March 6, 2012 Basket-Bullets: DLSU Overloading, the SEAOIL All-Star Game, and Asian Imports in the PBA

An awesome recruiting class = an awesome season? We'll see.
(image from Ms. Beta Simo Reyes/

After the JUMP, you'll find some bullets on DLSU's hyped up recruits, the just-concluded SEAOIL All-Star Game, and perhaps bringing in Asian imports in the PBA:

DLSU Recruiting: Loading Up or Overloading?
This early, many members of Gang Green are already celebrating, and with good reason, too. They've just landed an awesome recruiting class.

The most popular player they've lured to Taft, of course, is the Robocop's second son, the younger bro of King Tiger Jeric Teng -- Jeron. Everyone has talked and written about his big 104-point game from the 2011 MMTLBA season, which has made DLSU's fans salivate about the scoring possibilities in Season 75 and beyond. Will he be as good as billed? I honestly think Jeric's game is much more suited for the college game, since he shoots better from long range, and I do feel Jeron is undersized at the 3 spot, but he is really built to score, so I think he'll do at least that. Think of Joseph Yeo only a little slower, and with less shooting. I think he'll make an immediate impact, but I don't think he's a lock for the Rookie-of-the-Year plum.

The Torres brothers, Axel from Zobel and Thomas from LSGH, have also committed to join the Taft quintet, which I think was a smart choice for them. Smart not really because they'll be superstars, but because they get to stay in the La Salle system. Ditto for another Zobel stalwart -- Gab Reyes. Of the three, I think Axel's the one with the least chance to make it big. He wasn't exactly the best shooter or playmaker from his team. In fact, I think his teammate John Boo seems to be a better fit for the college game because of his size and speed. Axel plays with a lot of angas (well-suited for DLSU) and athleticism, but he'll need to develop a lot more to be really effective in the seniors. He definitely won't supplant Luigi De la Paz or Jarelan Tampus at the SG spot anytime soon. I'm on the fence with Reyes. He is uber athletic (think JC Intal hops) and can be a streaky shooter, but I'm just not sure he has the heft or speed to match-up well with the lengthy 3s and 4s of, say, FEU and NU. If he goes on to play 4, Nico Salva and Eric Camson will probably eat him alive, but if he goes 3, then guys like Ray Parks and even JM Noble can blow by him. At best, he'll be DLSU's version of Intal, but, at worst, he'll be DLSU's version of Ken Barracoso. Thomas Torres, though, is my pick to be the best from this recruiting class. The kid just knows how to play his position really well. I won't be surprised if he takes Almond Vosotros's spot right behind LA Revilla in the PG depth chart. He's quicker than any of DLSU's current guards, and uber fearless. He'll be a menace especially if coach Gee Abanilla retains the Pumaren press. He's also why Roldan Sara will get dropped, and will probably think of going back to Beda.

The last guy from this recruiting class was actually "recruited" last summer -- Mark Tallo. The almost-Blue Eagle will make DLSU's Team A, but I'll still pick Torres and Vostoros over him to back-up Revilla. I also don't think he can play 2 at this level. This might seem like beating a dead horse already, but I still can't wrap my head around the fact he left AdMU for DLSU principally because of playing time (reportedly). Now he has 4 other PGs to contend with. Sheesh. 

The wildcard in all this is this: I'm not sure if coach Abanilla will have a complete revamp of the DLSU style of play, or just an application of a few tweaks. Will his offense be guard-centric, rely on lots of outside shooting, or be anchored on the bigs? I don't even think he'll reveal all his cards when the summer leagues open. The only time we'll all be completely sure is when the UAAP opens in July.

To make things fun, however, I'll make some calls now: Papot Paredes, Martin Reyes, and Dan Sara will all get dropped in favor of the new blood. Reyes will move to CSB and Sara back to Beda. The starting 5, at least for most games, will be composed of Arnold Van Opstal, Norbert Torres, Joshua Webb, Luigi De la Paz, and LA Revilla. DLSU will make the Final 4. Let's see if there are any changes when the summer leagues close in June.

BTW, the biggest thing this recruiting class gives DLSU and its followers is not really new talent, but renewed faith. I guess the Torres boys and Reyes (Gab) all saw what happened when fellow La Salle HS alumni went elsewhere (Martin Reyes, Mikee Reyes, and Migs De Asis to UP; Vince Fran to Ateneo). They didn't want to wait. They wanted to get a chance to play for their school ASAP. They won't be the game-changers many might think they'll be (yet), but at least they'll inject rejuvenated vigor into the program since they're all Lasallians through and through. 

Gabby Reyes ready to shine in the Seniors Division?
(image by Leslie Sy/

Thomas Torres might be the sleeper star in DLSU's
2012 recruitment haul.
(image by Joseph Nebrida/
Axel Torres probably won't see much playing time
behind Luigi De la Paz and Oda Tampus.
(image by Joseph Nebrida/
SEAOIL All-Stars!!!

It was an awesome initial staging of the SEAOIL All-Star Game this past weekend in Pasig's Ynares Center! There were big names all over the place (both playing and watching), and it was clearly an energetic affair. By now, we all know Mapua's Ace Basas stole the show from his more ballyhooed contemporaries, but it was still a good showcase/preview of what the best HS seniors can do when given a basketball and 94-feet of hardwood.

