Coach Norman Black was very excited when he was interviewed after winning his third UAAP Title and he said “We have a good recruiting class and if 2008 was good then this one will definitely be better!” He can see the excitement in his eyes but was a little reluctant to elaborate because it took time for top prospect Kiefer Ravena to finalize his college plans. Eventually the Phenom stayed home to the delight of the Blue and White.
As proven by their stellar play in the Flying V Filoil Tournament the Phenom Kiefer Ravena is not your average 17 year old rookie for he is years beyond his age in terms of basketball IQ. In his first game in the Filoil-Tourney his claws proved mightier than San Beda Red Lion’s paws as he scored 25 points to seal the deal. With him in the team, SHOWTIME will always be a part of the team’s play because everytime he holds the ball you are bound to see an amazing display of ball wizardry which will eventually translate into a great play.
Add to that a hulking 6-11 center who has played against the best international talents then you can forget who graduated and who did not make it to the team this year. Greg Slaughter gives the Blue Eagles another inside presence that can be the answer to the skyscrapers that entered the UAAP this year namely the 6-7 duo of DLSU and the 6-11 center of FEU. Greg’s international experience will usher well for the Blue Eagles and his shot blocking will be a big plus for the interior defense of the Blue Eagles.
Not only that, add to the mix former De La Salle Zobel Junior Archer hotshot Gwynne Capacio who also sat out last year to play for the National Youth team in Yemen. Capacio has recently been very fragile as various injuries kept him from a lot of training but will definitely be ready to play once called by Coach Norman.
If Ravena is the Michael Jordan of the Blue Eaglets last year then Von Pessumal can be his Scottie Pippen. Offensively sound when needed but defense flows in his blood as evidenced in his masterful shut down of Gwyne when they played for the 2009 UAAP Juniors Championship.
Last among the rookies is unknown to most but a gem in the making if handled well. In the 2007 NCAA Juniors Ryan Buenafe was the topscorer with 32 ppg and Nico Salva followed suit with a 29 ppg average and the third topscorer then was a JRU Light Bomber guard who averaged 28 ppg, he is non other than Bon Jovi Cipriano. He entered the Ateneo quitely at the same year that Salva and Buenafe’s rookie year but was sidelined with an ACL injury that more than hampered the way he scores. He was one of the more prolific shooters of the Ateneo Team B and finally we can see his true value.
Recruitment has always been a problem of the Blue Eagles in the dark ages but now it seems like we have been getting quality student athletes that will eventually help out in Ateneo’s quest to be the best team in the UAAP. Stay tuned!