The 2012 Filoil Flying V Preseason Hanes Cup: Twenty Things to Look Out For

The Filoil Flying V Preseason Hanes Cup is just around the corner!
(image from Filoil Flying V Sports)

No, this is not the UAAP yet. No, this is also not the NCAA. This is not the championship for which guys like Norman Black, Leo Austria, and Eric Altamirano are having sleepless nights. This is not why Henry Sy has pumped in his millions into the NU Bulldogs program. Jeron Teng did not choose DLSU just so he can hoist the Filoil trophy. Guys like Ola Adeogun, Emmanuel Mbe, and Alinko Mbah weren’t recruited so their respective schools can get their photos taken with that hefty winner’s check. Nobody will really remember this tournament as fondly, as deeply, as the ones that will follow it.

For all intents and purposes, the Filoil tournament is just a collection of glorified scrimmages – a series of games where coaches can experiment with combinations and plays, where they make their final cuts, and where players can test that new jab-step-spin-move-up-and-under they learned over the offseason.

But the beauty of the Filoil tournament is exactly that – it gives us a glimpse of what is to come. It whets our appetite for the main course. It answers some questions, while also making us ask for more. It doesn’t pretend to be more than what it is – a sign that the Philippine collegiate basketball season is upon us again.

It is in this spirit that I have written this post. I’m pumped for Saturday. I’m pumped to see how things will begin to come together for my beloved Blue Eagles, but I’m also excited to see what the other teams have tried to do to thwart our drive for One Big Five.

And so, fueled by the desire to further fan the flames that only college basketball can ignite, here are, after the JUMP, 20 things I think we should all look out for in the coming Filoil Flying V Preseason Hanes Cup:

1.      Can the Adamson Falcons work without Lester Alvarez and Jerick Cañada? – It’ll be tough, for sure. Off the top of my head, I think it’ll be Ryan Monteclaro inheriting the PG spot that has been so solid for the past 2 seasons in San Marcelino. Former FEU Tamaraw Marty Pearce is reportedly going to be PG#2 for coach Leo Austria, but I don’t think anybody is really shaking in his/her boots at that thought. Unless you’re an Adamson fan that is.

2.      Hello, Ryan Buenafe, have you met Ray Parks? – Last season, we all salivated at the prospect of Ray Parks dueling with the likes of Kiefer Ravena, Alex Nuyles, Jeric Teng, and Mike Silungan, and there were some really gritty encounters that satisfied our expectations. One potentially explosive match-up, however, is yet to materialize, and it pits last season’s MVP with the guy who probably has the best chance of being his contra-pelo, Ryan Buenafe. I don’t even know how to read this pairing. Ryan is definitely not as athletic nor as shifty as Parks, but Parks is definitely not as burly and crafty as Buenafe. On whom will you put your money?

3.      Which DLSU rookies can contribute immediately for the Green Archers? – As of this writing, all but one of DLSU’s hyped-up rookies have been included in the Archers’ Filoil lineup. The guy left out is Axel Torres, which isn’t such a big surprise. Gabby Reyes, reportedly, was a last-second addition, too. Will the remaining 4 freshies have a chance to contribute immediately? If the coach were still a Pumaren, I would surely have answered, “No,” but since Gee Abanilla has, reportedly, changed a host of things, perhaps the door might be open for these green Green Archers to make a dent after all. (Yes, you read that right – green Green Archers. Look up green in the dictionary and see for yourself.)

4.      Multiple Choice: Who’ll be FEU’s next great big man? – Arwind Santos, Mark Isip, and Aldrech Ramos have all left a sizable shadow in the paint for FEU, so who’ll man up and take a shot at becoming the next great Center/PF for the Moraytans? Mark Bringas is just a big, bad bully. His younger bro, Arvie, the one who wore a different shade of green in 2009, is pretty much the same. Carl Cruz has a nice soft touch, but not much else. My bet is that the remaining two big guys Bert Flores should utilize, the high-flying Aldrech Ramos-clone Russel Escoto and TIP transferee Anthony Hargrove, will be the most solid choices down low for the Tamaraws.

