UAAP Season 84 was short and quick*. (*Just seven weeks of frantic college basketball—four times a day, three times a week.) UAAP Season 84 was weird*. (*It started with no fans, then a few, then a packed, roaring arena for a Game 3 UAAP Finals game in May*.) (*What?) Season 85 should be different: no more bubble, multiple venues, with a game schedule that allows us to breathe. There are no more excuses. Drop all asterisks. No BS in 85. It’s PAYBACK SEASON.
The Adamson Soaring Falcons, the host of UAAP Season 85, will be one of the teams to watch out for this season. The team put an emphasis on “organization and culture” last season and are looking to improve on their fifth place finish just six months ago.
“Last season was about getting used to Coach Nash’s system. This time around, it’s all about execution,” Flever Dignadice told SLAM Philippines.
Dignadice sat on the sidelines as his Soaring Falcon brothers went to battle last season. He was with them in the bubble and saw their journey from bonding as a team, learning Coach Nash Racela’s playing style, and watching their ups and downs during the game. Playing under a new coach and system as they adjusted to the bubble setup, being one place away from the Final Four is commendable for the team.
Two of Adamson’s games in the first round of UAAP Season 84 were decided in the final minute of play. Dignadice said these games are points of improvement as the two dropped wins could have secured them at least a tiebreaker. Staying focused and executing when the game is on the line is a point of emphasis for the team. This is a story to watch as the season unfolds.
“Coach Nash and Coach Gilbert are teachers. They want you to find your role or niche in the team. Minutes are very competitive here so we need to earn them so we can win as many games as possible,” said Dignadice.
There’s a high importance on team culture during the Soaring Falcons’ preparations to start the season. The team went to Davao and Surigao for preparations, then joined the Filoil EcoOil Preseason Cup and Philippine Collegiate Champions League to ramp up conditioning. The games have helped them execute their plays better as they are played every other day, but Dignadice said chemistry is an aspect the coaching staff puts a lot of work in during their training.
This current crop of Soaring Falcons is a talented mix with Jerom Lastimosa, Joaquin Jaymalin, and other key recruits to make them competitive. It is now important for the players and the coaching staff to gel, knowing their roles, finding how they can contribute to the team, and buying into their goal. Small acts such as helping a teammate adjust to life in the Philippines, staying to practice more shots, or getting their bodies right to last longer throughout the season go a long way to establishing culture within the team.
The coaches want to do their part to make the players comfortable in their roles. It is now up to everyone then to sacrifice for the bigger goal of winning a championship.
“We want to be as competitive as we can be this season. Final Four is definitely the aim, but we’ll only get there by using our basketball IQ more and making the right play all the time,” Dignadice said.
The Adamson basketball program is definitely a project. Getting a coach such as Nash Racela coupled with Batang Gilas prospects help in making the school competitive, where everyone is getting better each season. There is a short turnaround from Season 84 to Season 85, but the team is raring to go for payback as their Round 1 schedule picks up in October.
There will now be an emphasis on spacing, timing, and using their basketball IQ as they have added more concepts and schemes from last season. They hope that their new recruits such as Dignadice and Ray Allen Torres, together with the improved playing style translate to a Final Four finish or even better.
[Photos by UAAP]