The Games That Play Us: University of Puzzlement

Jelo Montecastro and the Maroons were frustrated
by the great play of Rodney Brondial and the Falcons.


I hope nobody from Adamson’s camp takes offense at this (as if they’re even reading this), but this was supposed to be a breakthrough win for the Fighting Maroons. This is not to take away anything from the Falcons – they were great. It’s just that UP was due for a big W.

The signs were all there.

No Alex Nuyles for Adamson.

UP played the Ateneo Blue Eagles close (again) last weekend.

Raul Soyud looks to finally be comfortable as the Maroons’ chief interior operatos.

Chris Ball’s eligibility finally became a non-issue.

This was supposed to be the game where UP announced their golden intentions to be this season’s super spoilers.

Ironically, they were the ones who were spoiled.

I’m going to be frank here and say I was deeply disappointed UP lost. This is a team stacked with talent (no, really, they are), a team well-coached, a team playing for the Iskolars ng Bayan, a team that should be ripe for the spoiler’s role.

It’s just frustratingly puzzling, however, how they just seem to fold in almost every encounter. This despite shooting better from two-point range, despite having more steals and blocks, and despite having significantly less turnovers than the San Marcelino squad.

What the hell went wrong for UP?

Two names: Eric Camson and Rodney Brondial.

Camson and Brondial paired up for 34 points and 31 rebounds. Those are Dwight Howard-ish or Kevin Love-ish numbers. Imagine that! Coach Leo Austria’s entire starting frontline is a single Dwight Howard or Kevin Love! In this league, that’s unheard of!

In contrast, let’s check Coach Ricky Dandan’s four main bigs – Soyud, Ball, Diony Hipolito, and Alinko Mbah. That foursome produced just 15 markers and 20 boards. See the diff?

But here’s a more pressing problem for Coach Ricky – Alvin Padilla takes too many shots and doesn’t make enough of them to justify taking them in the first place (uh, yeah, that should make sense). This considering he’s on the same team as Mike Silungan!!! Padilla might be taking some cues from Terrence Romeo, but the problem is he’s nowhere near as good as Romeo in terms of offense. Alvin Padilla, please defer to someone like Jett Manuel, who scored as much as you did despite playing less than half your minutes and shooting a little more than half your total field goal attempts. In fact, what the hell happened to Manuel? Coach Ricky, you have to use this kid more. Please lang. Maawa ka.

Until then, until the Maroons wise up, and Padilla puts the clamps on his Allen Iverson tendencies, UP will continue to frustrate itself, will continue to spoil itself, will continue to be the University of Puzzlement in the UAAP.

Eric Camson (L) seems to have finally gotten into
the groove of things for Adamson.

The Maroons are getting used to their long faces.

The scores:

AdU 75 – Camson 19, Cruz 17, Brondial 15, Rios 10, Cabrera 4, Agustin 4, Monteclaro 3, Etrone 3, Trollano 0, Olalia 0, Julkipli 0, Abrigo 0
UP 70 – Padilla 12, Manuel 12, Lopez 10, Ball 9, Silungan 8, Soyud 6, Montecastro 5, Asilum 4, Gallarza 3, Romero 1, Mbah 0, Hipolito 0, Gamboa 0
QS: 25-17, 35-31, 51-44, 75-70
Key Performances:
Rodney Brondial (AdU) – 15pts, 17rebs, 1blk
Eric Camson (AdU) – 19pts, 14rebs, 2asts
Raul Soyud (UP) – 6pts, 8rebs, 1stl, 1blk

 All images are from the University Basketball League.
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