NCAA Power Rankings Week 0: San Beda begins season on top
1. San Beda College Red Lions
(2012 overall record - 18 wins and 4 losses)
The Semerad twins should more than make up for the departure of Jake Pascual, and while the spitfire scoring of Melo Lim and Anjo Caram will be missed, I'm picking Ryusei Koga and Francis Abarcar to break out this season. Oh, and did I mention how they still have Baser Amer, Arthur Dela Cruz, Kyle Pascual, and Ola Adeogun?
2. Arellano University Chiefs
(2012 overall record - 6 wins and 12 losses)
No way the Chiefs are going to lose a dozen games this season. Not if James Forrester and Nard Pinto can continue to score the way they did this past summer. Their combined FG% isn't way up there, but they can score in bunches and that should be enough to tide them through most games. Also, AU was the second-best defensive NCAA squad in the summer, at least in terms of points allowed. If they can do that as well, then a top two finish is mighty probable.
3. Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights
(2012 overall record - 15 wins and 8 losses)
The Knights are sure to be contenders this season. Yes, even with the departure of the Alas boys and Jam Cortes. Mark Cruz and rookie Rey Nambatac will probably miss significantly more shots than they make, but that's the only way to go for the Muralla quintet. The kicker is Raymund Almazan, who should register double-doubles in perpetuity, until they get eliminated in the Final Four of course.
4. San Sebastian College - Recoletos Golden Stags
(2012 overall record - 13 wins and 7 losses)
What does Topex Robinson do with a team that saw TEN guys leave after last season? Hope and pray. Oh, and try to give potential stars Jaymark Perez and Leo De Vera as much daylight as he can. The Stags aren't going to rely on more than a handful of people this season, but those people have proven they can play big when needed. I expect Perez to be a triple-double threat, while De Vera should be a match-up nightmare on the wings. Big things are also expected from holdovers Jovit Dela Cruz and Jon Rebullos, as well as Ausssie-bred Bradwyn Guinto.
5. College of St. Benilde Blazers
(2012 overall record - 5 wins and 13 losses)
There isn't much to go but up from where CSB was at the end of last year. With scoring leader Carlo Lastimosa and playmaker Joel Tolentino both out of the roster, the onus will be on guys like Mark Romero, Paolo Taha, and Luis Sinco to lead the Greenies. They did finish a respectable 3-5 in the Filoil league, which was good enough for fourth-best among the NCAA squads. Romero should be a scoring machine, while big men JR Ongtengco and Fons Saavedra should be solid in the paint.
6. Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals
(2012 overall record - 8 wins and 10 losses)
At least the sublime inside-outside pair of Noube Happi and Jan Jamon is returning. The Generals didn't do so well over the summer, but they might be a fringe Final Four team this season. If Happi and Jamon can be consistent, and guys like Francis Munsayac and Igee King break out in several games, then maybe, just maybe, the Generals can sneak in through the backdoor.
7. Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers
(2012 overall record - 10 wins and 9 losses)
You thought Baste's case was bad? How about having a grand total of THREE guys returning from last season, and, of those three, only Mike Mabulac sees really heavy minutes? Pao Pontejos and Phil Paniamogan will live up to JRU's moniker, but how far can that take them? Well, not very far that's for sure.
8. Lyceum of the Philippines University Pirates
(2012 overall record - 3 wins and 15 losses)
Let's see. This team was dead last in the previous season. They no longer have two of their top three scorers (Chris Cayabyab and Floricel Guevarra). AND they have more new guys than they do returnees. Not much in terms of expectations, huh? Oh, but at least Dex Zamora and Shane Ko should lift them just a tad higher than the bottom two.
9. University of Perpetual Help System Dalta Altas
(2012 overall record - 11 wins and 9 losses)
The Altas were the surprise Final Four team last year, but I HIGHLY doubt if they can repeat the feat this season. Nosa Omorogbe should now be this team's de facto leader, but that isn't saying a lot. Juneric Baloria and Harold Arboleda can both try to shoot as much as Jett Vidal did last year, but they won't make as many big shots. A lot will depend on how well Earl Thompson and Femi Babayemi can play, but it remains to be seen if they will be 100%.
10. Mapua Institute of Technology Cardinals
(2012 overall record - 8 wins and 10 losses): What does Atoy Co do with a team who lost three of its top four players (Mike Parala, Josan Nimes, and Gab Banal)? Ken Ighalo is still around, but that might not be saying a lot either. So throw in the towel? Not necessarily. If guys like Joseph Eriobu and Raph Layug can step up, then maybe winning a handful of games isn't too far-fetched, but finishing in the middle of the pack or challenging for a Final Four? Insert sad face. - Rappler.com
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