UAAP Juniors Basketball: Season 80 will be the Goldwin Monteverde Revenge Tour

All you need to know from the second week of UAAP Juniors Basketball

Goldwin Monteverde is out to bring the NU Bullpups to great heights

Season 79 was supposed to be the year we regarded Coach Goldwin Monteverde as one of the elite coaches in High School hoops. The Adamson Soaring Falcons were undefeated, rolling through teams with ease. There was talent in that Adamson team, but you had to give credit to Coach Goldwin for making all that talent work together.

Then all of a sudden, from being an elite tactician who was about to become Batang Gilas head coach, he was his image became that of a sketchy recruiter because of the controversies he had to face with Encho Serrano and the rest of the Soaring Falcons. The idea of being elite was suddenly washed out along with all of Adamson’s wins.

With the NU Bullpups, Coach Goldwin has a chance to retain elite status.

In terms of sheer talent, the Bullpups aren’t as good compared to last year’s Soaring Falcons. But they still employ the same trapping defense that Coach Goldwin likes to run, and it gave the De La Salle Zobel Junior Archers absolute hell last Saturday. The final score may suggest that the Junior Archers are bad, but they aren’t. It’s more of a testament to how good NU.

The Bullpups forced the Junior Archers to a whopping 32 turnovers and limited them to just 37% shooting. Offensively, they scored 36 points off turnovers and had six players in double figures.

It’s time to move on from the past and Coach Goldwin knows that. He has a new mission now, and that’s with the NU Bullpups. He’s out to retain the glory he was projected to get last season, and teams have to be ready for just that.

The UST Tiger Cubs are doing just fine without Inand Fornillos

When Inand Fornillos was announced to have transferred from UST to La Salle Green Hills, many thought UST wouldn’t be worth watching anymore come Season 80. Two games in, the Tiger Cubs are looking just fine without their former star player.

While Adamson Soaring Falcons aren’t exactly the best team out there (They aren’t bad by any means, just not elite), these Tiger Cubs have been showing deserves a ton of credit.

John Cansino (26 points, 21 rebounds) and Bismarck Lina (9 points, 16 rebounds) have been absolute workhorses for UST while Kobe Palencia (17 points, 4 rebounds) continues to showcase his potential. They dominated the boards against the Falcons (64-40). The Tiger Cubs shot poorly, hitting only a 33% clip. But they made up for it with 28 offensive rebounds and 23 second chance points.

The Growling Tigers got all the (bad) press this season, but these Tiger Cubs deserve some love. They may no longer have the big time name in Inand Fornillos, but there’s talent to work with here.

The Ateneo Blue Eaglets continue to be a work in progress

Kai Sotto was livid during the early goings of Ateneo’s game versus UPIS. He was getting some quality seals down low and if he got the ball it would have either been a made basket or a foul. Sadly, the guards of the Blue Eaglets weren’t passing him the ball, and he wasn’t having any of it. He had reason to be frustrated, as the Blue Eaglets found themselves down 13-4 during the first quarter.

Fast forward to halftime and Ateneo unleashed a casual 40-15 run. That’s how much talent they have. They can be down by a considerable deficit and flip the switch all of a sudden. But, that doesn’t excuse them from bad performances like that. Considering their players and the experience they have, Ateneo should not have found themselves in that situation to begin with.

The Blue Eaglets bounced back nicely throughout the rest of the game. They shot 43% and assisted on 17 of their 29 made field goals. They still have to work on their three point shooting (4/21) and their turnovers (26) if they want to dominate opponents from start to finish.

Ateneo is ridiculously talented. They have four players in the team who easily crack the Top 8 in the league. But it continues to be a work in progress with this team. After all, having a bunch of quality prospects won’t ensure you a championship. The Season 78 Blue Eaglets have experience of this, and this version of the Blue Eaglets should learn from the mistakes of their kuyas.

The FEU Baby Tamaraws are starting to go beyond their team captain

Last game, the FEU Baby Tamaraws looked shook to start the season. LJ Gonzales bailed them out versus DLSZ with some timely baskets, but even Coach Allan Albano knew their performance was not up to par for a title contender. Last Saturday, they had a struggling UE Junior Warriors in front of them, and the stage was set for a comeback.

The Baby Tamaraws won by *just* 18 points, but what mattered was how everyone else stepped up for the team. Their captain in Gonzales was struggled to score (2 points, 1/8 shooting) But he still managed to help the team even without scoring. LJ still finished with nine points and nine rebounds.

Everyone else picked up the slack. Players like Daniel Celzo (12 points), Xyrus Torres (15 points), Rhonjhay Abarrientos (12 points) and Rei Tolentino (10 points) stepped up for the team.

The road to defending a championship with a team minus its usual core is going to be tough. But performances like these is a great step to getting there for the Baby Tamaraws. They’ll need a total team effort and not just make it the LJ Gonzales show to be able to retain the crown.

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