NCAA Season 87 to open amidst sea of changes
by rick olivares with pic by gus dela cruz
The theme line the National Collegiate Athletic Association Season 87 is “Brazen @87: Many motion, one direction.”
The league has yet to commence its sporting tournaments and the ten teams that comprise the NCAA are in a state of frenzy while on the path towards athletic greatness.
The host school, University of Perpetual Help System Dalta, scored a knockout when they announced that no less than the world’s pound-for-pound boxing king Manny Pacquiao will be the guest of honor when the 87th Season of the country’s oldest collegiate league unfolds on Saturday, July 2, 2011 at the Araneta Coliseum.
Dr. Anthony Tamayo, President of the University of Perpetual Help System Dalta as well as this year’s NCAA President, announced that the theme for this year’s tournament is “Brazen @87: Many motion, one direction.”
But UPHSD was also floored when Tamayo announced that men’s basketball team head coach Boris Aldeguer resigned from his post on the morning of the NCAA press conference at the ABS CBN Eugenio Lopez Jr. Building in South Triangle, Quezon City.
Aldeguer who allegedly stepped down in disgust last Friday after the NCAA Mancom disallowed Paul Nuilan from suiting up for the Altas for this season.
This was the second straight year that Perpetual Help was dealt a stinging setback literally days prior to the start of the competition. Last year, Nuilan and forward-center Marlon Gomez were declared ineligible by the NCAA for not submitting their proper transfer and residency papers after moving from Letran and Philippine Christian University respectively.
Aldeguer hoped that the two would have served out their proper residency after being disallowed from playing in Season 86. However, the NCAA previously banned Nuilan and Gomez.
Jimwell Gican, Aldeguer’s assistant and the head coach of the Junior Altas was named as Aldeguer’s replacement.
It isn’t only Perpetual Help that will enter the season missing a vital cog, San Beda College, the defending champion who made NCAA history last year by sweeping the tournament 18-0, will most likely be without American center Sudan Daniel who tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the Filoil Flying V Premier Cup.
“All the teams loaded up this year,” said Red Lions head coach Frankie Lim. “But we got weaker because of the absence of Sudan. We will defend our championship to the best of our abilities.”
San Beda’s misfortune may be Mapua’s gain. With a veteran cast and Yousef Taha who was recently named a member of the Mythical Five and Defensive Player of the Filoil Flying V Premier Cup in harness, Cardinals coach Chito Victolero believes that despite the graduation of Macky Acosta, TG Guillermo, and Erwin Cornejo, they can still compete.
The Cardinals made the quarterfinals of the Filoil tourney and the finals of the Fr. Martin Cup where they lost out to National University. “Taha and Mike Parala will give us a presence inside,” said the former Cardinal who played on their last title team with Benny Cheng in 1991 with Joel Banal as their head coach. Banal’s son, Gabriel, who last played with La Salle in the UAAP, is now serving out his residency and will suit up for Mapua the following year.
San Sebastian College-Recoletos, a finalist in the past two seasons, will parade a new coaching staff with Arturo Valenzona as head coach with his son Raymond and former Stags great Edgar Macaraya as assistants. Macaraya just came off a sterling stint with San Sebastian College-Recoletos Cavite Baycats that won back-to-back titles in NAASCU in 2008-2009. “We will have a new system to take advantage of what Calvin Abueva, Ronald Pascual, and Ian Sangalang can do for us.”
The Stags are without point guard Pamboy Raymundo and center Gilbert Bulawan who finished out their playing years.
Arellano University, coached by former Mapua and PBA star Leo Isaac, removed Sierra Leone native Charles Mammie midway during the summer tournaments because of his conduct. Mammie, after serving out his two-year residency, was being counted on to provide toughness inside the shaded area, a weakness of the Chiefs. “Ganyan talaga,” said Isaac with a shake of his head. “Mga hindi inaasahang bagay nangyayari. Fortunately, we had a few weeks to prepare for that loss.”
The traditional opening ceremony will be held at 1:00pm at the Araneta Coliseum. This is the third time that Perpetual Help will be hosting the NCAA. They previously hosted in 1995 and 2004.
Perpetual Help was touted to challenge for a Final Four slot this season but without Nuilan, the Altas are left with only one big man in Gomez. “Laban lang,” succinctly said Gican.
The NCAA will also feature a guest team in Lyceum of the Philippines University Pirates under coach Bonnie Tan. “This is an opportunity for the school and our team. It won’t be easy but this will be a good experience of us.”