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    UAAP yearender: Teams that missed semis make it up with prized recruits

    Dec 23, 2020
    Patrick Ramos of NU, La Salle's Isaiah Blanco-Hontiveros, Roger Syvels delos Reyes of Adamson, and Clint Escamis try to make an immediate impact for their teams.

    A YEAR has gone by since the public last got its taste of collegiate basketball.

    Balls may have not been tipped and buzzers did not horn, but in true 2020 fashion, changes were truly felt even without the on-court action.

    That's certainly true for the UAAP, which has seen massive changes in its landscape in the past year.

    Yes, games weren't played, but in this extended offseason, the recruitment wars truly went full-blast.

    Spin.ph felt that it's just right that we take a look on how things stand so that we can get a glimpse of what's to come when the games hopefully return in 2021.

    For our first part, we take a look at the four which missed the cut last year.

    La Salle Green Archers


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    Additions: Coach Derrick Pumaren, CJ Austria, Warren Calara, Raven Cortez, Deo Cuajao, Emman Galman, Isaiah Blanco-Hontiveros, Evan Nelle, Mark Nonoy, Benjamin Philips, Michael Philips, Jonnel Policarpio, Kevin Quiambao, Paul Turco.

    What do you do when a famed basketball program fails to make it to the Final Four for two consecutive seasons?

    In La Salle, that meant a massive overhaul and it brought back a familiar face in Derrick Pumaren to call the shots.

    Not only that as the Green Archers went bullish in their recruits, securing the commitments of bluechip rookies such as Kevin Quiambao, Jonnel Policarpio, Raven Cortez, and Isaiah Blanco-Hontiveros.

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    It also didn't hurt that La Salle welcomed Evan Nelle from San Beda and Mark Nonoy from University of Santo Tomas with open arms , proven commodities that suddenly gave the Taft side its backcourt of the future.

    The Green Archers' aggressive approach not only insured them for the next season, but also their futures regardless of what's next for Justine Baltazar and Aljun Melecio.

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    Safe to say, expect La Salle to be up there again whenever the UAAP resumes.

    Adamson Soaring Falcons


    Additions: Andrei Abellera, Mario Barasi, Jhon Calisay, Roger Syvels delos Reyes, Joaquin Jaymalin, Adrian Punzalan, RV Yanes.

    Losing Jerrick Ahanmisi will certainly hurt, but that only means that the youth revolution will go all-out for Adamson next year.

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    Jerom Lastimosa will finally have the playmaking chores to himself, while former Baby Falcons Joem Sabandal and AP Manlapaz are primed for breakout seasons.

    Coach Franz Pumaren also loaded up in solid contributors with his recruits, from Fil-Italians Roger Syvels delos Reyes and Andrei Abellera to former Ateneo Blue Eaglets team captain Joaquin Jaymalin.

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    It may not be an easy path to the Final Four for the Soaring Falcons, but with the extended break prolonging everyone's preparations, these young turks surely are bound to develop chemistry and run the multi-titled mentor's system to a tee.

    And if that means overachieving and turning heads to make a surprise run to the semifinals?

    Well, that's a possibility which is definitely more than welcome in San Marcelino.

    UE Red Warriors


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    Additions: Coach Jack Santiago, Josiah Alcantara, Orin Catacutan, Clint Escamis, Brian Enriquez, Kyle Paranada, Migs Pascual, CJ Payawal

    University of the East may be under new management, but coach Jack Santiago will still benefit from the gains of last season.

    Alex Diakhite looked like a behemoth down low, while young guns Harvey Pagsanjan and Neil Tolentino got the necessary experience to prove that they belong on the court in that past Red Warriors campaign.

    Add to that the impending debut of Mapua standout Clint Escamis and UE certainly has an intriguing collection of talent at hand.

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    But intrigue doesn't necessarily translate to development, and growing pains are expected to be felt in Recto, especially on Santiago's part as he tries to make a winning team out of the assets he got in his first year at the helm.

    Frankly speaking, it's still a long shot for the Red Warriors to end their decade-long Final Four drought, yet if the next season gives them character-building victories, they certainly are treading the right path.

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    NU Bulldogs


    Additions: Coach Jeff Napa, Alfonso Crisostomo, Terrence Crisostomo, Germy Mahinay, Patrick Ramos

    Oh, what a difference a year makes.

    National University was supposed to get a huge shot in the arm from its successful juniors program, yet here we are now, with no one of those assets staying in Jhocson.

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    It's a bitter buildup for the Bulldogs which were reeling from another forgettable season and the loss of Dave Ildefonso, but if there's something they did right, it is to give the keys to a familiar face in Jeff Napa.

    The decorated and well-loved alumnus will be given the unenviable task of bringing back NU to relevancy and he already got a bit of a leg-up as he works with his former Bullpups studs led by John Lloyd Clemente in this rebuild.

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    But the job, Napa insists, isn't over as he continues to scour the high school field to reinforce this Bulldogs squad.

    For now, we'll be keeping a close eye on this one.

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    Patrick Ramos of NU, La Salle's Isaiah Blanco-Hontiveros, Roger Syvels delos Reyes of Adamson, and Clint Escamis try to make an immediate impact for their teams.
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