At 8:08 in the morning of August 8, 2008, the National Athletic Association of Schools Colleges and Universities (NAASCU) opens its 8th Season at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum. The defending champion STI College Olympians opens its bid for back to back titles as they try to catch up with the team they beat last year, five - time NAASCU Champion, the
New league rules are in effect this season with the most significant one being the 23 years age limit which takes effect this season. Most of the teams were affected by this ruling but all teams were informed of the rule last season which in turn gave everyone the needed time to adjust.
Now let us see the first six of twelve teams of the NAASCU and how they will measure up this season.
Mike Cabangon's high leaping acts
will be the focus of the Olympian's offense this year
STI COLLEGE OLYMPIANS
If not for the new age ruling the Olympians would still have the services of tournament MVP Dexter Micutuan and six other veterans. During the off season the Olympians started their recruitment by going to young unknowns and recruiting by as far as Cagayan de Oro city to land the players that they need. Although they believe they will be the starters for next year, the Olympians hope that forwards Maclean Sabellina, Raffy Waminal, Mike Daanoy and Bryan Daguplo together with guards Norman Ihalas and Paul Sabacahan will develop fast to be able to contribute for this year’s squad. The Olympian’s strength lie on their pressure defense which they translate into easy baskets.
this year the core of that team is still intact
which makes them the favorites to win again
In 2006, it earned membership in the NAASCU and proved its teams as worthy contenders in different events. Former Baycats players who made their mark in collegiate basketball have been drafted by professional-league teams, including Jan Philip Villaver, who is now a member of the National Basketball Commission and the Liga ng Pilipinas; Glenn Bolocon, who currently plays for the San Mig Coffee team in the Philippine Basketball League (PBL); and Jerome Cenita, who was a former Hapee Toothpaste player in the PBL. Mark Yee is also being eyed for membership by one of the teams in the PBL.
The team coached by former San Sebastian Stag and PBA hotshot Egay Macaraya will bank on his team game led by his returnees Raymond Alcasabas, Lyle Antipuesto, Mark Basa, Bryan Filio, Oliver Villareal and Joseph Pasagui. This team plays good defense, runs well and has good shooters to complement their big men. The Baycats are perennial favorites and are eager to improve on their third place finish.
AMA COMPUTER UNIVERSITY TITANS
The 2006 Titlists are in a bind since the departure of Coach Boni Garcia and 2006 League MVP Chito Jaime. The Titans are on a rebuilding mode again this year and will count on the experience of their 2006 finals MVP Robbie Zablan to carry the fight for the new look Titans. Expect surprises from their team as they vow to improve on their fourth place finish last year.
NEW ERA UNIVERSITY HUNTERS
Coach Adonis Tierra is also wary of the fact that his leading scorer Jonathan De Guzman won’t be back this season. The Hunters will most probably hunt for respectability this season as they only listed 11 players who will don the New Era jersey. Their team will be bannered by Jerome Castillo, Jan Michael Ocampo and Louie Roncal and are hopeful that the rest of the team will be able to solidify their chances to advance to the final four. Like all its teams, the Hunters have pulled off surprises here and there with the line up that they have, so expect them to be tough and strong while rebuilding their current team.
NOTE: This primer also came out of the August edition of BASKETBOLISTA