Season of overhauls

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Thursday, July 24, 2014


DEFENDING champions University of the Visayas Green Lancers will be campaigning for its 11th Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) Collegiate basketball crown without the two vital cogs who helped them win the title last year.

But despite the loss of the 2012 Rookie/MVP Hernal “Wowie” Escosio and Cameroonian workhorses Mike Harry Nzeusseu and Steve Cedrick Akomo, UV head coach Felix “Donbel” Belano is still optimistic of their chances to retain the title.

Escocio was let go after poor performances in his academics and in training. Akomo was adviced to gain more weight before getting back to the team, while Nzeusseu have gone awol.

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UV replaced Escosio, Nzeusseu and Akomo with players Nigerian Jeffakins Aguara, Cameroonian Jean-Marie Mpouma and newly acquired local slotman Jan Monic Soliva.

Aguara is said to be bigger and better than Nzeusseu, Mpouma is a 7-footer behemothm while Soliva is a 6’4” workhorse who is a former volleyball player.

The other players who will not be coming back for the defending champions are Arvie Cabañero, Vincent Mendoza, Angelo Babia, Venhur Villamor and Christian Fajardo. The replacements include June Kent Manzo III, Alwin Aguirre, Jerome Napao, Alvin Matthew Oche and Josue Segumpan.

Belano kept the services of John Abad, Chris Perolino, Raffy Octobre, Francisco Arong, Miko Marquez, Alfred Codilla and Leonard Santillan.

SWU Cobras

For the reigning Southern Island champions of the Philippine Collegiate Champions League (PCCL) and Cesafi runner-up Southwestern University Cobras, they will no longer have the services of the sharp-shooting Monbert Arong, the behemoth Fabrice Siewe, Jabe Bautista, Mark Panerio, Nilton Otida, Kristopher Lopez and Francis Ortega.

Justin Aboude will return to the line-up, while the new but not necessarily rookie players joining the Cobras are Kim Anthony Labitad, Dan Audrie Lagbas, Jovannie Luz, Antonio Pardo, Jasper Parker and Mark Racho.

Coach Raul “Yayoy” Alcoseba kept Landry Sanjo, Mark Jayven Tallo, Adams Mohammad, Bernie Bregondo, Daryl Goloran, Melvin Holper and Rey Mark Acuno.

USC Warriors

Third placer University of San Carlos meanwhile, no longer have its ace shooter Miguel Plata, Stephen Que, the two Cameroonian imports Ahmed Salihou and Barry Amin, Dave Francis Guardiario, Kevin Oleodo, Antony Romaguera, Jery Seno and Dominic Adlawan.

Coach Junthy Valenzuela hired two graduates of the SHS-AdC Magis Eagles squad Gio Laguyo and Lucky Ecarma along with Dolan Adlawan, Ramon Asuncion, Ian Bensig, Prince Malana, Ian Jefferson Taganan Congolese Espoir Toyami and Cameroonian Shooster Olago.

The remainder of last year’s lineup are Ian Ortega, Nico Magat, Christian Laude, Charles Pepito, Victor Rabat and Kiefer Lim.

USJ-R Jaguars

The University of San Jose-Recoletos Jaguars on the other hand went through a total revamp after naming Agripino “Jun” Noel as its new head coach.

With the departure of top player Rendell Senining to the National University Bulldogs, the team is left with holdovers from last year James Regalado, Kyle Lajato, Fletcher Galvez and Edmundo Bayhonan. The new recruits include Edmundo Catipay, Jim Custan, Mark Louie Labares, Nelvin Navarra, Renzo Senining, Iron Suano, Shann Christopher Tan, Kevin Villafranca, Gerald Villahermosa, Ralph Jude Dinolan and Congolese center Quintin Luzoladio.

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For the University of Cebu, coach Rhoel Gomez’s holdovers are Jan Michael Auditor, Junas Misa, Garciano Puerto Jr, Ernesto Roche II, Windell Santander, Johnny Sigasig and Carlos Tabaquero, while the rookies are Justine Dacalos, Clint Suelto, Ian Christopher Albrecht, Melvin Botuhan, Kerr Louis Nemil, Ranwolf Regg Pamaran and Edwin Villarta.

CIT Wildcats

Cebu Institute of Technology-University Wildcats head coach Gilbert Demape lost two of the team’s leading scorers last year – Floyd Taboada and Vincent Minguito.

This season, CIT is pinning hopes on his rookie forward Jesse Aloro and the returning Allan Dimco to help its leading scorer Joshua De la Cerna in carrying the team to another level with the help of another rookie players Mark Christian Kong and Mariel Muñez.

CIT-U’s other new players are John Anthony Lucena, Kelvin Maglasang, Jeffrey Taghoy and Niel Adrian Sabornido.

Demape’s holdovers are Franklyn Batiquin, Steven Bucao, Jose Marlo Pono, Wendyl Undaloc.

The University of Southern Philippines Foundation (USPF) Panthers took a leave this season.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 25, 2014.

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