Baste team to beat in NAASCU

SAN Sebastian College-Cavite is the defending champion, but several other teams  are expected to provide stiff  challenge when the 10th  season of the National  Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (NAASCU)  finally comes of the wraps on July 30 at  the Ninoy Aquino Stadium and Rizal Coliseum.

The Baycats, who are seeking an unprecedented third straight championship,  are installed as the prohibitive favorites in the prestigious tournament  organized by  the NAASCU for the 10th straight  year.

Last year, SSC-Cavite  swept  five-time champion University of Manila,  71-69,  in Game 1 and    repeated, 98-91, in overtime in Game 2 in the scheduled best-of-three-title showdown to capture the title for the second straight year.

The Egay Macaraya-mentored Baycats  bagged  their  first-ever title by beating STI College in 2008.

“We expect another  exciting basketball season with most of the teams ready to take another crack at the elusive title ,” said NAASCU president Dr. Ernesto Jay Adalem of St. Clare College.

Adalem said  that although only four teams – UM, SSC-Cavite, STI and AMA Computer University —  have won the NAASCU title, the competition is always “tight and exciting due to the  talent-laden l ineups of the member-teams.”

NAASCU chairman Atty. Ernesto de los Santos of UM  said more than 12,000 students from different  member-schools are expected to show up during the opening day  alone.

“In the opening  games of the basketball alone, we expect an overflow crowd,” said De los Santos, whose team, UM Hawks, dominated the league’s first five seasons.

Philippine Sports Commission  (PSC) chairman Harry Angping will be the guest of honor during the opening ceremonies while Misamis Oriental Gov. Oscar Moreno will be the keynote speaker.

This year’s theme, according to Adalem, is “Education Through Sports.”

Basketball competitions will  usher in the season with hostilities  in two different venues – Ninoy Aquino Stadium and Rizal Coliseum.

Aside from basketball, other  disciplines to be contested in the NAASCU calendar are volleyball, billiards,  track and field, badminton, table tennis, taekwondo, handball and duathlon.

There will also be a cheer dance competition among the participating schools, colleges and universities.

Joining SSC-Cavite are  UM, St. Clare College-Caloocan,  Centro Escolar University, New Era University, University of Makati,AMA Computer College, STI College, Informatics, Pamantasan  ng Lunsod ng Pasay, Our Lady of Fatima University  and Lyceum of Subic Bay.

Competitions will also be held in the junior  level, adding  that college players may compete in the division as long as they meet the age requirement.

Also on tap is games in the women’s division. Radito Torres

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