UAAP Season 80 Primer: Who can beat DLSU?

It’s UAAP season once again! SLAM PH got the ball rolling by looking back at historic UAAP moments and asking, “Where were you when?”

The SLAM PH team will continue to answer questions as they look forward to UAAP Season 80. Who is the best player or coach in the league? What can Juan Gomez De Liano or Aljun Melecio bring to their respective teams? How good are the Ateneo Blue Eagles or the Adamson Soaring Falcons?

You’ve got questions, SLAM PH has the answers.

Why did you even click on this? Asa ka. See you next season.

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…Is what I would have said this time last year. The DLSU Green Archers were ridiculously stacked, with the best center in the league and a we’ll-take-everything recruitment style where their “problem” became having too much talent and not enough slots. It felt like a done deal, which is why people lost their shit when the Ateneo Blue Eagles stopped their sweep.

DLSU may have gone on to win the championship, and they’re still the team to beat, but shakeups like that seem more likely in UAAP Season 80. Ben Mbala should still be dominant, but he’ll miss the first two games while playing for Cameroon in the Afrobasket. The Archers still roll deep, but the team dynamic has to shift post-Jeron Teng. Meanwhile, other contenders have kept their core and kept building.

Here’s who could topple the DLSU Green Archers.

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The usual suspects: Ateneo Blue Eagles, FEU Tamaraws, Adamson Falcons

Each of DLSU’s closest contenders last season remain poised for a repeat appearance in the final four.

The Ateneo Blue Eagles still don’t have a star player, but that didn’t stop them from going all the way to the finals last year. Much is expected of the Adamson Falcons, who keep their young core, who should show more maturity this season.

Meanwhile, the FEU Tamaraws lost Reymar Jose and Axel Iñigo but still have the likes of Wendel Comboy to make those big shots. Bonus: They might have that extra fire to beat the Green Archers after that nasty pre-season brawl. Sure, they say they’re past it, but we see them subweets.

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The dark horses: NU Bulldogs, UP Fighting Maroons

First-year NU head coach Jamike Jarin has a knack for cultivating a close-knit culture off the court that translates into results during the game. During his tenure with the NCAA’s San Beda Red Lions, he trusted crucial minutes to lesser-known players who then came up big when the team needed them the most. With any luck, we’ll see fast improvement from rookies and reliable bench production.

If there’s anything we learned last season, it’s that the UP Fighting Maroons are done being the UAAP’s whipping boys. The squad is more confident than ever after adding UAAP Juniors MVP Juan Gomez de Liaño, and practicing with Bright Akhuetie.

And if nothing else, they deserve an award for best hype video.

I could see both teams beating the Green Archers in a regular game, and/or grabbing a final four slot from traditional contenders, but we’ll only get a proper sense of whether they could take home the championship during the season itself.

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Better luck next year: UE Red Warriors, UST Growling Tigers

Sorry, just keeping it real. ✌️