A strong XU finish in Naga ‘Jam Meet’

THEY fell short of winning the titles in the ballgames. But basketball coach Arvin Martinez and volleyball mentor Angeliz Anoos were one in saying the performance of the Cagayan de Oro-based Xavier University (XU) athletes in the recently-held 2014 Jesuit Athletic Association (JAM) Meet in Naga City was quite laudable.

The XU college men’s basketball team, probably inspired by the return of Dodan Lagbas in its lineup, overpowered their neighbors in Mindanao (Ateneo de Davao, Ateneo de Zamboanga) as well as host Ateneo de Naga before yielding in the finals to powerhouse Ateneo de Manila reinforced by a 6-foot-10 black American center Henderson and a couple of 6`7” players.

“We battled them toe-to-toe in the early goings, but as soon as they played zone defense we eventually melt in the face of Ateneo de Manila’s towering frontliners,” Martinez told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro.

The fast-breaking Dodan, son of the late Misamis Oriental board member Roldan Lagbas, tried his luck in Cebu with the South Western Cobras before deciding to go back home after a few seasons in the Queen City of the South.

“Balanse `mi and lisod ma scout kay tanan namo dula offensively lahi-lahi na player ang ga-deliver specially mga veterans sa team,” Martinez said referring to team captains Rhodelle “Oding” Nagac and Noel Yaranon Jr., Red Cachuela, Neil “Tatang” Malagar and Lagbas.

“Team defense was also a big factor in which every member of the team delivered. Dako sab kaayong tabang ang support sa parents and the rest of Xavier U delegation every game namo kay full force pod kaayo sila.”

And Martinez had an interesting story to share. “Actually, atong team naka-champion na sa una when Cagayan de Oro hosted the JAM Meet in 2008. Former Claveria town mayor Rocky Calingin was handling the team when our XU boys managed to beat the visiting Ateneo de Manila in the finals.”

As the over-achieving XU shuttlers swept the men and women’s championships in tertiary badminton, the secondary volleybelles of coach Anoos also made ripple in their first ever appearance in JAM Meet.

“We’re very proud since it was an inter-ateneo event nationwide. Maskin dagko kaayo ang Davao still, we fought a good fight,” Anoos said of her gutsy wards who triumphed over Ateneo de Naga, Ateneo de Iloilo and Ateneo de Zamboanga before losing to the Dabawenyas in three sets.

Spiker Ranielle Carmeli Rosales led XU volleyball girls’ impressive debut in Bicol region in the company of Gericca Pauline Gabutan, Rea Maritela Raagas, Gina Marie Sherry, Ana Andrea Chaves, Anna Mariah Camellahen Pimentel, Mary Margarette Baang, Nathalie Gyle Galvez, Freyzelle Haze Micabalo, Juliana Isabel Peligrino, Hannah Hilary Ababon, Ella Andrea Morre and Joshel Mae Edrozo.

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