Aroga in FilOil play. I know that was the preseason, but come on, where is the fire this guy is playing with? There’s little of it. He smiles a lot maybe. Unlike Sam Ekwe who was all business and was really mean inside the paint.

But there are two glaring problems that are in SBC’s way to the title: Trust and outside sniping.

Trust? Well, I received bad news from a couple of Red Lions alumni: the Semerad twins. I can’t fault the players for feeling weird with David and Anthony, for they did leave SBC in the cold, stating stagnation and tried to get into Ateneo before Norman Black rebuffed them. Who wouldn’t feel bad right?

For the outside shooting issue, well, face it Red Lion faithful, there’s no more Garvo Lanete to bail you out. There’s no legit outside threat for the Red Lions this time around enabling teams to just park the bus and park that paint. They would keep on doing that unless Ola decides to finally show up. Why? Three and a half rebounds for a 6’9”-10” behemoth who can create space for himself? Can’t do that man.

Arellano University Chiefs

James Forrester is playing hurt they said. But that’s no excuse to throw about especially if you have guys like Keith Agovida, Gio Jalalon and even Ralph Salcedo on the bench. Those guys could play. But this is in no disrespect to the Stags’ upset of a loaded Arellano team. It’s more a testament of who wanted it more.

This was also evident in their escape from the Pirates where they let Aziz Mbomiko dictate how things are going to be inside the paint with his all-out effort. Thing is, there’s no simple I just turn on the ON switch thing. It should be 100 percent effort all the time, right off the bat, right off the jump. There’s now feeling out quarter. Go out and launch your haymakers, box out hard and not let Andrei Mendoza get under your skin with all his taunting and chamba shots. This tirador ain’t worth scrat Prince Caperal, Julius Cadavis, John Bangga. Make him feel that he won’t be pushing you around. Enough finessing. Time to get downright brutal.

The same goes to you James Forrester. Where’s that fire?

University of the East Red Warriors

The last time a team cared about winning a preseason championship, everybody laughed at them.

I sure hope Roi Sumang and the rest of the Red Warriors don’t sit on their FilOil championship just like what NU did a few years back. Winning that thing isn’t the bomb guys. Winning a league title or national title is.

Rude awakening for UE by a masterful stroke by Terrence Romeo, RR Garcia and the rest of the FEU Tamaraws (I can’t believe I mentioned masterful and FEU in the same sentence). They reverted to their old form of being a sieve. They were over-reliant on Charles Mammie and Roi Sumang to bail them out. Thing was, Mammie wasn’t even allowed to play being saddled with four fouls at the onset of the Tamaraw juggernaut.

But the biggest problem was: where was Chris Javier? Javier was downright effective after the jump. He was active, grabbing boards, no missed defensive rotations, changing shots. But it seemed as they became so Mammie-infused, Boysie Zamar forgot his 6’7” slotman.

If the Warriors want to go the distance, they should have Javier in mind. Involving Ralf Olivares consistently is also not a bad thing. Lord Casajeros’ antics are ugly and so is his shooting. They should be subtracted. Sumido should gain confidence that he is better than Casajeros and can be a vital cog in the Red Warriors machine.

It’s still too early to call the curtain and the concerns might be smoothed out for the three schools mentioned above. However, there are harsh realities to face. College basketball is not what it once was.

Everybody can play now.

Follow @PioVGarcia for more college hoops action and rants!











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