5.      Will J-Jay Alejandro be an impact player for the Bulldogs? – The riddle that Eric Altamirano is obligated to solve here is that nobody from last season is set to graduate, and yet he has several prospects who can make it big in Team A. I’m thinking Marion Magat, Spencer Eman, and Robin Roño will probably get demoted in favor of African slotman Henri Betayene, TIP transferee Troy Rosario, and Alejandro. Now given that this team will still revolve around Ray Parks and Emmanuel Mbe, I don’t think Alejandro will get to light up the new MOA Arena scoreboard as much as he’s used to. Nevertheless, he should be one of the first guys off the pine to relieve the starting backcourt.

J-Jay Alejandro will do his high-flying
for the NU Bulldogs.
(image from

6.      Will the Red Warriors show signs of maturity and improvement? – With the departure of veterans Biboy Enguio, Paul Zamar, and Lucas Tagarda, I expect the Warriors to be led by both JM Noble and Roi Sumang. Chris Javier should also see more burn, though I suspect he’ll continue to split time with Erwin Duran, Adrian Santos, and, reportedly, a returning Sam Razon. I’m pretty sure the Warriors are going to be a helluva lot better this season, though it might not be reflected accurately in the win column.

7.      For that matter, will the Fighting Maroons show signs of maturity and improvement? – The biggest newsmaker, basketball-wise, in Diliman this past month has been new kid Henry Asilum from Cebu, but UP fans will see a host of other faces, some new, some not-so-new (more on that later). Will it make any difference, though? I think there’s so much talent on the UP roster that it might already prove to be more of a bane than a boon. I think the big question for coach Dandan is this: how can he manage the wealth of talent finally available in this oft-forsaken UP team?

8.      Can Karim Abdul dominate like the Growling Tigers need him to? – The burly big man normed 12-and-12 in Season 74, but he was absent in some key stretches when the Tigers needed someone solid at the slot. He should continue putting up fantasy-rrific numbers, but he should do one better by being THE man for coach Pido. Lessen the fouls and, yes, 3.2 turnovers-per-game is butt-awful for a center.

9.      How will Koy Banal jumpstart his return to college hoops? Ditto with Aric Del Rosario? – The bemedaled former mentor of the FEU Tamaraws and San Beda Red Lions has what is perhaps his toughest task yet – rebuilding the Arellano Chiefs so they can one day count among the title contenders of the NCAA. Already he is tapping Fil-Canadians James Forrester and AJ Serjue, both of whom helped AU perform well in the Fr. Martin Collegiate Open Cup. As for Del Rosario, rebuilding the Altas’ program will be even tougher, as no marquee names have been tagged to join his program. I guess we’ll see more of his made-for-TV antics on the sidelines this season.

10.  How will former Archers Joel Tolentino and Gab Banal do in their new teams? – Joel Tolentino should start as the primary playmaker for the CSB Blazers, while Gab Banal should be one of the primary wing options for the Mapua Cardinals. It’s kinda hard to imagine that both of these guys were hyped up recruits from the RP Youth squad coached by Franz Pumaren back in 2008. They were supposed to be the cornerstones of DLSU’s future, but we all know what happened there, right? And we all know it’s kinda still happening (more on that later). My bet is Tolentino will form a capable tandem with Carlo Lastimosa, while Banal should be a heavy contributor alongside Yousef Taha.

11.  How will the Red Lions pick up the pieces post-Frankie Lim? – By now, everyone who follows local hoops probably already knows that Lim is out and Ronnie Magsanoc is in. Both were heady PGs back in the day, and, using that as my sole, albeit flawed, basis, I don’t think much will change in terms of coaching quality. The big question mark for now is whether the Lions will have Ola Adeogun and/or Julius Armon for the season. Both guys are being tagged as game-changers for Beda. We all saw how effective Adeogun was in the previous Filoil tourney, and Armon was a big factor in San Beda winning the Fr. Martin Collegiate Open this past February. Right now, they’re both banned for a year as SPECTATORS, but once they are deemed eligible (and nothing can really stop them on this front), they’ll probably be meted a 1-2 game suspension each. How things unfold in Mendiola will certainly be one of the main plot lines of the coming collegiate hoop wars.

