Time to make a stand, Adamson.
After Adamson lost to FEU in last year’s Final Four, I believed that it was the end of that good team’s run. I didn’t think they’d get past Ateneo anyhow but to see them make the finals would have been reward enough for this team.
There’s a small window of opportunity for teams to win a title. A steady flow of good recruits ensures better chances.
For a team like Adamson that is without the resources of the bigger programs, that doesn’t come very often.
I saw those Adamson teams of Louie Alas back in the mid-1980s and they were always tough teams to play. They had their big chance in the early 1990s when they had Marlou Aquino, EJ Fiehl, and Kenneth Duremdes.
The early 2000 squads coached by Leo Austria were talented but always came up short.
Now the squad of the last few years was not only deep but really talented: Alex Nuyles, Eric Camson, Roider Cabrera, Lester Alvarez, Jerick Cañada, Janus Lozada, Jan Colina, and Austin Manyara. They also had Michael Galinato and the underrated Will Stinnett. Then they also tabbed Rodney Brondial. I always thought that what stopped them from taking it to the next level was their mental toughness.
Some people point to the win against Ateneo as a sign that they were ready to ascend. Excuse me. That was one win in what 15 years? One win does not make anything.
The same was said the previous year but come the Final Four Ateneo annihilated them.
Now with Nuyles out for the season, they’ll still play but this season is over for them. They’ll want to better upset a team or two because they are building for the next season now.
How tough is this for Nuyles? For this to come in his final season – he goes out with a season-ending injury.
The last time this happened was in 2004 when Larry Fonacier played his last year for Ateneo. Fonacier tore up his knee after having played three games. At that time, Ateneo was undefeated and they used that win to spur them on to sweep the first round. But after that the cracks widened and the team fell in the Final Four.
This is now an opportunity for Camson to take control of this team, for Cabrera to play more consistently, and for Jericho Cruz to become this team’s next creator (he has to learn what Nuyles does which is drive and drop). And perhaps more importantly, this is the best time for Ryan Monteclaro to show that he can run this team. This is not a time to roll over and let opposing teams walk all over them.
We know that Leo Austria is a very good coach. Now this is where we see what he can do with even less.