They want you to think they’re a team in distress. They want you to think playing them will be a walk in the park, because the moment you do, they’ll look to shock you with a win.
This will be the theme for this reinvigorated lineup come Season 78. They are done stealing the hearts of the public, they’re out to steal wins and they’re praying that one of their seven opponents is just foolish enough to let their guard down.
Season 77 was a nightmare. Since then, the Adamson community has woken up. This will not be year two of the supposed three-year development plan, instead, this will be year one of a brand new focus- play basketball to win.
Coach Michael Fermin
With new head Coach Michael Fermin taking over for a PBA legend, the pressure is on him to ensure that the team’s win total increases by 100% from last year. Despite losing key players in Axel Iñigo and Matthew Aquino who were supposed to be the cornerstones on which the Falcons would rebuild, Coach Mike is positive that their holdovers are up to snuff and their new additions will be just what the doctor ordered for their ailing lineup.
His job, which has already chosen to accept, is to take a team that played at a slow pace of 76.3 possessions per game , which only managed a meager 74.3 offensive rating while allowing their opponents’ ratings to go up as high as 93.2, and turn them into a respectable team. He has the unenviable task of working to improve on last season’s paltry 35.4% eFG. The community doesn’t really expect him to make them contenders over night, but they want to see the determination and giant-slayer mentality that took them to the final four twice before.
Players to Look Out for
Yes, the Falcons lost their top scorers to “graduation”. Both Don Trollano and Jansen Rios who got drafted in the PBA were evidently the go-to guys for the Falcons last year with 31.5% and 24.9% usage ratings respectively. Fortunately, the void simply means there will be new faces to possibly rise to the occasion and take on the challenge.
This year’s captain, Dawn Ochea, a recruit from Ateneo de Davao didn’t catch the attention of fans or opponents. His 16% usage rating shows that the Falcons hardly trust him with the ball on offense and despite that, he was their leader on offensive rating. This is mainly because of his effort on the boards. He led the Falcons in offensive rebound percentage at 14.4% and in total rebounding percentage at 11.9%. He was outworking even his own teammates who were much taller than him. Without Trollano and Rios to turn to for buckets, Ochea will be forced to convert those second chances by himself. Expect Dawn to be everywhere on the court.
His stat line will not be glamorous, but his effort will definitely set the pace for the rest of the Falcons.
He’s the guy on all the papers, these days, and why wouldn’t he? This homegrown talent of Adamson’s Basic Education Department might just be the right mix of youth, talent and determination the Falcons need right now. In the juniors division, he led Adamson to the final four, earning him Mythical Five honors with averages of 12.9 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists.
If there are any doubts as to whether he can run with the big boys, just look at his Filoil preseason tournament stats where he averaged, 13.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3 assists. Not bad for a fresh-out-of highschool player. Since Ryan Monteclaro has graduated and Inigo bolted, he’ll be one of the main point guards in the rotation. The offense will be relying on his playmaking abilities, so it’s inevitable that this kid will grow up quickly.
A lot is still uncertain about this team as everything from coaching down to roster lineup has shaken up and changed since last season. There’s no telling how the veterans will respond to pressure or how quickly the rookies will get their footing. The only thing certain is that they don’t want a repeat of last year’s win total and are going the extra mile to make sure it doesn’t happen. Late night skills training with Coach Vince Hizon, tuning up against professionals, they’re paying their dues the only way they know how, swallowing their pride, putting in the work and facing failure head on.
On my freshman year in Adamson, I watched our team struggle to a three-win season. That marked the beginning of reaching the Final Four twice and becoming recognized as a powerhouse. I believe this year might be the same, Adamson will go through growing pains, they will let go of close games but they will get it right a few times. They can get at least five wins this season.