Wild, wild Wednesday for UAAP

Enzo Flojo
It's a wild, wild Wednesday for the UAAP.

PBA READY? Perkins is a complete package. And he still has a lot of room for improvement. Photo by Rappler/Josh Albelda.

MANILA, Philippines — I have to admit, I didn’t watch the Wednesday games with much intensity. I was, instead, focused on twitterverse, where updates about the UAAP Board’s decision (read: reaction) regarding the Temporary Restraining Order handed down by Judge Manuel Sta. Cruz of Regional Trial Court Branch 226 and updates about decisions on personnel suspensions and appeals were being shared.

Thanks to the tweets of fellow sportswriters, it was revealed that the UAAP Board honored the TRO, but didn’t allow Mikee Bartolome (the plaintiff) to swim for UP. That was, of course, in contradiction to what the RTC actually wanted. Judge Sta. Cruz clearly stated that the UAAP should “cease and desist from imposing the residency rule and allow the plaintiff to be eligible so she can participate in the UAAP swimming competition this coming Sept. 19, 2013.”

Crystal clear.

But, still, the UAAP didn’t budge.

And then yesterday the Board saw the light. According to UAAP Secretary-Treasurer Malou Isip, the Board had to respect the TRO AND let Bartolome swim else be held in contempt by the court.

Boom.

I am now hoping the September 11 preliminary injunction hearing also ends up in favor not only of Bartolome but all the student-athletes adversely affected by this unnecessary high-school-to-college residency rule.

And regarding another controversial front, the Board suspended coach Bo Perasol of Ateneo for one game and banned De La Salle superfan JJ Atayde from ever watching live again this season. Frankly speaking, I am quite surprised at this turn of events. I expected the Board to give coach Bo a warning and, honestly, I found the ban on Atayde a tad too harsh as well. Maybe a written/stern warning would have sufficed? 

Then again, perhaps the Board just didn’t want things to escalate should a similar incident happen again. I guess its decision was more preventive than anything else, and it’s just unfortunate that coach Bo and Mr. Atayde were made examples.

Mammie suddenly returns

Another surprise was Charles Mammie actually being allowed to play for the UE Red Warriors. This decision was handed out just in time, of course. Even DLSU coach Juno Sauler confessed post-game how surprised he was that “Mammie returned.” Despite the unforeseen development, however, his team still won. I tell you, this La Salle team is steadily improving, and it looks to be the biggest thorn on NU’s hopes of copping its first Ray Parks-era title.

Speaking of Parks, man, he was all-around awesome against the hapless UP Fighting Maroons, who, not surprisingly, are still winless a few games into the Rey Madrid tenure. Parks was super splendid in this win for the Bulldogs, netting 30 points on 12/20 FG shooting, 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 1 block. Three-time MVP? As long as he doesn’t register a 0/20 night anytime soon, and as long as NU doesn’t tank in its last couple of games, then I think he should get it.

Helping him out were Jean Mbe, who registered 13 points on top of 14 rebounds, while Gelo Alolino handed out 9 assists in another sterling show of playmaking. For most other teams, Alolino would probably be seen as a top-tier scorer, but in NU his job is mainly to distribute the basketball, and he has done that with aplomb.

Another guy who played well was on the other end of the spectrum – Raul Soyud of UP.

Soyud pumped in 17 points, 12 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 1 steal. He’s a pro-ready big man, for sure, but it’s just too bad he’s stuck in a direction-less program. Sayang. Maybe the Maroons should consider giving illustrious team alumni like Benjie Paras and Ronnie Magsanoc tempting offers to get on board the hoops program. I can see coach Ronnie being an awesome bench tactician and Benjie becoming an amazing big man coach. That should be a start, right? Maybe they can also ask coach Eric Altamirano if he can switch sides and return to his alma mater? Heck, perhaps guys like Marvin Cruz, Pao Mendoza, or Toti Almeda can help. This is the sort of situation that just needs a really BIG shot in the arm.

I think UP can also benefit from joining “less competitive” offseason tournaments and win those, just so the guys can actually feel how it is to win again. I mean, isn’t this what the UE Red Warriors have been doing? They join smaller leagues, win, and carry that winning attitude to the UAAP. C’mon, UP, we’re rooting for you!

Lean, green machine

In contrast, a team that isn’t in dire need of any intervention is De La Salle. As of this writing, the Green Archers remain unbeaten in the second round. They are 5-0, and they should be in prime shape as they take on NU next and then close the elims versus UST. The Greenies are now at second place, and, by all indications, I think the FEU Tamaraws will have a tough time trying to catch up to DLSU at this point (I am picking Adamson to beat FEU tomorrow).

Sure, it took DLSU 45 minutes to beat UE, but, hey, they were dominant in that OT session. Of course, it could have just as easily been a loss had Roi Sumang hit BOTH his free throws in the dying seconds of regulation, but, still, we have to give credit to La Salle. Coach Sauler’s wards just stepped up in the extra period, with Jeron Teng and Arnold Van Opstal pairing up for 13 of DLSU’s 19 markers.

I have been a huge Teng critic, but even I have to admit he was sensational in this game. The former Xavier Stallion hit 17 points on 6/12 FG shooting, grabbed 7 rebounds, had 4 assists, and yet he was just the second-best player on the roster!

Jason Perkins has become the de facto go-to-guy for this team, and rightly so. The newcomer logged 22 points, hitting all three of his trey attempts, hauled down 9 boards, blocked 2 shots, and had just 1 turnover in 35 minutes of play. Perkins’s game just screams of efficiency. Heck, this early, he might already be good enough to be pegged a first-round PBA Draft pick.

Another potential pro prospect is Almond Vosotros, who has been on a tear, sniping left and right. He’s not really a high-percentage shooter, but he hits about a couple of threes per game and usually hits them in the biggest moments. He shot 12 times from beyond the arc here and found the bottom of the net 4 times. Not bad. The guy leads the league in three-pointers made per game (2.83) and total three-pointers made (34). CANNOT LEAVE HIM OPEN.

The results of this past Wednesday point me to a potentially crazy wind-up to the eliminations. I won’t be surprised if DLSU upends NU on Sunday (tying them at first place) and Adamson drops FEU. I expect UST to beat UP and then Ateneo should bounce back over UE. Should all of these (practically baseless and biased, mind you) projections hold true, then we will have DLSU and NU at first place, FEU at third, Ateneo and UST at fourth, UE at sixth, Adamson at seventh, and UP last.

It’ll be one of the wildest finishes ever. – Rappler.com

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