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Sports

UAAP Season 76 Revelations

Pio Garcia - The Philippine Star

So in a season filled with all the drama you can imagine, there’s still some semblance of a silver lining despite all the hullaballoo that has happened. We’ve seen it all. Suspensions, a toothless commissioner, a crazy board, fool-I mean rule-book, you name it, the UAAP has it. But all in all, revelations popped up here and there to give this already dreadful season a little modicum of “fun” (been on the bandwagon since Season 65, that’s for you “fans!”). Well, just a teeny, tiny bit. Anyway, here are maybe the major head-turners for me, again, my view, not everyone else’s, not yours, for Season 76, where drama never ends.

1. Bobby Ray Parks unlocking that ability to maximize his teammates

Junior has been a monster very difficult to guard since year 1. However, it was a me-against-the-whole-opposition kind of thing. He led the league in scoring but netted only five wins for his school. Year two was a bit different. Parks seemed to get “it” and get it he did. League MVP and with a Final Four seat to boot. However, it was all far from over. See, junior here was not able to maximize his teammates to help him grab the W. But this year? It’s an entirely different story. He finally trusts his teammates fully to bail him out and make him look good with the decision making. High-five Ice Villamor!

2. Juno Sauler proving to be the genius DLSU needs

Boss Danding would be very happy with the decision to put Sauler in charge of his alma mater than Gee Abanilla. By all strokes, this is pure genius. Sauler has proven to be the right man for this young Archers. He has given burn to erstwhile buried players. Well, except Oda Tampus of course who has mightily regressed from his Squires days. He also has figured out how to use his team’s impressive height, something Abanilla was not able to take advantage of in his tenure. I am greatly looking forward to this tactician making waves in the Final Four perennially.

3. AVO finally shows up

A year ago, Arnold Van Opstal was pretty much every big man’s female dog. All height, no skill. Well, let’s cut him some slack, he did have the skills, it was a matter of utilizing them. With Jun Limpot taking him under his wing, er hood, AVO is finally realizing how big a star he can be. He’s no longer some guy who is athletic. He’s now the guy who is athletic AND skillful. He’s a shoo-in for the Gilas program if I might. He’s way ahead of Greg Slaughter now, someone he can definitely move around against.

4. Leo Austria bidding adieu to the UAAP. Again.

This will be the second time Adamson coach Leo Austria will say goodbye to the league. If there’s one coach I would love on my team, it’s this guy, paired with a Norman Black of course. Can you imagine the teaching that he can do to your college players in terms of basketball know how? That’s indispensable. We’ll miss you coach!

5. This number belongs to UE

UE filed the most number of protests I can remember in a single season. Most would stay at one or two per team. Some don’t even bother, well in basketball at least. UE? Dude they nailed five on their door! While it was well within their rights to file protest after protest, I wonder, won’t it put the team, and the school maybe (?), in a very bad light of being a bad sport? Maybe, yes. Maybe, no. I’ll go with maybe, yes. While they may have gotten to have the short end of the stick 100 percent of the time (proven by my “fans”), that doesn’t mean that you have to have your quivering butt write you a letter of complaint, clarification, or protest. With their recent boardroom action, let’s face this fact: UE would not have been up in arms if they won that game against Ateneo. They would have made it to Final Four contention if they did win so there’s no point to complain. But they didn’t win hence the complaint. That fact is very glaring, let’s not work around it.

6. Bo Perasol is not cut out for college basketball

The verdict is still out there. But for me, Bo Perasol, for all his I-back-my-players-up attitude, is ill-suited for college basketball. In college ball, what you want are teachers. Look at all the great coaches in America: Mike Krzyewski, Lute Olson, John Wooden, Roy Williams, among others were professors of basketball. Here in the country, who do we have? Norman Black, Leo Austria, Topex Robinson, Nash Racela to an extent and who else? Yep. We lack teachers. And Bo isn’t one of them. For me, I’d still hand the reigns to Sandy Arespacochaga, longtime assistant of Black and someone who has soaked up all he can from a great coach and is really ready for the next level. Coach Sandy did lead an Ateneo team to the Final Four sans its King Eagle, Larry Fonacier. Coach Bo? Refraining from being a pessimist here, but he may not see the Final Four in his maiden season. And as my friend puts it, he has a lot to learn from Black, from coaching chops to class act. And somebody chain him to a post not near the game venue against UST.

7. Ateneo depending on La Salle for a crack at the Final Four

This is funny. Depending on your archrival must be the worst taste to roll down one’s gullet (it already tastes bad for me). But following that loss to NU, Ateneo’s hopes for a Final Four seat rests on La Salle. The Green Archers need to beat the Tigers from UST for the Blue Eagles to get a chance for a Final Four seat via a do-or-die setto. #DramaNeverEnds.

File your letters of clarifications, complaints and protests to @PioVGarcia.

ARNOLD VAN OPSTAL ATENEO BO PERASOL FINAL FINAL FOUR FOUR LA SALLE LEO AUSTRIA NORMAN BLACK
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