Triangle Offense

FINAL FOUR PREVIEW? UAAP Sunday (August 23) Predictions by _celestial


As La Salle’s chances for a semifinals  bid started to ebb away following UP’s clobbering of the Green Achers, 83-78, earlier today, UST and UE, who boast of an identical 5-4 record prematurely completing the final four, will face a tough challenge in shattering the third place tie as they go against the league’s top two teams tomorrow.

The Tigers, who bowed down to the same team in a rout in the first round, tries to pull an upset over the rejuvenated Eagles in the first game at 2pm while the Warriors shoot for a first win over the Tamaraws in the main event pegged at 4pm after putting up a tight contest almost three weeks ago.


UST_Growling_Tigers_logo versus blueeagle

The Sports Minded: Ateneo by nine points.

Ateneo is playing big right now. Only a flawless game by UST can give them a chance. Anything less won’t get it done.

KC13: Ateneo by 15 points.

Pick your poison. UST, despite its explosive gunners and athletic forwards, still hasn’t learned to play D  as we’ve seen in that awful showing against UP. They will face a double whammy in limiting Al Hussaini’s production down low while preventing Ateneo’s outside stringers. Theydon’t have a center who plays big in the paint that will be able to provide them interior D. If they are lucky to be able to pick the less deadly’ poision in the two and make Ateneo play their running game, they have a shot. Although pulling off a high-scoring venture would favor them, if they start giving away counterpat baskets on the offensive end, forget about winning this game, or even another championship.

P.S. If Ababou goes into early foul trouble, forget everything.

On Point: Ateneo by 10 points.

The main weapon for the Tigers is their offense. If UST’s three-point shooting shows up, this will be a tight contest. If not, this will be another rout. Again, the Tigers must control the boards to be able to run. Ababou’s outside shooting must drop to open the lane for Teng and other slashers of UST. For Ateneo, they would want to attack the inside early to create open shots for their jump shooters. UST can’t afford not to double-team Al-Hussaini thus, Salamat, Reyes and co. will be open. If the Tigers don’t close-out quickly, Ateneo will have a field day from downtown.

ue versus FEU_Tamaraws_logo

The Sports Minded: FEU by 14 points.

FEU will make this a statement game.

KC13: FEU by single digits.

This is actually one of the better matchups to watch in the league right now. UE can keep up with  FEU’s size. Especially downlow where Aldrech Ramos thrives, they have Pari Llagas and Elmer Espiritu to patrol. One of FEU’s edge lie on its backcourt. UE may have Paul Lee, but he’s more of a scoring point. With that, ball movement will be the key knowing that some of UE’s players have the tendency to take ill-advised shots.

On Point: FEU by eight points.

Besides Ateneo, UE is the only other team that can bang with FEU down low. The only problem for the Red Warriors is who will they use to defend the wing players of the Tamaraws? Plus, UE is loaded with players with a shoot-first mentality thus, their players tend to look for their own shots whether it’s forced or hurried which will hurt them ’cause FEU, on the other hand is known for limiting its opponents to just one shot per possession.


UAAP Saturday (August 15) Predictions by _celestial

In the main event at 4pm, the UST Tigers (4-3) seek to avenge their first round loss to FEU Tamaraws (6-1) as  UST’s big troika (Dylan Ababou, Jeric Teng and Khasim Mirza) tries to skip through the tough Cervantes-less FEU powerhouse (Aldrech Ramos, Mark Barocca, JR Cawaling, Paul Sanga and RR Garcia). *gulps* That doesn’t sound appealing to the Tiger fans, at all. Especially if your top gunner was limited to a conference-low 10 points the last time.

A win for UST will seal the elusive *solo* third spot previously clogged by two more teams in De La Salle Archers and UE Red Warrios who are now both lodged at 4-4 after recent setbacks.

Meanwhile the battle of the erstwhile spellbound UP (now) Fighting Maroons (1-6) over the NU Bulldogs (2-5) is set at 2 pm.


NU_Bulldogs_logo versus post-18-1090300055

The Sports Minded: NU by four points.

Wow, this will be exciting. NU overpowered UP in the first round though I expect a closer outcome. This is a ‘crucial’ battle for the cellar. Up will have a tough time guarding Ponferrada down low.

KC13: UP by single digits.

I actually see a good game. We’ve seen both teams make title contenders run for their money in several games in the first round. UP, who is fueled by Woody Co (le sigh) and his miraculous shooting and that rookie who has game, will snatch this one if they get their scoring going to try and level the playing field for them in the cellar. Force of habit.

