Thursday, 15 October 2009 3,899 Views / 117 Comments
This has been the longest NCAA Season ever.Â The pretenders have been finally sifted out and all that remains are 4 worthy teams that are hopefully ready to make their push into the post season.
The San Beda Red Lions vs. The Letran Knights
Letran had the distinction of being the first team in the league to hand over San Sebastian’s first ever defeat in the elimination round.Â But can they pull off another tour de force against the heavily favored San Beda?Â Coach Louie Alas has seen and been in this situation countless times, I’m sure he’ll think of some gimmicks to slow down the rampaging Red Lions in their quest for a 4th straight finals appearance.
With the loss of Rey Guevarra (averaging 15.7 points per game)Â to an ACL injury that he suffered during their 2nd round encounter against the Red Lions, Coach Louie Alas will have to find a way to maximize his line up especially on the defensive end.
Letran’s leading scorer, RJ Jazul (avereging 17 points per game), rather than come off the bench, would have ride the starting line up once again.Â Hopefully up for the challenge is rookie Kevin Alas, who would probably start at the point guard position to give the Knights another scorer in the backcourt.Â Kristoffer Alas, Jam Cortes and Jaypee Belencion would have to step up to fill up the void left by their injured colleague and this include veterans Reymar Gutilban and John Foronda, each and everyone of them must do their share to stop the bleeding if they want to make a dent in San Beda’s 4th straight title hopes.
The Red Lions however are coming off a back to back encounter (for that twice to beat berth and 1st place in the standings) with then league leader, San Sebastian and San Beda might be under the weather at some point but Coach Frankie Lim’s team has remained positive and resilient all throughout the series, so little doubt remains if the Red Lions would falter now that the 4th trip to the finals is knocking at the front door.
With Jay-R Taganas temporarily out of the line up, their recent experience against the Golden Stags has somehow led Coach Frankie Lim to discoverÂ other options and tweaks to his current line up, and this will be very useful if the Red Lions would want to end this series as soon as possible.
Borgie Hermida, Garvo Lanete, Bam Gamalinda, Jake Pascual, and Dave Marcelo will perhaps form the core of Coach Lim’s starting five.Â Sudan Daniel, impact player Rome de la Rosa, reliable back up playmaker, Anjo Caram, and JR Tecson form the most lethal bench in the league.
My take: San Beda will go to the finals for the 4th straight time.
The San Sebastian Golden Stags vs. the Jose Rizal Heavy Bombers
San Sebastian has won both elimination round encounters but had lost three games deep in the 2nd round that led many to believe that the Golden Stags have peaked too soon.Â JRU, however, have cooled down a little bit in that 2nd round loss to San Sebastian, so this will be an interesting rematch as soon as this series takes off.
With the probable suspension of Jimbo Aquino in Game 1 due to his altercation during a playoff game with San Beda, the Golden Stags will be without their leading scorer, MVP candidate and team leaderÂ when they face a solid line up such as the Heavy Bombers.
Coach Ato Agustin has found an unlikely soldier willing to carry the torch in times of chaos is Calvin Abueva.Â Abueva proved to be a menace in both games against the Red Lions, with a 12 rebound average on both occasions to complement his hustle on both ends of the floor.
Ian Sangalang, Gilbert Bulawan, Dave Najorda and Ronald Pascual are one of the most skillful forwards in the league. They are versatile and cunning, a luxury that Coach Agustin has in his arsenal.
The Golden Stags frontline will be complimented by a dangerous backcourt crew of Pamboy Raymundo, Raymond Maconocido, Jonathan Semira, and Anthony del Rio majority of whom has the outside touch to clear the floor forÂ their frontline to operate.
Earlier in the season, I have predicted that JRU will capture the Season 85 trophy.Â My basis was a healthy Etame Joe and the Season 84 version of James Sena surrounded by a solid corps of veterans and rookies.Â So far, we have seen remnants of the Season 84 version of the Heavy Bombers in some parts in high gear with Joe finally seeing extensive action against San Sebastian in the 2nd round.
Leading MVP candidate John Wilson, Marc Cagoco, Nchotu Njei and Marvin Hayes have to bring their A-game if they want to make up for their faux pas against the Golden Stags.Â The rising contribution of John Agas and John Lopez will surely help the Heavy Bombers’ cause if they want to match the depth and energy of the Golden Stags.
My Take:Â San Sebastian in 2.