UAAP men's basketball Season 86: UP vs DLSU

A Way-Too-Early Look at UAAP Season 87 Men’s Basketball

What does UAAP Season 87 have in store for all eight men’s basketball teams?

The dust has barely settled on the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball championship, won by the DLSU Green Archers over three thrilling games. But this early, let’s take a look at what Season 87 might have in store for the eight UAAP teams.

Bear in mind, though, that a lot of things can still happen until next season’s opening day.

UST Growling Tigers
UST head coach Pido Jarencio will be looking to move his team out of last place in UAAP Season 87. (Photo credit: UAAP Media Bureau)
UST head coach Pido Jarencio will be looking to move his team out of last place in Season 87. (Photo credit: UAAP Media Bureau)

Tailenders University of Sto. Tomas Growling Tigers, winners of just three games over the last two seasons, are no doubt looking to move out of the cellar in UAAP Season 87.

Only Vince Ventulan has exhausted his eligibility, while foreign-student athlete (FSA) Adame Faye didn’t even wait for the season to be half-over before going home to rehabilitate his back, very likely never to come back to the UAAP. That theoretically leaves just two slots open, but Pido Jarencio is supposedly looking to overhaul his roster and elevate several players in the training pool. Chief among these include former Ateneo guard Forthsky Padrigao and former UP guard Ashon Andrews. Also vying for slots will be Chase Lane, former UE guard Kyle Paranada, Geremy Robinson, Leland Estacio, and John Suba. The new FSA might come down to a choice between Peter Osang and Mohamed Tankara.

FEU Tamaraws
Losing several key players in Season 87, FEU's scouts are likely on the lookout for new talents for UAAP Season 87. (Photo credit: UAAP Media Bureau)
Losing several key players in Season 87, FEU’s scouts are likely on the lookout for new talents. (Photo credit: UAAP Media Bureau)

The FEU Tamaraws will be losing chief gunner LJ Gonzales, as well as forward James Tempra and FSA Mo Faty. Former Baby Tam Janrey Pasaol could finally be elevated to the seniors level after sitting out last season and playing 3×3 in the Asian Games. Head coach Denok Miranda was recently spotted at the CESAFI tournament in Cebu, no doubt scouting for talents. FEU’s network of scouts in the Visayas and Mindanao is unmatched, and it won’t be surprising if they unearth another gem from these regions.

UE Red Warriors
UE Red Warriors (UAAP Season 86)
UE was among the promising teams in Season 86, and come next year, their star players will be just that much better. (Photo credit: UAAP Media Bureau)

The UE Red Warriors, who were competitive in several games but fell just short a bit too many times, will be losing only forward Abdul Sawat. Flamethrower and Season 86 Mythical Team member Rey Remogat and promising FSA Precious Momowei will still be around and will be one year older and wiser. Shooter Jack Cruz-Dumont will also return. The Red Warriors have been known to also recruit heavily from overseas, so don’t be surprised if they can somehow come up with another Luis Villegas type next season.

Adamson Soaring Falcons
Jerom Lastimosa UAAP Season 86 Adamson Soaring Falcons
Adamson star player Jerom Lastimosa has played his final game as a Soaring Falcon. (Photo credit: UAAP Media Bureau)

After falling a win short of advancing to the Final Four, the Adamson Falcons bade goodbye to one of the most beloved players in school history. Jerom Lastimosa, who was sidelined for virtually the whole season with a knee injury, won’t be back. Joining him as graduates are Jed Colonia and Vince and Wilfrey Magbuhos, leaving Nash Racela with four slots to fill for next season.

Their two most hyped recruits are Fil-Am twins Cade and Austin Ronzone, who will solidify the Falcons’ backcourt rotation. Former Baby Falcon Mat Edding is waiting in the wings, while former Falcons Ray Allen Torres and Joaquin Jaymalin, who were both relegated to Team B in Season 86, will be looking to reclaim their spots on the roster. And will Season 87 be the year we finally see Flever Dignadice suit up?

