Fourth of eight-part series
Elimination round record last year: 1-13 (Missed Final Four)
Key losses: Don Trollano, Jansen Rios, Ryan Monteclaro, Accel Inigo, Matthew Aquino
Key holdovers: Dawn Ochea, Ivan Villanueva, Joseph Nalos, William Polican
Newcomers: Papi Sarr, JD Tungcab, Jose Carlo Escalambre, Simon Camacho, Nico Capote, Gerald Fernandez, Alvin Margallo, Ken Miranda, Harold Ng.
AFTER a dismal performance last year, Adamson enters the season with renewed hopes behind several new faces including rookie coach Mike Fermin.
Spin.ph takes a look at five questions facing the Falcons heading into Season 78.
1. How will the departure of Don Trollano and the rest of the veterans affect Adamson’s chances this year?
For a team that won just a single game last year, the departure of Trollano and seasoned players Jansen Rios, Ryan Monteclaro, and Accel Inigo will definitely have a huge impact on the Falcons.
“Between Trollano and Rios, 30-20 (points-rebounds) ang nawala,” Fermin admitted.
The Falcons also lost a future key player in Matthew Aquino, son of PBA legend Marlou Aquino, who decided not to return for the school this season.
Adamson hopes the possible unfamiliarity of the other teams on the Falcons would be advantageous to their campaign.
“Advantage din sa amin ‘yun dahil hindi kami kilala,” Fermin added.
2. Who among the veterans will pick up the slack for Adamson?
Fermin admitted the Falcons won’t have a so-called go-to-guy this time and will rely heavily on team effort in the hopes of surpassing their woeful showing a year ago.
The Falcons will lean on Joseph Nalos, Ivan Villanueva, Dawn Ochea, and the rest of the veterans on the squad. Jerome Garcia returns to the team after last suiting up for the school in Season 76.
“May isang game, may mag-istep-up, sa next game iba naman. Ang hinahanap ko sa kanila is consistency,” said Fermin.
3. Can Papi Sarr and JD Tungcab continue their stellar play in the preseason?
The Falcons will parade a Cameroonian import in Sarr, who had an impressive preseason where he averaged 20.3 points and 10.3 rebounds during the Filoil tournament.
Fermin, however, said the real test for Sarr will be in the UAAP where he said the import should concentrate more on rebounding.
“We know he can score 20 points per game but the challenge is if he can get 10 rebounds. Maganda kung magawa niya ‘yun, then ‘yung puntos mahanap sa iba,” said Fermin.
Also in the line-up for the Falcons will be Tungcab, a player from the Adamson juniors team who was named part of the Mythical Five in Season 77 last year. He also emerged the second leading scorer for the team in the Filoil tournament.
“Mahusay pero hindi namin siya masyadong binibigyan ng load para hindi ma-pressure. Basta contribute lang,” said Fermin.
4. How is Mike Fermin adjusting to his new role?
A deputy with the Falcons last year, Fermin was elevated as head coach after Kenneth Duremdes stepped down from the post.
Despite coming in during the middle of the preseason, the rookie coach said the adjustment was minor since he’ll employ the same system the team had under Duremdes.
“’Yung pagpasok ko, may sistema na. Pinolish lang namin. Inadopt namin ‘yung ibang patterns. May mga nadagdag lang. Nakita ko naman na nakakaadopt sila,” he said.
5. How many wins can Adamson get this season?
The Falcons will not come in as one of the favored teams in Season 78, something which Fermin definitely favors.
“Pabor sa amin ‘yun kasi under the radar kami at hindi kami kilala,” said the rookie mentor.
After winning just one game last season and held to a lowly 25-point output in a loss to eventual champion National University, Fermin said the Falcons have a realistic goal for Season 78.
“We will try to win as many games as possible,” he said. “If given a chance to win, laban tayo. Bilog ang bola, laban every game.
“Sa amin lang, we want to improve. Kung may opportunity, i-grab namin. Ayaw ko mag-predict ng ilang wins but we will try to improve from last year. May ibubuga ang mga bata,” said Fermin.