July 13, 2009

Top 10: Opening weekend

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So this space will join in the fun with a top 10 ranker every week, from Week 1 of the UAAP till the last elimination round game for the UAAP – since those are the only weeks where both the NCAA and the UAAP are playing.
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#1: UE Red Warriors
The main game of the UAAP’s opening day was the first blockbuster of the season: and the result of the game will play into the hearts and minds of all of the people involved. Lemme say: I don’t care if DLSU is a “second round” or a “September” team; if at the end of the eliminations, they were one game short of a twice to beat advantage, or worse, the #4 seed, they’d have to blame themselves for this game.

#2 Ateneo Blue Eagles
The Eagles held off a pesky Tamaraws team in the end game, but not before Long and Al-Hussaini were posterized by transmutation by the FEU defense. Hey, a lot tipped this game to be a preview of the playoffs, or even the Finals, and with this win, Ateneo has an inside track against the team from Morayta.

#3 San Sebastian Stags
The boys from Recto are so sick and tired of finishing a game short of the playoffs. Now they are stomping their class with a 3–0 slate. A drubbing of fellow undefeated team CSB and three-time defending champions San Beda is sure to send shock waves a la a North Korean atom bomb.

#4 JRU Heavy Bombers
Pastry jokes aside, the Bombers from Shaw have no major roster losses, and returned with an intact core from their last season’s Cinderella run. Now if Vanguardia can vanquish the ghosts of deciding game blowouts to break the NCAA’s longest current championship drought, we’d see a celebration worthy of a 37-year wait.

#5 San Beda Red Lions
What’s a good way to bounce back over a shock loss? Blow out the next game silly. With a point differential of +55, the Red Lions have the best point differential in the NCAA, even better than the undefeated teams.

#6 FEU Tamaraws
Despite falling short against the Blue and White, the Tamaraws need not feel that bad for they had shown the league what they are all about: hardcore defense, and the face that’ll make fangirls swoon now that Chris Tiu is gone.

#7 NU Bulldogs
No one gave a (insert profanity here) about the Bulldogs from Jhocson. After beating a UP team that is said to be the best team in years and had a legit crack at the Final Four, the Bulldogs are sure to give a bite against the opposition. Now if Manny Dandan can give the Dogs some consistency, they are sure to shock the opposition for Season 72.

#8 UST Growling Tigers
No Jervy? No problem. Well, actually, there is a problem. But the Tigers were able to overcome unfortunate turnovers and an Adamson trey that the ring spit out after going through the hoop “three-fourths” of the way. But the Tigers would need more than just luck to win against the #7 team next week.

#9 Adamson Falcons
For some reason, the Falcons are now back from their 2003–2006 situation: a “might-be” contender that “might” crack the Final Four. With a balanced scoring (unheard of during the 2003–2006 period), Leo Austria can instill a winning drive to the perennial underachievers of the UAAP, despite an opening day setback.

#10 Mapua Cardinals
KDP is gone, and the Cards needed a leader, as evidenced by their second game heartbreaker against the “other” team from Taft. With guest team AUF on the way, the Cards vented out their frustration to the hapless Kapampangans enroute to a trashing of the Great Danes.

Bubbling under:
Letran Knights (1–2): A 20-point+ blowout of a guest team is not that convincing. Now beat the big boys, and start on Monday with the #10 team.
Arellano Chiefs (2–1): An almost 30-point+ loss against the defending champion is not the way to convince the people that you are for real, especially after beating a perennial playoff contender.
CSB Blazers (2–1): At least Richard del Rosario can brag he had a better record than that “older” Taft team.
UP Fighting Maroons (0–1): Live to the hype boys, your school had been deprived for so long already.

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