Gabby Reys slams it home in the recently-concluded
SEAOIL All-Star Game.
(image by Mav C. Gonzales)
Many of the guys who played, of course, will probably see action in the UAAP or NCAA in the next few years, but here are some names to look out for: (I won't include sure-bets like Jeron Teng, JJ Alejandro, Gideon Babilonia or Antonio Bonsubre anymore)

Beda's Daryl Nazareno and Francis Abarcar: I'm not sure where they're headed (will they stay with the Red Lions or move on to the Red Warriors like fellow Bedans Chris Javier and Von Chavez?), but it's pretty clear these two are stocked with talent. Nazareno seems to be a very promising big guy with good footwork, while Abarcar looks to be a gritty wingman.

FEU-FERN's John Estacio: He didn't light up the scoreboards with the Baby Tams because of better scorers like Jerie Pingoy or Josh Aguilon, but his length is an asset any team can use to its advantages. I think he'll stay with the Tams as a possible back-up to the improving Russel Escoto.

UST's Brian Ilarde: Ilarde reminds me of former Ateneo Blue Eaglet Al Bugarin. Ilarde has a higher scoring average than Bugarin simply because the Tiger Cubs constantly looked for him on offense as the first option. He'll probably move up to the Tigers' lineup and maybe even supplant Paulo Pe as the chief back-up to Karim Abdul.

UPIS's Kim Cinco: Damn great talent in a program that has gone the way of the dinosaurs. Cinco was a sight to watch driving to the hole this past season, but he was just stuck in a really shallow roster. If he moves up to the Maroons, then he'll be a dangerous addition to a backcourt that already boasts of Mike Gamboa, Jett Manuel and Jelo Montecastro. 

Chiang Kai Shek's John Kevin Baytan: This kid can really play. He shone in the 2012 Tiong Lian playoffs, upsetting the Xavier Stallions in the semis and sweeping heavily-favored Hope Christian in the Finals. Not the biggest of forwards, but he makes up for it with high basketball IQ. Where he ends up, however, is still a mystery.

I'm not too keen on the guys from outside Metro Manila, but based on this article by Rick Olivares, it seems like Coco Jabines from Pilgrim Christian College is a prime prospect (he dreams of going to AdMU). Cebuano Julius Cadavis from Sacred Heart School-Jesuit might also be worth a look since he landed in the Mythical Five.

The kid for whom I'm most excited, however, is none other than the All-Star Game MVP, the aforementioned Ace Basas from Mapua/Malayan HS. He showed great versatility in the game and showed a lot of promise as Mapua's all-around second-best player behind Alejandro this past season. He normed 12.8ppg, shot 52% from the field, and led the Red Robins in rebounding with 8.3 per outing. I'm excited mainly because he WANTS to play for the Blue Eagles and has been sighted in at least one AdMU practice already.

2012 SEAOIL All-Star Game MVP Ace Bases
wants to go blue. Will he get his wish?
(image by Roy Afable)
St. Jude's Jason Ligad gets ready to shoot some freebies.
(image from Yahoo! Philippines)

How about Asian Imports?
Jackson Vroman, the naturalized Lebanese now playing in the PBA, had a great debut last week. His size and versatility helped Ginebra upend the Powerade Tigers, 105-96. His final line? 19 points, 12 rebounds, 5 blocks, 4 assists and 3 steals. Clearly, he's the real deal.

Jackson Vroman debuted with aplomb for the Gin Kings.
(image by Nuki Sabio/
That got me thinking. Why not have more Asian (or naturalized Asian) imports in the league? Let's take it a step further and have a conference where PBA teams can employ only imports with Asian passports (aside from Vroman, other naturalized Asians like Jordan's Rasheim Wright, Lebanon's Sam Hoskin and Joe Vogel, and Japan's JR Sakuragi can be allowed). 

I think this will add a lot of flavor and attract a lot of interest in the PBA. We can pit our country's best against the continent's best, and at the same time root for them, too! Imagine a Ginebra fan rooting for China's Wang Zhizhi if he gets to wear a Gin King jersey, or Powerade fans cheering on BOTH Gary David and Lebanon's Fadi El Khatib! That would be a sight! And because PBA rules will be used, a faster pace will enable these Asian stars to really strut their stuff. Imagine Iran's Samad Nikkhah Bahrami running the floor with LA Tenorio, or Alex Cabagnot throwing a lob to Jordan's Zaid Abbas! Imagine James Yap engaging Syria's Michael Madanli in a 3-point shootout, or Willie Miller dropping a pass to either of Japan's Takeuchi twins! 

Oh, the possibilities!

If the PBA has reached the point where they've now allowed imports with unlimited height (in an effort to help the local talent learn how to deal with really BIG players), then maybe we should finally have an All-Asian PBA Conference (in an effort to further familiarize our locals with our neighbors' talents).

Imagine these guys in the PBA:

Zaid Abbas against Arwind Santos in the PBA?
(image from
Tseng Wen-Ting and Kosuke Takeuchi battling with
Jay-R Reyes and Sonny Thoss in the PBA?
(image from
Wang Zhizhi slamming home wearing
a Ginebra jersey?
(image from
The local Korean population will probably flock
to PBA games to watch Oh Se-Keun.
(image from
Fadi El-Khatib and Samad Nikkhah Bahrami can renew their
rivalry in the hallowed hardwood of the Araneta Coliseum!
(image from

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1 Comment

We should allow our naturalized Filipinos play!! Blatche and Douthit and more to come Robin Williams