New-look Eagles skip preseason tourneys, train abroad
Rick Olivares (The Philippine Star) - January 30, 2014 - 3:25pm

MANILA, Philippines -- If you want to catch Ateneo’s new rookies in action you’ll have to either go to their tune up matches at the Moro Lorenzo Sports Center or wait for Season 77 of the UAAP to tip off. The Blue Eagles won’t be participating in any of the pre-season tournaments such as the Filoil Flying V Premier Cup or even the Fr. Martin’s Cup that have been staple of every summer’s tournaments for the past decade or so.

According to team manager Chris Quimpo, the team will be undergoing a lot of training and teaching under second year head coach Bo Perasol and his new coaching staff. The Blue Eagles will be holding training camps in the United States, Japan, and Korea this off-season.

The Blue Eagles with an impressive haul of blue chip rookies will be concentrating on training especially with a new slew of coaches brought to the blue end of Katipunan. That includes former UP Maroons Ricky Dandan, Ronnie Magsanoc, and Xavier Nunag.

Don’t think for one minute that there are too many cooks in the kitchen as the former assistants of Joe Lipa, Joel Banal, and Norman Black – Sandy Arespacochaga, Gene Afable, Gabby Severino, and Jon Jacinto -- are still around. They have blended very well.

Ateneo have reloaded mightily with a top notch rookie haul that includes former Blue Eaglets Thirdy Ravena and Jay Javelosa (who played for Reedley International School the past two seasons), former San Beda Red Cub Arvin Tolentino, Hope Christian High School’s frontline of Clint Doliguez and John Apacible, and NU Bullpups’ point guard Hubert Cani.

This rookie class has more awards and championships that the 2008 batch of Ryan Buenafe, Nico Salva, Justin Chua, and Vince Burke.

Let’s take a look at their rookies.

John Apacible, power forward-center
Not since Greg Slaughter will the Blue Eagles have a post-up player. Gee. That wasn’t too long ago. Well, Ryan Buenafe was a very good post-up player. Nevertheless, Apacible has good post-up moves. He just has to be consistent on the kick out. John’s got good athleticism and a good nose for the ball that he uses for a plethora of putbacks.

Hubert Cani, point guard
The Iceman cometh. Unflappable and clutch. Excellent range with his jump shot. Has a pull up jumper that in my opinion makes him difficult to guard. Deceptively slow but if you misread him, he’ll burn you by blowing past you for a lay-up or a drop pass to a cutting teammate. Great vision that allows him to make terrific passes. Will make Ateneo history as the first ever NU alum to move to Katipunan and play for the Blue Eagles.

Clint Doliguez, small forward
You will love his fighting heart as he plays both ends of the floor. Can be a big time player as he can put points on the board in a hurry. Has a three-point shot. A medium range jumper. Can drive and finish. Plays hellacious defense.

Jay Javelosa, forward-center
Started out in his Ateneo Grade School days running the point before coaches because of their traditional way of thinking moved him to center due to a growth spurt. Good range on his jumper and good post moves. Can pass that ball very well. Good defensive instincts too. But not the fastest player. Was a man playing among boys in high school so it will be revealing how he does against taller and more physical players in college.

Thirdy Ravena, small forward
Not as assertive as Kiefer was during his age but blessed with incredible potential. A do-it-all player who if he gains massive confidence will help Perasol’s team.

Arvin Tolentino, forward-center
Not your typical center. Is more of a small forward as he’s got good range on his outside shot and he likes to drive inside. One of the more talented players coming out this year.

If the rookies do not play like rookies in the next UAAP season then they will be of huge help to the veteran core of Kiefer Ravena, Von Pessumal, Gwyne Capacio, Nico Elorde, and Chris Newsome. 

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