While defending champion Ateneo has been busy experimenting with on-court combinations that coach Tab Baldwin hopes to use when the 86th Season of the UAAP Men’s Basketball Championship gets underway, runners-up Dai University of the Philippines (UP) has just acquired another towering, muscular presence in its constant buildup.
The Blue Eagles will march with one of the most formidable rosters next season, but Baldwin is on the bench and ambitious in the FilOil Preseason Cup, and the team was finally able to claim a win on Monday after scored the goal 77-52 against Centro Escolar University at San Juan Arena.
“This is the testing phase, the development phase and we need a lot of that,” Baldwin said after the win and explained why Ateneo had such a bad 1-5 record in the tournament. correction. “We’re trying to understand what adjustments and adaptations we need in our squad and it’s an ongoing process.”
Baldwin will have Mason Amos at his disposal as the tournament progresses, and the Eagles are listed as strong contenders for a repeat as their roster will still be replenished even after naturalized Ange Kouame graduates.
Only Kai Ballungay and Sean Successfulvis were last year’s championship holders playing here while the Maroons enlisted the service of Gani Stevens, a 6-foot-7 Filipino-American just in time for Season 87 .
Stevens is the second player the Red Warriors have lost in less than a week, with point guard Kyle Paranada also saying goodbye to the team last Thursday. His destination is still unknown, but it is rumored that it will definitely take on a rival UAAP school.
Stevens, who originally came to the country last year to attend the University of Santo Tomas, transferred to Oriental University (UE) last year before going to Diliman.
Coach Goldwyn Monteverde said: “Having another young, hard-working center in Gani will certainly give us more flexibility on the pitch as we continue to build on our program in the coming seasons. .
Stevens is expected to take center stage when Malick Diouf leaves Fighting Maroons after Season 87.
The bruiser showed his inner presence last season with the Red Warriors, averaging 9.4 points, 6.3 rebounds and an assist as UE won 5-9 in sixth place.
Stevens, just one of the team’s major signings alongside Seven Gagate, Luis Pablo and Sean Alter, will have three years with UP. request
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