NCAA Power Rankings: Letran charging hard

Pio Garcia
We rank the NCAA teams midway through Season 89.

LOUDER THAN A ROAR. The Knights upended the Lions in their matchup. Photo by Dizon.

MANILA, Philippines — We are midway into the season yes, but that doesn’t mean that we should stop ourselves from following suit as well. It’s the start of the second round, true and diehard NCAA fans. And are you still cheering wildly for your school as they make that last push towards the second round? Yes? We do hope so! Let’s get rolling for Rappler’s NCAA Power Rankings.

1. Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights (9-1)

The Knights are the best basketball team in the Metro right now. Yes, even with the UAAP’s top dogs in the mix. We wonder whether they are peaking too early but they have been up and down in terms of consistency.

How do we say that? Well, they drubbed San Beda in the early goings of their game before the Red Lions got their bearings when the team should’ve stepped on the gas harder. Then they had to make a late run against Mapua to avoid loss number 2. This should build their character in preparation for the the Final Four. 

2. University of Perpetual Help System Dalta Altas (8-2)

The Perps have been rolling lately. Their sort of big three with Harold Arboleda, Nosa Omorogbe and NCAA scoring leader Juneric Baloria have their guns blazing. Baloria, a rookie, has been their most consistent performer all season long. He hasn’t had a single-digit scoring game. And he’s putting up big numbers against the Altas’ bigger opponents like Letran and San Beda. 

3. San Beda College Red Lions (8-2)

The loss against Letran must’ve hurt the Red Lions for sure that they vented it out on the hapless Lyceum Pirates. It took the Lions 8 games, however, to start force-feeding Ola Adeogun, which they haven’t been really doing all season and even in the Nigerian behemoth’s rookie year. This is still Baser Amer’s team but Adeogun will be the one dictating where they will go since there’s no one who can go toe to toe with him unless he’s named Raymund Almazan.

4. Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers (5-4)

The Bombers’ season has been dependent on the play of San Beda transferee Paolo Pontejos and Philip Paniamogan. When these two are clicking, it’s easier for the Bombers’ life. 

5. Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals (4-5)

The Generals have been idle since they outlasted Arellano a few weeks back. That should give banged-up Cedric Noubi Happi time to recover from his knee problems and a much-needed rest for Igee King who will spearhead their second-round campaign alongside Happi. Point guard play is still spotty at best but one cannot complain with a 4-5 record with a team that has offensive droughts here and there.

6. San Sebastian College-Recoletos Golden Stags (4-5)

Things are not looking well for Topex Robinson and his squad. They have been dropping winnable games by digging themselves a hole that is impossible to climb out of.

Fine, Wilson Baltazar was lucky against them but the Stags just couldn’t hit their shots even with a wide-open lane. For the Stags to even hover outside the Final Four bubble, they’ll need Jamil Ortuoste back in fighting form. More than CJ Perez’s forays, they need this guy the most. A little bit of Bradwyn Guinto hitting at least 13 points a night wouldn’t be bad too.

7. College of St. Benilde Blazers (3-6)

Oh this is a “what if” team. What if they pulled off victories in their first assignments? What if they just pushed themselves a little bit more? They could have been sitting pretty with a 6-3 card instead. They must finish the season with at least 11 wins for them to have a shot at the Final Four.

8. Arellano University Chiefs (3-6)

This is a team that was a Finals contender. On paper. Lately, they have been in a deer in headlights situation. James Forrester is still unserviceable after trying to get in a post-game melee against EAC. Koy Banal needs to lay out all his motivational cards to make this team pull through. Prince Caperal has been the lone consistent Chief since Day 1. But for them to succeed, Forrester has to wake up.

9. Mapua Cardinals (1-9)

Mapua is at the standings’ tailend and you can’t really blame a toothless team about it. Kenneth Ighalo has been soldiering on splendidly for the Cards in his last tour of duty. Joseph Eriobu is slowly getting his groove in time for next season’s wars. And the fact that they can keep close and make a game of it? Better than their record might speak for them.

10. Lyceum of the Philippines University Pirates (3-7)

They avoided the worst meltdown in years. LPU scored only 2 points via an Andrei Mendoza undergoal stab to make Wilson Baltazar’s career night worth it. After that, they got drubbed by San Beda wherein the latter vented its ire on them. Well, there’s still somebody worse than them, their own juniors team. Yikes. –

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