Tuesday, 10 December 2013 2 Comments
by Sam Evardone
“There can only be one,” is the tag for this year’s Philippine Collegiate Champions League (PCCL) season. And after numerous collegiate basketball games and tourneys in this basketball-crazy country, we are finally down to four schools: The UAAP and NCAA champions, who automatically qualify in the Final Four, the De La Salle University Green Archers and the San Beda College Red Lions, the Southern regional champions, the Southwestern University Cobras and the Luzon/Metro Manila champions, the Far Eastern University Tamaraws.
The PCCL Final Four took off this Monday at the Blue Eagle Gym at the Ateneo de Manila University in Katipunan, Quezon City. All of the games were tightly contested, with one game needing an extra period just to settle the outcome, proving that these four teams are really the best college basketball teams in the country.
Here are takeaways from the first day of the PCCL Final Four:
1. There is no place for complacency in this league
Call it a day of upsets as both of the UAAP and NCAA champs, La Salle and San Beda lost in their first game in the Final Four. The Green Archers were trounced in overtime by the SWU Cobras that was sparked by the hot-shooting of Melvin Holper in 3-point land. Add in the potent trio of ex-DLSU guard Mac Tallo, big man Landry Sanjo and Monbert Arong, the reigning UAAP champs were simply overwhelmed by the under-the-radar (not anymore) team from Cebu, showing us that men from the south can ball, too.
After three consecutive baskets from the Cobras to open the overtime period, the Green Archers seemed to panic as their shots were clanging off the rim and their defense was just not helping them as the Cobras outscored the Green Archers, 16-6 in overtime.
In the second game, the Red Lions were bullied in the second half by the Tamaraws. Mike Tolomia did his best Terrence Romeo/RR Garcia impersonation as he scored 21 of his 23 points in the final two quarters. The Anthony Hargrove-Christian Sentcheu duo contained San Beda big guy Ola Adeogun as he was limited to just 9 points.
Another interesting stat to point out is Baser Amer’s gun-shyness in this game. He only attempted two shots in the whole game. Everybody knows that ‘The Hammer’ can take over games and score at will whenever he wants, only the problem was he was too selfless against the Tams.
If there’s a lesson that these two championship teams learned today, it was to not let their guard down and play 40, or even more, minutes of basketball. Now that they’ve lost a game, DLSU and San Beda can’t afford to lose tomorrow if they still want to be crowned as the best basketball program in the country.
2. FEU may have found their new King Tamaraw in Mike Tolomia
After scoring 23 points, dishing out four assists and collecting four boards against the NCAA champs, Mike has proved that he can be the main man for FEU. His monster second half was the highlight of the afternoon as he turned a passive first half into a relentless second half. He sliced, diced and bullied his way through the San Beda defense that boasts one of the best perimeter defenders in college basketball in Rome De La Rosa and a tough rim protector in Ola Adeogun.
If he keeps this torrid pace in the PCCL or even lead his Tams to a national championship, expect the Morayta faithful to crown a new King Tamaraw.
3. The FEU Tamaraws have moved on from the Garcia-Romeo tandem
All of the critics were ready to write them off after they lost both RR Garcia and Terrence Romeo to the PBA, but this new FEU squad is more than willing to prove the doubters wrong as they made another statement game in today’s PCCL action when they handed the San Beda Red Lions their first defeat after winning the NCAA crown. They won, 62-56, without the help of national team player Mac Belo and head coach Nash Racela.
Their passes are much crispier, their team chemistry a wee bit better as the FEU Tams’ game has evolved from a two-man offense into a team of selfless ballplayers who embrace the concept of team basketball. This dark horse is ready to impress.
The second day of the PCCL Final Four will be held tomorrow at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan. The first game will feature Ola Adeogun go against two man-mountains in Landry Sanjo and Fabrice Siewe as the San Beda College Red Lions will go against the Southwestern University Cobras at 2pm. The FEU Tamaraws will try to exact their revenge for a failed UAAP Finals bid as they face Jeron Teng and the Green Archers at 4pm. Live broadcast will be on Studio 23.
SWU (68) – Arong 17, Tallo 13, Mohammed 12, Sanjo 11, Holper 9, Goloran 4, Siewe 2, Bautista 0, Bregondo 0, Pardo 0, Panerio 0
DLSU (58) – T. Torres 12, Perkins 10, Salem 7, Teng 7, Vosotros 6, Tampus 4, N. Torres 4, Bolick 2, Dela Paz 2, Montalbo 2, Reyes 2
9-16, 23-30, 33-37, 52-52, 68-58 (OT)
• AVO participated in shootaround but was not fielded in against SWU.
• This is the first time Mac Tallo has ever faced his former team, the DLSU Green Archers.
FEU (62) – Tolomia 23, Cruz 11, Hargrove 8, Iñigo 8, Jose 4, Pogoy 4, Lee Yu 2, Mendoza 2, Dennison 0, Sentcheu 0
SBC (56) – Dela Cruz 13, Sara 12, De La Rosa 10, Adeogun 9, A. Semerad 3, Amer 3, Abarcar 2, Pascual 2, D. Semerad 2, Koga 0, Ludovice 0
14-14, 24-30, 46-40, 62-56
• FEU played without forward Mac Belo and head coach Nash Racela because of the SEA Games in Myanmar.