Graduating junior basketball players brace for tougher battles

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By Marjorie Gorospe

QUEZON CITY, METRO MANILA—Junior year is over for the graduating yet unforgettable players of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) junior basketball. But as they wave goodbye to their high school grounds, they prepare for the much bigger collegiate league carrying their previous performances as passport.

Raphael Banal, team captain of the Ateneo Blue Eaglets soars high entering the same university to be handled by Coach Norman Black. Banal, son of Joel Banal from Great Taste Coffee Makers, was awarded one of the most outstanding student athletes of the Ateneo de Manila High School for 2009-2010. Now, he formally leaves the throne to the younger Kiefer Ravena.

The Eaglets won back to back title in the UAAP Season 71 and 72.

From the family of boxers, Nico Elorde who opted to play ball, leaves De La Salle Zobel to carry its all-time rival’s flag, the Ateneo de Manila University. With him is Gwyne Capacio, son of the defensive player and Far Eastern University coach, Glenn Capacio. They will be a big help to replace the go-to guys of Blue Eagles namely Rabeh Hussaini, Jai Reyes and Nonoy Baclao.

Anton Sevilla of the Junior Green Archers will pursue his basketball career at the College of Saint Benilde while their big boys, Luigi dela Paz, Aiki Herrera and the football turned basketball player, Arnold Van Opstal are now rehearsing with the De La Salle University Team. This is according to their assistant coach Ian Posadas. However, he claimed that this arrangement has yet to be finalized.

Meanwhile, Baby Tams’ scoring wizard Terrence Romeo, holding a record of 83 points in their game against the University of the Philippines, has been receiving offers from other schools but he will continue his scoring skill with his alma mater’s team, the FEU Tamaraws under coach Capacio. This was confirmed by his coach, Horacio Lim. He was awarded the best player of the season. His presence in the team is expected to help the Tams get back to fame after Mark Barroca was banned from the team.

Kyle Neypes, star player of the University of Santo Tomas Tiger Cubs is expected to launch slam dunks with the UST roaring tigers and continue Dylan Ababou’s legacy.

Watch as these players embark on a new journey of much bigger and tougher battles in the next UAAP season.


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