[First of a series]
2013 finish: 4-10
Key losses: Jericho Cruz, Rodney Brondial, Leo Austria
Additions: Matthew Aquino, Alex Barrera, JR Gumtang, Ivan Villanueva, Joseph Nalos
Holdovers: Ryan Monteclaro, Don Trollano, Jansen Rios, Dawn Ochea
DON’T expect a lofty finish from the Adamson Falcons this season.
Having missed the Final Four for the second straight time last year, the Falcons are under no illusion that they will make it this season.
No less than first-year head coach Kenneth Duremdes admitted that the Falcons are not a Final Four-caliber team in what he expects to be a trying year for the San Marcelino-based squad.
“Not this year,” Duremdes candidly admitted. “Considering na mga players are coming from high school, when it comes to big games, seniors na kasi ito. Kaya hindi siguro this year.”
The Falcons have already lost their core with Rodney Brondial and Roider Cabrera done with their collegiate career and Cameroonian center Ingrid Sewa leaving the team. Even head coach Leo Austria is no longer around.
Adding to Adamson’s misery is the decision of Jericho Cruz to skip his final year with the Falcons to jump to the pros. That left the Falcons without their top four scorers from last season’s team.
If there is any consolation, the future looks bright for Adamson, according to Duremdes, with five rookies that include 6-foot-7 center Matthew Aquino, already the tallest in the team, Alex Barrera from La Salle Greenhills, and JR Gumtang from the five-time NCAA champion San Beda.
The three rookies weren’t exactly the most sought after high school players in the land but Duremdes said they are very promising - players who he hopes could be building blocks for Adamson's future.
“Kumuha talaga kami ng players that we feel will be built for the next three years. Galing sila sa mga different schools na iba-ibang sistema kaya kailangan naming i-polish ‘yung sistema namin,” said Duremdes.
The Falcons will now be relying mainly on Don Trollano, who has found confidence with his stint in the D-League. Gangly forward Jansen Rios, veteran point guard Ryan Monteclaro, national youth member Dawn Ochea, and playmaker Accel Inigo are also expected to contribute to the young Falcons squad.
With expectations very conservative, Duremdes’ only goal is to be competitive in every game, whatever the result may be.
“We just hope we can play good every game. ‘Yun lang ang target namin," said the former PBA MVP. "Maka-compete kami, achievement na rin ‘yun.”