Tuesday, 31 July 2012 4,249 Views / 13 Comments
It’s been an excellent one month so far in college hoops as both the NCAA and UAAP thrilled us with highly exciting games. This season could very well be the most balanced in both leagues in recent years.
In the NCAA, all teams had already been defeated. All teams have at least one win as well. Right from the very first game on opening day (June 23), Letran already set the tone for the season by upending an intact San Sebastian crew, 80-74.
Then on July 12, last year’s cellar dweller Perpetual Help shocked defending back-to-back champion San Beda, 88-87, in overtime.
The UAAP has its surprises as well. Only one team, FEU, remains undefeated, even when three of their four wins were close calls. UST has been the biggest revelation so far as the Tigers upset both defending titlist and five-peat seeking Ateneo and top contender NU, even when they succumbed to La Salle in their first game of the season. The highly anticipated match-up between the Blue Eagles and Bulldogs ended in a blow out in favor of the defending champs.
In both leagues, it’s difficult to predict which teams will make it to the Final Four, unlike in previous years. The Letran Knights, which ended Season 87 at third place with a 15-5 card, have already absorbed three defeats in six games, all from unlikely conquerors – UPHSD, Arellano and St. Benilde. So far, the top four teams are JRU (5-1), Perpetual Help (5-2), and San Beda and San Sebastian, both with 4-1 records. Letran and CSB follow with 3-3 and 3-4 cards respectively.
We also have witnessed some of the most amazing moments in college basketball ever. First was the debut game this season of the three-peat seeking Red Lions. Only six players were allowed to play against the AU Chiefs after the league slapped one-game suspensions on eight SBC cagers, and a four-game ban on Nigerian rookie Olaide Adeogun, after their reported involvement in a fracas during an NCAA volleyball game in the school gym late last year.
But the remaining Red Lions, dubbed the “Super Six,” managed to accomplish an almost impossible mission by stamping their class on the Chiefs, 81-71, even when five of the six are first-timers in the NCAA men’s division.
Then, in the SBC-UPHSD game, Lion Baser Amer threw an amazing shot from the backcourt and with just 0.8-second left in play to force overtime. But in the extra five minutes, the hard-fighting Altas stormed back from a four-point deficit to spoil San Beda’s magical run, and complete the upset win.
Three games later, the Altas continued to be the talk of the town as they escaped imminent defeat at the hands of the EAC Generals, after they erased an eleven-point deficit with less than two minutes remaining in play. Jett Vidal connected with a triple with just 5.1 ticks left to left his team to victory over the hard-luck Emilio Aguinaldo, 72-71.
Meanwhile, in the UAAP, five teams are looming to be strong contenders for the four semis slots. FEU, Ateneo, UST, NU and DLSU are early frontrunners.
More exciting games are coming in the next few weeks for both leagues. Among the most awaited NCAA jousts are San Beda versus San Sebastian (August 9), JRU versus Letran (August 9), and San Beda versus Letran (August 11). In the UAAP, the upcoming match-ups between NU and FEU (August 2), NU and DLSU (August 11), and Ateneo and FEU (August 12) are much anticipated.
Thank God we are only in the First Round.