Tuesday, August 17, 2010

NCAA UAAP Power Rankings: Week 3

Probably the most exciting week for college basketball. Plenty of awesome matchups that could determine the rankings and some really good rivalry games as well. A lot of good basketball to look forward to this week. Ateneo vs La Salle and San Beda vs San Sebastian, on the same week. Pretty good scheduling, basketball gods.

Biggest jump: ADU (3 spots); Biggest drop: FEU (3 spots); Re-entries: AU Chiefs; Dropped out: NU Bulldogs

1 SBC Red Lions (Last week: 1; NCAA; 7-0)

Another week, another easy win. San Beda has hardly been tested in the first round of the NCAA. They’ve won all but one of their games (against Mapua) by double-digit margins and have posted a point differential of +23.5, nearly six points higher than last year’s +18. Well, the first real test happens Wednesday as the Red Lions face the team that dethroned them from the NCAA championship. Unlike last year, where JRU was actually legitimately in the mix, San Sebastian might be the only real threat to San Beda this year. But while the Stags lost leading scorer Jimbo Aquino, the Red Lions only got deeper with plenty of new blue chip recruits. Very interesting game, and we can’t wait to see how it turns out.

2 SSC-R Golden Stags (Last week: 3; NCAA; 7-0)

The Stags have their biggest assignment of the season set up as they face the juggernaut San Beda squad but these guys aren’t likely to be fazed. They’re playing spectacular basketball (their +13.4 differential is only slightly off their 17.6 last year), they’ve found a new alpha dog in MVP candidate Calvin Abueva to replace Jimbo Aquino and, well, they’ve got championship credentials now. Their only concern right now should be the slumping Ian Sangalang, who started the season averaging 9 points and 11.3 rebounds a game but has normed only 3.5 and 3.7 in the last four games. Sangalang and his size will be needed badly against the very large Red Lions frontcourt.

3 ADU Falcons (Last week: 6; UAAP; 7-2)

It was by no means a dominant week for the Falcons. They shocked the UAAP when they beat the undefeated FEU Tamaraws on a buzzer beating tip-in by Eric Camson last Thursday and they survived a double-OT thriller against UST over the weekend. But two wins is two wins, and they not only hold solo second at the moment, but they’ve also knocked down FEU a peg, and can make a realistic run at the top of the standings now. Adamson has become the master of closing out games, and that’s a great thing. The only question mark now is how to close out teams like UST earlier, so that they don’t have to go 2 OTs in the first place.

4 ADMU Blue Eagles (Last week: 4; UAAP; 6-2)

Sure, they temporarily drop out of the tie for 2nd place, and FEU is still a full game and a half ahead of the Blue Eagles. But we’re not going to let a team that had a dominant showing in a 16-point win fall in the rankings. Ateneo found plenty of heroes in their last game. Eman Monfort scored 23 points on just 13 shots with 6 boards, 5 assists and 4 steals. Ryan Buenafe had a double-double in points and rebounds to go with 4 dimes. Justin Chua scored 16 points on 8 of 10 shooting. And Eric Salamat, despite having a bad shooting night, dropped off 9 assists to up his total to 24 in the last three games. They’re discovering new weapons by the game, and since their coach believes that the best team is usually the one that improves the most over the course of the season, then they have to be pretty happy with how the season has gone so far.

5 FEU Tamaraws (Last week: 2; UAAP; 8-1)

Rough week for FEU. First they lose their first game this season to Adamson, then they get taken to overtime by a 2-6 UE Red Warriors team. To top it all off, big man Reil Cervantes took a nasty swipe at an airborne Paul Lee in the dying minutes of OT that was called an unsportsmanlike foul, Cervantes’ second of the season. That means he gets suspended for the Tams’ game against a dangerous UST squad on Saturday. And with both Adamson and Ateneo breathing down their necks, that’s practically a must-win game if they want to secure the top spot in the UAAP, or even just a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four.

6 MIT Cardinals (Last week: 5; NCAA; 5-2)

The Cards get a break this week, and that cost them a spot in the rankings. But I’m sure these guys don’t mind, because that break gives them rest and extra prep time for their game against JRU this week, which would break the tie for 3rd place in the NCAA. Of course, 3rd and 4th spots won’t mean much difference at this point, because you’re still playing on the wrong end of a twice-to-beat against either San Beda or San Sebastian. It’s pick your poison either way, but a win over the Heavy Bombers would be a big confident boost to Mapua, the only team that gave the Red Lions a tough time so far this season.

7 JRU Heavy Bombers (Last week: 7; NCAA; 5-2)

The Bombers barely escaped with a victory over EAC this week, and there are several concerns for this squad right now. Sure, they haven’t dropped a game to any team outside of the top two, just like last year. But last year, they were crushing the rest of the league with a point differential nearing the double-digits. This year, their wins have been mostly close and that means they aren’t playing near the level they used to.

8 DLSU Green Archers (Last week: 8; UAAP; 5-3)

La Salle survives a scare from NU and has put a fairly comfortable distance between them (5-3) and the teams playing catch-up, NU (3-5) and UST (3-6). Now they’ve got the Ateneo-La Salle special to look forward to on Sunday, which could be big for them. Big man Papot Paredes has been absolutely dominating when he’s been on the floor (11 rebounds and 5.9 blocks per 36 minutes). In wins, he’s averaged 13.2 minutes and only 6.3 in their losses. Can we see him average more minutes now, please?

9 AU Chiefs (Re-entry; NCAA; 3-5)

The Chiefs sneak back into the rankings with a huge win over Letran that draws them back into 5th place in the NCAA. Gerald Lapuz played the game of his life in that one, and probably the most dominant performance this season, as he scored 29 points (on a mind-blowing .892 eFG% and .925 TS%) and 10 rebounds as Arellano won by just two points.

10 CSJL Knights (Last week: 10; NCAA; 3-5)

Letran salvaged the week with a win over an Argel Mendoza-less EAC Generals squad. Jaypee Belencion finally broke out for the Knights. Holding a reputation as a streak shooter, he was more slump than streak going into the game, shooting just 29% from the 3. Belencion hit 6 threes at a 50% clip as the Knights finished tied at 5th with Arellano.

Ranked games this week: MIT (6) vs JRU (7), Wed; SBC (1) vs SSC-R (2), Wed; ADMU (4) vs DLSU (8), Sun

No comments:

Post a Comment