UAAP ready to roll

SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson - The Philippine Star

It’s all systems go for the UAAP men’s basketball 85th season which rolls out with a doubleheader at the MOA Arena tomorrow. Ask any of the coaches to pick a favorite and nobody will choose his own team because who needs the added pressure? Besides, college basketball is so unpredictable that anything can happen.

Newly-designated UAAP commissioner Dicky Bachmann said he’s ready to take on the task of running the league fairly and smoothly. “Grateful for this opportunity and excited to be part of UAAP,” he said. “With the help of my technical director Nestor Sembrano, supervisors of officials Jimmy Mariano and Marilee Orioste and the backing of the UAAP Board, we should be fine.”

Over a month ago, the UAAP held tryouts for referees and over 70 attended. PBA supervisor of officials and Olympic/World Cup referee Bong Pascual presided in the camp. “We will maintain a pool of 40 referees and will continue to update the pool depending on performance,” said Bachmann. “We were able to get the go-signal from PBA to tap referees from the PBA D-League and PBA 3x3 and we also have a number of referees from SBP, NCAA, SIRBA, GOAL National Referees and BRASCU.”

A key innovation that UAAP will introduce is the coaches’ challenge, a FIBA rule change effective world-wide tomorrow. A coach may challenge a call at any time during the game only once. The instant replay system will be activated when a challenge is made. There are reviewable plays by the referees even without a challenge so coaches must be careful not to pull the trigger prematurely. A rule carried over from the previous season is the listing of up to four reserve players aside from the regular 16-man lineup. Any of the reserve players may be activated to replace a regular player who tests positive. The COVID replacement will be charged a playing year if he plays more than three games. If less than three games, he will not lose a year of playing eligibility. The COVID replacement may be placed back in the reserve pool once the regular player tests negative and is reactivated. Reserves may not be activated to replace an injured regular player.

The season will welcome hoop legend Bal David as UST’s new head coach. The Racela brothers are back on opposite camps as Olsen is with FEU and Nash with host school Adamson. UP’s Goldwin Monteverde, now a Gilas assistant coach, returns in his second season with the defending champion Fighting Maroons. Ateneo’s Tab Baldwin has emerged from a swirl of controversy surrounding his exit from the Gilas program to reestablish himself as a dedicated college coach. With his Olympic and World Cup credentials, Baldwin has reportedly been offered contracts to coach national teams elsewhere but is sticking to Ateneo where he has won three UAAP titles. La Salle’s Derick Pumaren came close to barging into the UAAP Finals last season and will try to make another run. NU’s Jeff Napa has assembled a tough cast that won’t back down from battling the big boys while UE’s Jack Santiago is determined to break out of a winless record last season.


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