Ateneo Blue Eagles
Ateneo men's basketball head coach Tab Baldwin
Tab Baldwin and the Blue Eagles are aiming for redemption in UAAP Season 87. (Photo credit: UAAP Media Bureau)

For the first time in eight years, the Ateneo Blue Eagles failed to make it to the UAAP finals. That virtually ensures a busy off-season for Tab Baldwin as he seeks to improve his roster and attempt to return to the finals in Season 87.

Only FSA Joe Obasa has used up his eligibility, but just days after their season ended, the Blue Eagles suffered a blow after team captain Kai Ballungay renounced his remaining eligibility to turn pro. Theoretically, that leaves two slots open for the Blue Eagles’ UAAP Season 87 roster, but you can expect more developments in the coming months. What is sure is that a replacement is needed for Obasa, and right now that will likely be former CEU Scorpion Ayodeji Balogun. Highly touted Michael Asoro from SHS-Cebu and Kobe Demisana of UPIS could also crack the lineup after sitting out Season 86. Expect more recruits, though, to commit to Loyola between now and the season opener in September.

NU Bulldogs
NU Bulldogs
NU head coach Jeff Napa will be aiming to get over the Final Four hump in UAAP Season 87. (Photo credit: UAAP Media Bureau)

The NU Bulldogs have finished third in back-to-back seasons, unable to get over the hump in the Final Four. Their run in Season 86, in particular, was disappointing as they lost their grip on the second seed down the stretch with two losses at the end of the elimination round.

With only Mike Malonzo and John Galinato leaving, and a steady pipeline of fresh talent from their junior program, coach Jeff Napa is hoping his core of Kean Baclaan, Steve Nash Enriquez, Jake Figueroa, Omar John, and Reinhard Jumamoy will have the experience necessary to take the next step in Season 87.  

UP Fighting Maroons
UP Fighting Maroons
Although UP has come up short in two UAAP finals series in a row, their new recruits are sure to shake things up for the Fighting Maroons come Season 87. (Photo credit: UAAP Media Bureau)

After coming up painfully short of a second crown in three seasons, the UP Fighting Maroons have a number of talented players eligible for next season. Only Malick Diouf and CJ Cansino have exhausted their eligibility, but with the number of recruits coming in, the jostling for slots will be interesting and it’s difficult to imagine that all of the remaining eligible players will retain their slots.

Early commits Jared Bahay of SHS-Cebu, Josh Coronel of LSGH and Chris Hubilla of San Beda are among the incoming freshmen, while 6’4” shooter Denzil Walker and former UE big man Gani Stevens are also slated to debut after serving a year of residency. And we’re not even talking about forward LA Andres, who could also seriously compete for a slot. Diouf’s replacement as FSA could be either Dikachi Udodo or Jayveon Coleman.

DLSU Green Archers
DLSU Green Archers win the UAAP Season 86 men's basketball championship
As the reigning champions, the DLSU Green Archers will have a big task in Season 87 as they will fight to defend their title. (Photo credit: UAAP Media Bureau)

Finally, we have the newly minted champions De La Salle Green Archers. On the heels of one of the most inspiring title runs in recent history, the Green Archers already have a lot of lineup tinkering to do as they’ll be losing a number of key players in Evan Nelle, Francis Escandor, Mark Nonoy, Joaqui Manuel and Ben Phillips.

DLSU will look to reload with recruits waiting in the wings, among them Matthew Rubico, Jake Gaspay, Ethan Alian, and Vhoris Marasigan. It remains to be seen if former juniors standout Rhyle Melencio can recover from an ACL tear in time for next season. Henry Agunanne is also set to replace Bright Nwankwo as the team’s FSA, and early reports suggest he is a major upgrade. Despite persistent talk that he’s headed to Japan to pursue a pro career, Season 86 MVP Kevin Quiambao has publicly stated he’ll be back next season, so until he says otherwise we have to assume he will be.

Banner image from UAAP Media Bureau.

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