After almost 2 weeks of UAAP Men’s Basketball, two teams are undefeated and two teams remain winless.
The team at the top of the standings and power rankings isn’t a surprise at all since a lot of people expected them to sweep the eliminations and win the entire thing. The Green Archers have been magnificent in their past 2 wins; both were very convincing.
The other undefeated team, the NU Bulldogs, has done their damage by playing excellent defense. Guess what? The Green Archers and the Bulldogs will face each other this Sunday. Now, that should be the game of the week!
Meanwhile, the other games this coming weekend will feature: ADMU vs Adamson, a battle between two surprising and unpredictable teams; UST vs UP and FEU vs UE, both games that feature teams with more losses than wins.
So, where does your favorite team/school stand in terms of strength and weakness? Let’s take a look at the third edition of FOX Sports UAAP Season 79 Men’s Basketball Power Rankings.
1. DLSU Green Archers (Last Ranking: 1; Trend: 0)
The Green Archers are starting to dominate the field. After their so-so win over FEU, they followed that up with crushing victories over UP (+18) and UST (+38). Their “Mayhem” defense is wreaking havoc on opposing teams. DLSU forced 34 turnovers vs UP and 40 against UST. Those numbers are mind-boggling. Furthermore, Ben Mbala was recently named the Player of the Week. He is definitely in the lead for both ROY and MVP awards. In fact, those awards are for his to lose. Now, DLSU held their collective breaths for a brief moment when Mbala fell hard to the floor vs UST. Luckily, no harm done.
Question of the week: Is it possible to naturalize Mbala so that he can play for Gilas Pilipinas?
2. NU Bulldogs (Last Ranking: 4; Trend: +2)
The Bulldogs were dealt a bad hand when Matt Aquino was deemed ineligible to play this season due to residency problems. The Bulldogs responded by winning both games without Aquino. They used their tough defense (ranked 1 in least points allowed) to defeat ADMU as they limited Aaron Black and Thirdy Ravena to 6 combined points. Their offense is doing well as they get contributions from multiple players: Rev Diputado, Matt Salem, J-Jay Alejandro and Alfred Aroga. NU will need Aroga to be exceptional when they play
DLSU next. Question of the week: Can their defense slow down Mbala and DLSU?
3. ADMU Blue Eagles (Last Ranking: 5; Trend: +2)
The Blue Eagles had a disappointing loss vs NU last Sunday, but they recovered by beating the Tamaraws. After 3 games, ADMU discovered that Mike Nieto is an integral part of their rotation. Mike Nieto has been their most consistent player and he showed that this past week when he had a career-high 14 points vs NU, then he came up with 9 points and 11 rebounds vs FEU. A sparkplug off the bench for the Eagles has been Jolo Mendoza. In the 2 games he played, Ateneo won both of them. Finally, credit goes to Thirdy Ravena for bouncing back and leading ADMU over FEU.
Question of the week: How severe is the injury to Aaron Black?
4. FEU Tamaraws (Last Ranking: 2; Trend: -2)
The defending champions are off to a slow start after 3 games. Their offense is misfiring and team captain Raymar Jose is at the forefront of that struggle. Jose is hitting only 36% of his shots but he has recorded 2 straight double-doubles which shows his good work ethic and effort. Prince Orizu and Richard Escoto are also playing well which gives FEU a solid frontline, arguably the 2nd best after DLSU. Regarding their backcourt, Wendel Comboy leads all the guards in scoring after he led the Tams with 20 points vs ADMU.
Question of the week: Can Prince Orizu consistently produce double-doubles?
5. ADU Soaring Falcons (Last Ranking: 3; Trend: -2)
The Falcons came back to earth last week when they encountered their first loss against FEU. In that game, the Falcons had problems making their perimeter shots (5 of 17 from deep) which was vastly different compared to their game vs UP when everything was falling. Still, rookie Jerrick Ahanmisi led them again in scoring and he can be a minor threat to Ben Mbala winning the ROY. Their other rookie, Robbie Manalang had a so-so game of 9 points and 1 assist after tallying 16 and 9 in his first game. On the bright side, Terrence Mustre had 10 points and 3 boards off the bench.
Question of the week: Will they learn how to balance an inside-outside type of attack?
6. UST Growling Tigers (Last Ranking: 7; Trend: +1)
The Growling Tigers felt good after beating UE over the weekend. Unfortunately, they played DLSU in their next game and they got manhandled. UST absorbed their worst loss, a 38-point drubbing, in the last 10 years. UST fell apart after the halftime break as they succumbed to the dreaded “Mayhem” press defense of DLSU. Moreover, team captain Louie Vigil and veteran players Kent Lao and Mario Bonleon could not get going vs La Salle. That trio only combined for 12 measly points. On the bright side, Renzo Subido has played back-to-back games of impressive basketball. He was great vs UE (career-high 26 points) and he led UST with 18 markers vs DLSU.
Question of the week: Can UST recover from this humbling loss when they play winless UP?
7. UE Red Warriors (Last Ranking: 6; Trend: -1)
The Red Warriors almost got their first win last week vs UST. Though winless after 2 games, UE should feel a little encouraged because both losses were tight and winnable. The loss to UST hurt a lot more though because they were up by as much as 15 points early, but still lost. Coach Derrick Pumaren was upset because he felt that his wards became selfish when the lead was in double digits. That’s actually strange because UE finished with 22 assists compared to just 17 for UST. What harmed UE more was their awful showing from the perimeter (2 of 21). Anyway, Bonbon Batiller has been a bright spot for them. He leads them in points and rebounds.
Question of the week: Who else will consistently produce aside from Batiller?
8. UP Fighting Maroons (Last Ranking: 8; Trend: 0)
The Fighting Maroons got blasted by DLSU in their second game. In two losses, their average deficit is -18.5 points even if UP was able to display competency during the first half. UP cannot simply go toe-to-toe with their opponent after the halftime break. A big part of the problem is their lack of defense, which is worst in the league. Other problems involve lack of effort and intensity. Paul Desiderio already lambasted his teammates for having a “losing mentality” because losses are easily expected and accepted. He wants his teammates to change that mindset and he will continue to play his best with the hopes that he might inspire the whole team.
Question of the week: When will they win their first game of the season? – By Rolly Mendoza
Follow this writer on Twitter: @rollzter
Rolly Mendoza writes opinion pieces for FOX Sports related to basketball