Monday, August 4, 2008

NAASCU opens 8TH Season on 08-08-08

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 University of Manila Hawks. Leading the Olympians is two time Mythical five member and San Mig Coffee forward Ramon Mabayo together with bullstrong forward Michael Cabangon, defensive specialist Daryl Mendoza, Inter STI MVP William Vasallo and speedy point guard Alvin Macabasco. Olympians Coach Vic Ycasiano has his hands full in blending these five veterans with the 12 new faces of the team. On the other hand, the UM Hawks are installed as one of the favorites again this year as the core of team includes scoring leader Onofre Napiza, Rookie of the year and rebound king Reggie Malinao and assists king Russen Asuncion are up to the challenge to get back at the Olympians. NAASCU fans are saying that this year’s finals will have a repeat of last year’s finalists.

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.

A gifted offensive forward,
Mike Cabangon's high leaping acts
will be the focus of the Olympian's offense this year


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.

Last year, the Hawks were a young team that made the finals,
this year the core of that team is still intact
which makes them the favorites to win again


The retirement of long time UM Coach Loreto “Ato” Tolentino who brought pride and honor to this squad has put questions to the future of the Hawks. But then again getting another seasoned bench tactician in Francis Rodriguez has suddenly installed the Hawks as early favorites. An important returnee besides Onofre Napiza and last year’s assist champion Russen Asuncion at the point is the high leaping rebound king Reggie Malinao who plays a lot like former Hawk Kelvin Gregorio. Other key players in the Hawks line up who will be pivotal in their campaign are Lawrence Paguio, Jason Mulawin, Ryeon Delostrinos and Christian Guimpatan. Last school year the Hawks were a young team but still made it to the finals which means this year, they are definitely the team to beat.

Now that Jerome Cenita and Glen Bolocon are both gone,
where will the Baycat's offense come from?


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.

The 2006 NAASCU Champions
will rely on Robbie Zablan
to orchestrate a winning formula


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.

Former Junior standout BJ Diswe
will pave the way for the Saints


When a team employs a Hall of Fame coach, things will definitely look up for your team. Coach Jimmy Mariano has high hopes that this year’s saints will make it to the final four and hopefully make it big this year. After winning the 2005 NAASCU Pre season tournament, the Saints have not yet returned to the final four and they are hoping that former junior standout BJ Diswe, together with Mcliester Opalia, Ebinezer Percibigan and Eugene Buquid can gel quickly with their new recruits so that they can go back to the final four. A notable inclusion in the team is Juniors MVP Aries PariƱas and Mythical team member Dahryl Nodora who will both play with the big boys after their one of a kind Juniors experience. More than making it big in the seniors division, St. Clare is out to defend their Juniors title which they first won last year against UM. The Baby Saints are perennial Junior’s contenders and with their confidence building win last year and they have a good chance to repeat it again this year.

The hunters will gun for
a return to the final four this year


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

1 comment:

berlai07 said...

wohoooo OLYMPIANS!