It’s no surprise that Bobby Ray Parks Jr. and Kiefer Ravena played a superb game for their respective squads in the opening of the 2013 FilOil Flying V Premiere Cup at the San Juan Arena yesterday. It’s just another day in the office for these two.
But there are some remarkable performances from the opening day games, mostly coming from new faces in college basketball, which should make 2013 an even more exciting season.
1. National U’s Alfred Aroga
The Bulldogs hardly missed Cameroonian workhorse Emmanuel Mbe as new recruit Alfred Aroga shone in a featured match-up against San Beda’s bull strong center Olaide Adeogun. The 6’7” Aroga was instrumental in NU’s amazing come-from-behind win over the Red Lions in overtime, 73-71, as he collected 16 points, 12 rebounds and 1 block in 28 minutes of play. He even scored over Adeogun in a one-on-one fast-break action with a crossover move and reverse lay-up. Adeogun finished with 14 markers and 10 boards. With Aroga, the Bulldogs have something to get excited about this season. He may very well be the quickest import in college hoops today.
2. La Salle’s Jason Perkins
Just like NU, the La Salle Green Archers also came back strong in the fourth quarter from a six-point deficit to pull the rug from under the UST Growling Tigers, 73-67, with a lot of help from rookie Jason Perkins. The Fil-American from Minnesota topscored for DLSU with 17 points, on top of 13 caroms and two assists.
More importantly, he was the key figure in a 9-0 La Salle rally that reversed the outcome of what looked like a UST-dominated game, particularly in the first three periods. Perkins can only bolster the already formidable La Salle frontline of Norbert Torres, Arnold Van Opstal, Yutien Andrada and Papot Paredes, making the Archers probably the tallest team in college basketball.
3. La Salle’s Gabby Reyes
Sophomore guard Gabby Reyes also impressed for the Archers yesterday, outshining his more illustrious teammate Jeron Teng during a huge DLSU run in the payoff period. The former La Salle Zobel standout went five-of-five from the field, including a dagger triple from the corner that broke the back of the Tigers in the last few minutes of play. Reyes finished with 13 markers, three assists and one steal in his best game ever with the Green Archers. Teng had 10 points.
4. Ateneo’s Nico Elorde
Another second-year guard from DLSZ had a noteworthy performance on opening day, this time for the Ateneo Blue Eagles. Nico Elorde more than made up for the absence of starting point guard Juami Tiongson as he exploded for 19 points, including two crucial treys in the fourth quarter, to lift the Eagles past the SWU Cobras, 77-72. He shot an incredible 50% clip from beyond the arc, connecting on four out of eight attempts, and also had five rebounds, four assists and one steal. Elorde is turning out to be a solid back-up playmaker for ADMU this year.
5. Ateneo’s Chris Newsome
Chris Newsome finally ended a long wait in suiting up for Ateneo as he has now become eligible to play after sitting-out for two years. And in his debut game, the 22-year old rookie from New Mexico revealed why the Ateneo community has looked forward to seeing him in action against the country’s best teams. Dubbed “Awesome Newsome” by some ADMU boosters, Chris completed a game-long brilliance with a double-double performance of 14 points and 11 rebounds, plus two assists and one steal. He has been most impressive with his cat-quick dribble penetrations and hang-time moves. “Awesome Newsome” combined with Ravena will make an awesome twosome this season for the Blue Eagles.
6. Southwestern U’s African recruits
SWU may have lost sensational Cameroonian Benoit Mbala to DLSU. But the Cobras paraded with not one but three African imports against ADMU yesterday. Still with the team is sophomore center Justin Aboude, also from Cameroon. Aboude teamed-up with Mbala last year in the PCCL where SWU finished at fourth spot behind Ateneo, UST and San Beda. But of the three foreign players, he was also the least impressive against the Blue Eagles, finishing with only four points and four boards in 11 minutes of action. 6’10” behemoth Fabrice Siewe was an intimidating presence on the floor yesterday, and produced 12 markers and five rebounds for the Cobras. But the most impressive was the 6’6” Landry Sanjo, who garnered nine points, 10 rebounds, one assist and one steal in 17 minutes. Sanjo was the hardest worker of them all, going after every loose ball. With three imports, SWU is no pushover this year and will surely give the Manila teams a run for their money.
With only six teams seeing action so far and already so many new faces making waves, this 2013 FilOil Cup edition should be one of the most competitive and exciting pre-season tournaments in recent years. More promising rookies are eager to make a good impression as well in the coming games.
It’s the beginning of another sensational college basketball season.