AFTER a frustrating campaign in the National Basketball Training Center (NBTC) National championships in Manila last month, Assumption Montessori School (AMS) coach James Racines is confident the NMRAA boys will do better in the 2018 Palarong Pambansa which will start on April 16 in Vigan, Ilocos Sur.
“NBTC was disappointing because the organizers changed the cut-off age of the players at the last minute. We brought a team with players who were one year younger than their opponents,’’ he said.
However, Racines is thankful of the experience as they still managed to win one match against bigger and older team.
This time, the playing field in Vigan is level and Racines is positive the Northern Mindanao team powered by AMS school will have a strong showing.
They won the CdO Division meet against top local teams and then advanced to the Palaro when they topped the regional meet.
Racines is also confident they could surpass last year’s effort when the NMRAA basketball team got knocked out right in the elimination round.
“We have a stronger team for the Palaro as all of the players are reliable and fit to compete,” he added.
This is the third time for AMS to represent Region 10 in the Palaro, even as some players from other schools in the region have been selected to reinforce them.
“Last year the team that went to Antique did not win any game. Hopefully, we will make it to the knock out stage,” he said.
Racines makes it clear he prefers a team with no stars and have average ceiling but had really worked hard during their preparation.
Based on their performance in the NBTC regional in Iligan City few months back, the AMS boys were a bunch of highly skilled and disciplined players. They are guided extensively by their team manager and AMS school owner Jorey Alfaro and the AMS coaching staff.
They compensated their lack of height with relentless hustle, tough defense and non-stop running.
The team has prolific scorer Milo Janao Jr. and other AMS stalwarts Marc Leo Lim, Morhe Rey Christian Hosain, Joswa Mantalaba, Gary Antigua, and Ern Vincent Neri.
The AMS Jaguars have also recruited players from other schools in the region, like Sherwin Belardo from Quezon National High School of Bukidnon, Bon Babia of Fatima College of Camiguin and Willian Galendez also from Fatima College.
Racines considers the National Capital Region, Western Visayas, Central Visayas and Southern Mindanao as the teams to beat in the week-long competition.
Racines’ wards will play their first match on Monday, April 16 at the San Juan Municipal gym in Ilocos Sur, some 45 minutes away from Vigan.