At First Glance: Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers
Pio Garcia (The Philippine Star) - June 20, 2013 - 12:00am

They started the season hot. It was a surprise considering they lost a good chunk of their scoring output. Yet coach Vergel Meneses was able to squeeze something out of them. They tapered towards the end of the season, letting Letran and Perpetual Help earn their seats when they should’ve fought it out. With no inside presence to speak of, life will be tough for the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers.

The Good

The Bombers haven’t had a good point guard since Mark Cagoco graduated. Cagoco wasn’t great, but he wasn’t pedestrian either. He was a floor general who knew what buttons to push. He made life easier for John Wilson and JR Sena in their heydays. Now? Well, the Bombers have Paolo Pontejos.

The dimunitive dynamo is as tough as they can get. He’s one of the bright spots of this team that is really short up front. And since the Bombers are going to rely on their perimeter game, you may as well pair up spitfire Byron Villarias with someone who can get him the ball as he runs rings through back picks and down screens.

This guy can score too, and in bunches at that. Together with Villarias, they’ll be offsetting Nate Matute’s departure and shall take the mantles of leadership. With Villarias, he’ll be sliding down to the off-guard spot where he can be a major problem. Yes, he needs the ball every time down, but this guy is teeming with talent that he can put it on the deck and go off-the-bounce or spot up or attack the rack.

The Bad

JRU is sorely lacking up front.

And that’s not just a problem. It’s a very big one. Gone are the days where they can still go to the post and get something going inside. JR Sena was their last true big man. They tried recruiting foreign student-athletes but Joe Etame was more of a dud and a flub.

If JRU wants to hang with the big boys, they need serious board work because the Adeoguns, the Babayemis, the Pascuals, the Caperals and the Almazans out there would not think twice of pouncing that weakness and repeatedly run away with multiple counts of murder in the paint. And if they could not get the rebounds, how could you fuel your offense? But knowing Vergel Meneses, he understands the task at hand.

He’ll just wow us.

The Ugly

From one school to another, this benefactor is jumping fences. We all know this family name. it may do good for the Bombers in the short term. But being shady and all that? They’ll be the next San Sebastian Stags.

When will the NCAA catch them with their hands in the cookie jar?

Watch out for…

Byron Villarias.

Mark that name. Remember it. Check it.

This guy will be on opposing coaches’ blackboards. With his performance in the D-League, Villarias can only get better. This guy can probably make people forget about former Heavy Bomber and NCAA MVP John Wilson with his own brand of fireworks.

Team Roster

1. Abanto, Nick Wilson C.

2. Balagtas, Marco Paulo M.

3. Benavides, Schever Anthony G.

4. Cortez, Robertzone VII G.

5. Dela Paz, Cris Jordan C.

6. Diego, Harley Frank V.

7. Gozum, Martin Joseph L.

8. Grospe, John Ervin P.

9. Juanico, Jerome E.

10. Lasquety, Gio Nicolo E.

11. Mabulac, Michael R.

12. Paniamogan, Philip Criszam J.

13. Pontejos, John Paolo B.

14. Salaveria, Juan Edilfierto G.

15. Sanchez, Dave Richard M.

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