FOR this UAAP seedings, Spin.ph conducted a poll among coaches from both inside and outside the UAAP, team officials, and noted analysts on their take for this season’s basketball tournament.
From the survey, three trends emerged.
- La Salle is the unanimous top favorite for the season.
- At least five teams in FEU, UST, UE, Ateneo, and NU will fight it out for the next three Final Four spots.
- A toss-up between UP and Adamson at the bottom of the standings.
Here's how the teams rank, based on the poll:
1. De La Salle
La Salle's almost intact lineup and its championship experience have convinced coaches and analysts that this season's UAAP title is for La Salle to lose.
“They only lost LA Revilla (from last season's champion team). They got Julian Sargent who is very good. They know how to win already,” said national youth coach Jamike Jarin.
ABS-CBN Sports analyst Allan Gregorio said the championship experience gained by the Archers not just in last year’s UAAP but also in winning the Philippine Collegiate Champions League and the Filoil preseason tournament should give them a lot of confidence.
“I saw that game (championship against San Beda in the Filoil Cup) where they were down almost the entire game and yet their composure was there in the last five minutes. You just don’t get that kind of composure overnight,” said Gregorio.
Even without Terrence Romeo and RR Garcia, the Tamaraws should be in contention for a Final Four slot due to Nash Racela’s system. “They have a solid composition from six to nine (players). Hindi kasing-lalim ng La Salle pero definitely, may laban,” said one respondent.
Runners-up the last two seasons, the Tigers will still be right there in the thick of the hunt despite the departure of top scorer Jeric Teng and longtime coach Pido Jarencio.
“Whatever you say, they lost two of their starters but the core of the team is still there. Although they have a new coach, the team has been in the finals twice. Iba pa rin ‘yung experience,” said one coach.
The Red Warriors lost some members of their core from last season but the addition of Cameroonian Moustapha Arafat should be enough to secure the season host a place in the playoff round.
“You can’t take the team for granted with the addition of Arafat,” said one coach.
One coach pointed out that the Blue Eagles are a big man short of being a championship contender, but admitted that the five-time champions have quality players from the point guard to power forward positions.
“If they learn to play right away, they will contend," he said of Bo Perasol's new-look team.
Another concern for Ateneo is on how well its rookies can perform under the spotlight. "They got blue chip rookies but still, the experience will be a factor down the road,” said one coach.
Even with the loss of Bobby Ray Parks and Emmanuel Mbe, respondents believe the Bulldogs will still figure in the race for the Final Four.
“Alfred Aroga is coming in tapos another year (of experience) for JJ Alejandro. They have a formidable lineup,” said one league coach.
UP will take the seventh spot, one coach said, but only because of the downgrade in Adamson’s lineup. A team official, however, believes the Maroons will pull off a surprise or two this season.
“I think UP will make heads turn,” said a coach.
One coach said the loss of Jericho Cruz and Ingrid Sewa will be too much to overcome for the Falcons. No wonder most coaches polled had the Falcons grounded this season.
“That’s 30 points and 18 rebounds right there,” said the coach, referring to Cruz and Sewa's production.