Coach Ronnie Magsanoc will be the one
calling the shots for the Red Lions.
(image from
12.  Will DLSU be better without Marata and AVO? – As of this writing, Sam Marata and Arnold Van Opstal are both missing from the DLSU Filoil roster. Marata’s name, however, has reportedly been spotted on La Salle’s FMC lineup. AVO, on the other hand, is reportedly in sick bay (rumors are swirling about his not-so-ideal academic performance, too). Aside from the rookies I mentioned in bullet #3, one new guy on Gang Green’s list is Mustapha Haruna. Who? I know, right? Aparrently, he stands 6’0” tall and is from Parsippany HS in New Jersey. Is he any good? We’ll see. Will DLSU be any good without one of their key wingmen and one of their key big men? We’ll see, too.

13.  Who are the up-and-coming stars from the Juniors Division? – I’m not aware of any “hidden gems” out there, but I’m sure they will reveal themselves in the next few months or so. Right now, I can name the following as budding stars: Arvin Tolentino, Rev Diputado, Ranbill Tongco, and Andrei Caracut from San Beda, Gelo Vito from LSGH, Mark Gamboa and Gabe Capacio from Ateneo, Renzo Subido from Zobel, Rash Rivero and Raph Atangan from NU, and Kyles Lao, Jarrell Lim, and Isaac Go from Xavier.

14.  How will the Xavier Golden Stallions fare against the UAAP/NCAA schools? – Speaking of Xavier, I’m very interested to see how they’ll perform against the top HS hoops programs in the country on a relatively big stage. Xavier’s status quo leagues are the PAYA and Tiong Lian tourneys where the level of competition normally isn’t as high as the UAAP and NCAA. Recently, they’ve joined PRADA, too, but the competition there also isn’t as strong. The only time they really get to play the “bigs” is during the MMBL (is that even still existing?) and, more recently, the Freego FCBL. At least now, they’ll be able to do it on a much  bigger platform. How will they handle the pressure? How will they fare under the bright lights of the Filoil Flying V Arena? Will they show signs of recovery after losing the Tiong Lian title earlier this year?

15.  Where is Seaoil All-Star MVP Ace Basas? – I kinda know the answer to this one already. Here’s the thing. I’ll be really surprised to see him wear any uniform other than blue. What shade of blue? Guess. The caveat is, we might not even see him on any Filoil team this summer. Maybe because he’ll be on someone’s Team B? As the inaugural All-Star MVP, however, I’m quite surprised his stock hasn’t risen as much as might be expected.

Looks like Ace Basas is seeing blue skies
in his horizon.
(image from Ace Basas's Facebook page)

16.  A tale of three PGs – Mark Tallo, Nico Elorde, and Dan Sara. – In a nutshell: Mark Tallo commits to Ateneo (he was even in AdMU’s UAAP S74 intro video), goes to the US with the team, then returns to transfer to DLSU. Nico Elorde played for the Archers in 2009, was frustrated that DLSU continued recruiting for his position, and then cut his ties when he was excluded from the team’s US training. Word is, he’s happier in Loyola. Dan Sara was the one recruited for Elorde’s position. Dan Sara got that position last year. And now Dan Sara lost it to yet another PG recruit named Thomas Torres. Sara’s name is not on any of DLSU’s rosters (Filoil or FMC). No official word on him, yet, but right now I can see two potential destinations for him – back to Beda where the talent pool is just as thick, or move to Recto where some former Red Cubs can welcome him as a Warrior. The lesson? Well, just like what Joel Tolentino, Gab Banal, and Michael Pate already know -- that grass isn’t always greener on THAT side of Taft Avenue. So now, we have Tallo, Torres, LA Revilla, and Almond Vosotros as DLSU’s PGs. Good luck with that.

