Before returning for another round of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the participating schools underwent several shifts in their basketball teams–from having to rethink their roster up to managerial and staff switches. Here are some of the changes.
The Blazers of the host school, De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, exited last season’s tournament with a 5-13 record. Adding insult to injury was the loss of ace point guard Carlo Lastimosa who decided to forfeit his final playing year. The team also had two coach replacements. In response, the College employed Gabby Velasco as head coach last February, who led the Blazers all the way to Fr. Martin’s Cup Finals, putting them in second place in the end. NCAA-wise, the Blazers have so far scored a 2-0 overall.
The three-peat holder San Beda College Red Lions, now mentored by former Philippine Basketball Association guard Boyet Fernandez, is back for a roar for four. However, the exit of key players Jake Pascual and Anjo Caram, as well as veteran Carmelo Lim are contributing to a rough start this season with a near defeat by the Blazers and a staggering loss against Lyceum of the Philippines University Pirates.
The San Sebastian College-Recoletos Golden Stags, who fell short in third place last season, is now without “The Beast” Calvin Abueva. By the start of 2013, Topex Robinson returned for another head coaching stint with the Golden Stags after stepping down from the said post last season. He replaced the then-Stags’ interim coach Allan Trinidad.
The Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights lost to San Beda in the finals last season, and with it, was the resignation of former head coach Louie Alas, whose former position was later swapped by ex-Rain or Shine tactician Caloy Garia. Another shocking blow to the Knights is the departure of their ace guard Kevin Alas, who decided to forego his final playing year to join the National team Gilas. Alas, however, said that he would still pursue his studies in Letran.
The Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers, Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals, and Arellano University retooled their rosters by adding import players. Meanwhile, the Lyceum of the Philippines University Pirates found hope in Mark Francisco and Wilson Baltazar as they both led the Pirates in the Fr. Martin’s Cup in an outstanding fashion.
Photo by Joaquin Talan