Midterm Report Cards: NU, UE, FEU, ADMU

NATIONAL UNIVERSITY (Standing: 2-5, 7th)

Offense (Points for: 66.4  Ranking: 4th) – B

I almost put a C+ there considering how many points in their offense they should fix. But because they are ranked 4th after 7 games, I gave them a B.

The league’s leading scorer in Bobby Ray Parks has been NU’s focal point on offense and if you just look at what he puts up on the board and stop there, you might say that Parks is playing great basketball. I disagree. When the ball is with him, he tries to do too much against a defense that is planned to stop him. He ends up forcing shots and turning the ball over. Parks must learn how to pass off of double and triple teams and make his teammates better.

Another problem I see is that Parks’ teammates defer to him too much when they are very good offensive players in their own rights. Choi Ignacio has been very impressive at breaking the defense down and creating. Alolino has been making good decisions as a PG. So why not go to them more?

Their offense has shown flashes of brilliance when they go inside-out (or Mbe-Parks). Their Dwight Howard/Amare Stoudemire (pick-and-roll then swing to the side then dump down low to a sealing big man) for Mbe has been very effective. They played their best game when they fully utilized Mbe against ADU.

Defense (Points Against: 69.9  Ranking: 7th) – F

They are just playing awful defense. With a new group and a new coach, NU is practically a new team and it has been evident on D. NU’s players haven’t been communicating properly on D; blowing covers, not helping each other and playing bad post defense.

Taking everything into consideration, they should think of using zone defense more often. That way their bad perimeter defense wouldn’t be that exposed, it would be easier for help defense to come and Mbe’s shot-blocking presence will be made prominent.

Coaching (Eric Altamirano) – D

I had high hopes for Eric Altamirano. With Ray Parks and Mbe at his disposal along with a serviceable supporting cast, I expected them to be well in the Final Four race.  His decision to stick with Khobuntin at the PF has not paid dividends at all. Khobuntin’s purpose is to stretch the floor for Mbe so he can have more space down low. So if you’re not going to use Mbe at the post that much then it defeats the purpose playing small at the 4 spot. Altamirano also relied on Ray Parks too much.

Most of all, there is no excuse for losing to a “UAAP Team B” in UE!

Overall: D

Nowhere to go but up!

UNIVERSITY OF THE EAST (Standing: 1-6, 8th)

Offense (Points For: 60.1  Ranking: 8th) – Incomplete

If your best player is Paul Zamar then good luck. There is no other explanation for UE’s futility on offense but lack of talent.

But they don’t lack heart as they scored the biggest upset of the season against NU.

Defense (Points Against: 74.4   Ranking: 8th) – C+

You don’t need a lot of talent to play good defense. But size is everything; obviously UE needs a lot more of it.

Coaching (Jerry Codinera) – B+

To win a game with that kind of line-up against a talented NU team is very impressive.  Jerry Codinera must be a very good motivator.

Overall: B

One more upset!

FAR EASTERN UNIVERSITY (Standing: 4-3, 3rd)

Offense (Points For: 62.1, Ranking: 7th) – F

Really? 7th? After UP?

I didn’t expect that the loss of Noundou would affect FEU’s offense this much. With FEU not having many options down low, other teams can afford to play FEU’s perimeter players tight. Their supposed deadly combination of Tolomia, Romeo and Garcia is out of sync. Romeo has hit the “sophomore wall”; missing most of his open jumpers. Former MVP R.r. Garcia started out strong but has slowed down considerably especially since that loss to UP. Tolomia has been a good addition as he has done most of the penetration; the next step is for him to jell with the other two. As for Aldrech Ramos, he should be given more touches.

Defense (Points Against: 64.7, Ranking: 3rd) – B+

The Tamaraws played very good defense in the first round and that has kept them afloat. They have been communicating well on D; helping each other out with fast rotations, good close-outs (on shooters) and good post defense. Romeo’s pressure defense has disrupted their opponents’ offense and Sentcheu’s size has helped them a lot down low.

Coaching (Bert Flores) – D

Bert Flores has a lot to fix offensively. It’s his job to find a threat down low. If Ateneo was able to win a Championship with Golla and Chua then FEU can win games with their current set of big men. It’s about utilizing their strengths. Flores also has to find a way to get Romeo back on track offensively.

The champion coach has to calm down in the 4th quarter and avoid getting technical fouls in crucial moments. His temper cost them 2 games.

Overall: C+

Low post presence!

ATENEO DE MANILA UNIVERSITY (Standing: 7-0, 1st)

Offense (Points For: 72.4   Ranking: 1st – A

Norman Black has found a way to integrate Kiefer Ravena on offense. Good thing for him Blue Mamba has bought into his system. Greg Slaughter has been very BIG for them. He is not only an easy target down low but he also has been effective shooting set shots. You might not notice but a lot of Ateneo’s league-leading 15 fastbreak points per game are caused by Slaughter’s presence down low. He has made it easier both for himself and Nico Salva to get defensive rebounds. These easy repossessions lead to quick and easy transition points. Salva, Long and Monfort have been very consistent on offense. They have complemented Ravena and Slaughter well.

Their second unit was a problem in the first part of the first round. Gonzaga and Austria have been contributing well for the past couple of games.

Their main problem is their 3-point shooting. They haven’t capitalized much on open shots. If they make their outside shots in the second round, it’s going to be very hard to beat them.

Defense (Points Against: 57.9   Ranking: 1st) – A

Greg Slaughter just makes life easier for everyone on D. Imagine how many shots he has changed (or blocked). When opponents see him manning the paint they normally would have second thoughts on attacking the basket (and 9 out of 10 times they won’t). Knowing that Slaughter is behind them, most of Ateneo’s players have played great defense.

The Blue Eagles’ defense is not all about Slaughter but it has been about the culture that Black has instilled in his boys. Everyone commits on defense.

Coaching (Norman Black) – A

Save for that game against Adamson, Norman Black has done an exceptional job.

Overall: A

THRICE TO BEAT???

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