Sunday, August 10, 2008

STI opens the NAASCU with a win over UM

Ramon Mabayo led the Olympians with 20 points

When the summer of 2008 started, the STI College Olympians can barely scrimmage because there were only 8 players attending the practices. Ever since the age limit in the NAASCU was lowered to 23 years old, the Olympians have already pegged this year as an adjustment year since most of their returning stars, MVP Dexter Micutuan, Mark Balneg, Manuel Juan and James Tolentino, were affected by the rule.

Last year's third string guard Alvin Macabasco
is now the lead guard of the Olympians

As a result the Olympians recruited players from different parts of the country and landed some good ones but were still wary if they will be competitive since the rest of the team will be manned by virtually untested players. Come the second week of April, Chris Aqualifull a 6-7 Ghana native was scouted by the team and brought to the STI line up as another new face that will don the jersey of the Olympians. Unfortunately, the defensive demon has since transferred to more than four schools with the last one being St. Clare College, which eventually released him. In the first game of the Olympians in the FMC they were badly beaten by De Ocampo College which showed that the team was in disarray! After that loss the STI College Olympians Coach Vic Ycasiano made some adjustments and tirelessly taught the new recruits what he needs with players coming in. Luckily, the NAASCU season opened three weeks later than the original schedule which added additional time for the Olympians to gel as a unit.

Mike Cabangon blocks Jun Napiza from behind

The 8th NAASCU opened hours before the Beijing Olympics and it was not a coincidence that the Olympians proved superior this time around. Going to the experience of PBL veterans Ramon Mabayo and Daryl Mendoza, the STI College Olympians put one again over the University of Manila Hawks 80-68 in the first game of the season witnessed by a jampacked oven hot Rizal Memorial Coliseum.

Arnold Danganan passes the leather

The Olympians started like a house on fire as they immediately raced to a 10-4 lead through the efforts of their new prized find Arnold Danganan and veteran Mike Cabangon. The Hawks starring center Jun Napiza then came to life and leveled the count at 11-all. After that through their other gunners GUimpatan and Ryeon delos Trinos the Hawks came alive and ended the quarter with a big spurt to lead 19-15 after 10 minutes of action. The Olympians on the other hand regrouped through their veterans Ramon Mabayo, Darryl Mendoza and Mike Cabangon as the 3 Ms gave the lead back to the Olympians as the half ended with the Olympians on top 37-35.

Mabayo in one of his garbage to gold plays

In the third quarter the Olympians began to put a little distance between them and the Hawks as they employed their vaunted full court press that resulted in numerous turnovers by the Hawks. These turnovers were translated into points by Danganan and Jay Aranzaso. A noteworthy revelation was STI College CDO recruit Maclean Sabellina who at 6-4 can be another Arwind Santos in the making. Sabellina teamed with Norman Ihalas to stem the tide for the Olympians in the third quarter.

Jay Aranzaso on the move

The fourth quarter saw the Olympians tighten their defense more as they clamped down on Napiza while delos Trinos and Guimpatan had a hand in their faces which made it hard for them to get the same looks in the first half. The best the Hawks could do was put the lead down to six points as their starters Russen Asuncsion and Reggie Malinao fouled out successively with Asuncion baited to 4 offensive fouls. After that the Hawks offered no more resistance in the homestretch as they buckled with the pressure.

Daryl Mendoza was a force on defense

Forward Ramon Mabayo topscored for the Olympians with 20 pts while Arnold Danganan ably backed him up with 18 points as veterans Daryl Mendoza and Mike Cabangon scored 8 and 6 respectively. Another noteworthy addition to the Olympians is Jay Aranzaso who scored 8 points with most of them coming from good defense with which he translated to baskets plus a three pointer.

Mike Cabangon scores

The University of Manila Hawks were led by 2005 Rookie of the Year and last year's Mythical 5 member Jun Napiza with 21 points. Napiza got support from Chris Guimpatan who tallied 14 points, Ryeon delos Trinos who scored 12 points and last year's assists king Russen Asuncion with 10. What spelled the doom for the Hawks was the four offensive fouls of Asuncion who eventually fouled out. After that the Hawks had a harder time setting up and breaking the STI press. Another Hawk who did not perform well was last year's Rookie of the Year, Reggie Malinao who scored only 2 points and was not even a factor in the defensive end.

Cabangon on the fastbreak

The rest of the league served notice to this win by STI and the heads up play of the Hawks which a lot of NAASCU fans believe will renew their rivalry for the second straight year and most probably third possible. STI broke the tie in their head to head match up as UM won six straight games against the Olympians from 2004 to 2005 while the Olympians won its seventh straight game against the hawks.

The surprise package Arnold Danganan on the drive

With a big win like this, better days are sure to come the Olympian’s way.

The Scores


Mabayo 20, Danganan 18, Mendoza 8, Aranzaso 8, Cabangon 6, Sabellina 6, Vasallo 5, Ihalas 5, Macabasco 4, Crisostomo 0, Daguplo 0, Waminal 0,

UM (68)

Napiza 21, Guimpatan 14, Delostrinos 12, Assuncion 10,De Rosas 3, Paguio 2, Dagala 2, Malinao 2, Sadsad 2,

Quarterscores: 15 – 19, 37-35, 56 -48, 80 - 68

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