17.  Which UAAP “comebacking players” will make their teams better? (Ryan Buenafe, Arvie Bringas, Mark Lopez, Mikee Reyes, Alvin Padilla, Tata Bautista, Aljohn Mariano, and Ed Daquioag) – Buenafe returns from a somewhat controversial hiatus (more on that later), Bringas is now wearing a different shade of green after becoming yet another DLSU “leaver,” Lopez, Reyes, and Padilla will all reprise their roles for the Fighting Maroons, and Bautista, Mariano, and Daquioag bring all their scoring sock back to the Tigers. Because he’s just awesome, I’m sure Buenafe will be the most talked about of this bunch. He’s been wreaking havoc in practice, and he should do the same when the real games begin. Bringas might not see as much playing time as many expect, since many key big men are returning for FEU, but he should also be quite impressive. UP’s returning trio is quite the enigma for me, though. Mike Gamboa is still in the picture, so Reyes will have to contend with him AND their star rookie, Asilum. Lopez will have to split SG duties with both Jelo Montecastro and Jett Manuel. And fat chance Padilla will get the nod as SF over Mike Silungan. It’ll definitely be a deeper bench for UP, but will it translate into great on-court performance? UST is kind of a sleeper favorite for me in this tournament. With Bautista, Mariano and Daquioag back in the fold, coach Jarencio just has so many options. This means the talent level shouldn’t dip when the starters are subbed. Oh, and Melo Afuang is the primary big off the pine. Not too shabby if you ask me.

18.  Who’s the better Teng? – Jeron is an awesome talent, and probably nobody will ever eclipse his 104-point game, but I have serious doubts about him being able to dominate at this level. His size was college-ready as early as 2 years ago, but now that he’s finally in college, I’m not sure if he can still bully his way through and around defenses. For him to meet his potential, he’ll have to adapt and develop a consistent perimeter game. This is why, for now, Jeric is the better Teng hands down. He has just developed really well under coach Pido, and he should be one the leaders of this UST team for this season and the next one. He’s a better shooter, a more versatile facilitator on offense, and his defense has really expanded as well. This is also why UST should be a cinch for the Final Four this year.

19.  Why, it’s you again, Ryan Buenafe, and, look, here comes Arthur Dela Cruz! – The first thing that came into my mind when I saw the Filoil brackets/groupings was Ryan Buenafe having to play against Arthur Dela Cruz. Whoa. The-issue-that-shall-not-be-named will make this very interesting to say the least. A lot of people are expecting fisticuffs when Beda collides with Letran or when DLSU gets it on with Ateneo, but watch out for this one, folks. It could be a doozy.

20.  What will you do when both Kiefer Ravena and Ryan Buenafe are running straight at you? – Apart from all those other things I mentioned, the biggest thing I’m excited about is seeing both Kiefer Ravena and Ryan Buenafe on the Ateneo fastbreak attack. In Filipino parlance, “Alam na.” Because, seriously, how can you stop that? Plug in Nico Salva, or Greg Slaughter, or even Tonino Gonzaga as a third guy, and you’d be forgiven for having visions of Jordan-Pippen-Kukoc. It’s gonna be awesome to watch, unless, of course, you’re the one who’s left on safety to guard them. Tip: just get out of the way.

Welcome back, Ryan Buenafe. It's time to
remind everyone of who you are.
(image by Philip Sison/

There you have it – the 20 things I’ll keep tabs on for the next month or so. How about you? What are the things you want to see? What are the questions you want answered?
Next Post »
6 Comment

Sir, when will the lineups for each team be released?


ravena + buenafe + insert blue eagle name here = awesome!
whoa what happened to AVO?!


Sir, where IS Ace Basas going?


ray parks and the running gun jay alejandro will be a big threat


"The guy left out is Axel Torres, which isn’t such a big surprise." Sir, I don't get the point? What's the idea of leaving Axel behind?


well, just too many guys playing at the same position (SG/SF)