On Point: UP by nine points.

Woody Co’s decent play continues to surprise me as well as Sison’s. Also, watch out for the other Reyes (the rookie point guard), this kid got skills. Meanwhile, NU just came from a big win over Adamson and I think they’ll play well but not good enough. UP’s just on the rise despite their number of losses.

UST_Growling_Tigers_logo versus FEU_Tamaraws_logo

The Sports Minded: UST by seven points.

Cervantes will serve his suspension tomorrow, who cares! FEU is so deep that losing one key guy doesn’t even mean a thing. They outclassed the Tigersin the first round I highly doubt it will happen again. The Tigers MUST break the press effectively and execute if not, they are in deep trouble. St. Dominic will help them. FEU won’t have an answer for divine intervention.

KC13: FEU by single digits.

Depsite Cervantes being slapped a one-game suspension, they have the rest of their Gilas boys to step up. Lest *all* of FEU’s players succumbs to an off night. UST, on the other hand, vowed to play a different kind of ball in the second round. If they can play D against the league’s top defensive team as of the moment, they have a shot. But if they keep on giving those incredibly open shots. No chance. As much as it breaks my heart, FEU will again outclass UST in the most heartbreaking way possible.

On Point: FEU by eight points.

Cervantes will not play later but, FEU doesn’t mind. Why worry if you have Ramos, Barroca, Cawaling, Sanga and Garcia running the show? On the other hand, Ababou, Mirza and Teng must bring their A-game to avoid another thrashing from the first place Tams, but the X-factor for UST is the pace of the game. They have to control the tempo, and for that to happen– they have to own the boards to be able to get their high-octane offense going. Of course, it’s easier said than done considering how FEU can frustrate and limit you with their top-caliber defense.

Mid season report: Who’s the UAAP MVP so far? by thesportsminded

Most analysts predicted that the Smart Gilas guys, namely Andy Barroca, Rabeh Al-Hussaini (though he haven’t really trained with Gilas much), Dylan Ababou, Aldrech Ramos, would be the top contenders for this year’s most valuable player. They definitely lived up to the hype and as expected they are the usual suspects so far in UAAP play.

They say Barroca has the upperhand but Ababou’s game so far is solid because he needs to carry half the load for the Tigers night in night out. While, highly touted Paul Lee has yet to show consistency with his game.

Let’s rank them on my top five MVP candidates so far after the first round.

5. Khasim Mirza (16.2 ppg, 8.1 rpg)- After a disappearing act last season, Mirza is finally living up to his potential and playing one hell of a consistent season so far. He knows that the Tigers need him big time for them to have a chance and so far he’s giving them a fighting chance with his steady play. He needs to keep it going for the Tigers to have a crack at the next round.

4. Rabeh Al-Hussaini (15.2 ppg, 6.8 rpg) – Numbers are a little bit down from last year but the reigning MVP is still playing his usual game. He’s still a formidable force inside. He is the Eagles’ meal ticket and so far he is playing steady. Ateneo is still on top. He’s doing his job.

3. Andy Barroca (13.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 3.2 apg) – He is the pre-season pick for MVP but why is he only ranked third on my list and FEU is at the top along with ADMU? Simple. He doesn’t need to carry a lot of load given the depth of the Tams and rookie RR Garcia’s consistent play at the point to back him up. It doesn’t mean that he’s not playing the way he should. His leadership is what the Tams need and he is consistently delivering so far. He is a monster player but he doesn’t need to be that player each game because they are a very deep team.

2. Aldrech Ramos (11 ppg, 10.6 rpg) – This guy is a monster. FEU got a dime in this guy. He blocks shots, protects that paint, scores, gives inside presence. What more can you ask for? The numbers speak for itself. He’s averaging a double double after the first round and don’t expect him to slow down. He is a huge factor why the Tams have been virtually invincible in their past outings. Ramos will be the key if FEU wants to win it all.

1. Dylan Ababou (19 ppg, 7.1 rpg) – A lot is expected out of him this season and so far he is delivering the goods for the Tigers. He is dubbed as the King Tiger this season for a reason. According to some analysts pre-season synopsis, if Ababou doesn’t average around 20 points the Tigers won’t have a decent chance. Ababou so far is living up to it as he leads the league in scoring (as expected). He needs to continue delivering and carry the Tigers each game if they are to advance to the final four. No Ababou, no chance for the Tigers. That’s how it will be for the Tigers all season long.

I think if the Tigers make the final four, Ababou just might get the plum this year.