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NCAA Power Rankings: Week 1

By Ivan Saldajeno

WEEK 1 is officially done in the NCAA, and we present to you the first of a bunch of Power Rankings to come here on DPH. After a pulsating hardcourt action this past week, who reigned supreme? Check this out!

1. Letran Knights (2-0)
Thanks to Aldin Ayo's "magulong basketball" style, Felix Apreku has become
a vital cog for Letran. Rejj Sibayan
I had a hard time thinking which among Letran and San Beda should top my initial power rankings. In the end, I chose the Knights over rivals Red Lions. The "magulong" basketball system of new coach Aldin Ayo made a tear in the first week. Letran started with an 82-53 thrashing of CSB before capping the week with a 78-62 rout of JRU. The Friday night blowout was a factor for me to have Letran at the top because JRU, after all, made the Final Four last year.

2. San Beda Red Lions (2-0)

While the Red Lions were beasts offensively (102 vs. Mapua, 108 vs. EAC), a concern for me (and for everyone who followed the run-and-gun offensive system) is the scores of both the Cardinals and the Generals in those games (89 and 80 respectively). Another thing is that Mapua went toe-to-toe with San Beda in the third quarter of their Saturday game before losing by 13 points, which is relatively low for a typical San Beda rout. Let's just say I preferred defense in this one.

3. Perpetual Help Altas (2-0)
Rejj Sibayan
Despite having a new Big 3 in MVP Scottie Thompson, Gab Dagangon, and rookie Bright Akhuetie, the Perps had to grind it out against Lyceum on Tuesday. On the other hand, Perpetual Help actually pulled away early in the fourth quarter of its Friday match against CSB featuring Bright's monster game, although it was relatively close in the first three periods.

4. Mapua Cardinals (1-1)
Allwell Oraeme gets some advice from Ola Adeogun. Ivan Saldajeno
Losing by only 13 points (with emphasis on only) to San Beda on Saturday proved that Mapua vastly improved from last season. With Josan Nimes' return and Allwell Oraeme's inside presence, the Cardinals might be in to debunk every preseason forecast we have. To cap that, they came from behind to down the San Sebastian Golden Stags on Thursday.

5. JRU Heavy Bombers (1-1)

The Heavy Bombers started the season with a 78-61 walloping of the Arellano Chiefs, but they later fell to the Letran Knights, 62-78. I actually also had a tough time to decide which among JRU and Arellano should occupy the fifth slot, but it all boiled down to Arellano's win over Lyceum.

6. Arellano Chiefs (1-1)

Arellano appeared to be getting a good bounce back from a stinging defeat to last year's semifinal opponent JRU after erupting for 51 points in the first half of its match against Lyceum. The Pirates, however, made the game wild in the end. Unfortunately for Joseph Gabayni, he lost the ball in the dying seconds of the match where he appeared to have a strong drive to the basket for the potential equalizer. Despite escaping with the win, this is apparently not the way a finalist last year should start this season.

7. San Sebastian Golden Stags (0-1)

While San Sebastian lost to Mapua in their Thursday game, it was a gallant effort for Baste in Rodney Santos' coaching debut. All the Golden Stags need right now is another player to shine and help Bradwyn Guinto and Jamil Ortuoste in scoring.

8. Lyceum Pirates (0-2)
Rejj Sibayan
Despite losing back-to-back games to start the season, the thing is the Lyceum Pirates would have been 2-0. With a new African reinforcement in Victor Nguidjol helping Gabayni in the interior and the rise of streakshooter Shaq Alanes, the Pirates made the Altas bleed for their points before finally pulling away and scared the Chiefs in the end. If Lyceum can up a notch from its performance this past week, expect new coach Topex Robinson along with his star-studded staff featuring MBA legend Romel Adducul and PBA hotshot Gary David, a former King Pirate, to rack up wins.

9. EAC Generals (0-1)

EAC is still trying to make an identity apart from Cedric Happi, Coach Gerry Esplana, and John Tayongtong (if you know what I mean). While new mentor Andy De Guzman had no choice but to take a 28-point beating by San Beda on his team, he will get a big boost as Sidney Onwubere will make his season debut this week. Onwubere's suspension for his part in the Tayongtong incident actually carried over to the San Beda game, making him only available after that one.

10. CSB Blazers (0-2)
Rejj Sibayan
Another team looking for a new identity is CSB. Apparently, Jonathan Grey had a tough time carrying the load for the Blazers, who lost key players from last season, in Week 1, having to take stinging defeats. The 29-point bludgeoning by Letran and Bright's 44-19 statline put them at the cellar for this week.

(Note: The opinions of the writer do not reflect those of Dugout Philippines.)