MANILA, Philippines - The University of the Philippines gets a big shot in the arm as it primes up for UAAP Season 79, drawing Chooks-to-Go’s support in all its basketball sports program, including the Maroons’ campaign in the upcoming tournament.
“We will support the pre-season games and training as well as the entire campaign of the UP Fighting Maroons in the 79th UAAP season,” said Ronald Mascariñas, president and general manager of Bounty Agro Ventures, Inc. (BAVI), which operates the country’s largest roasted chicken retail business.
The support involves full merchandising, meal provisions, life-coaching, and personal development of the team and staff as Chooks-to-Go encourages the players to be shining examples of true sportsmanship, on and off the court.
Will the long wait for UP to finally light up a real bonfire to celebrate the return of the elusive UAAP basketball crown to Diliman be over in the next couple of years?
If a picture posted on Facebook on Saturday night by UP alumnus and former PBA governor JB Baylon is to be taken at face value, the state university will probably be seeing the second coming of a Benjie Paras in the person of Kai Zacharry Sotto, a 13-year-old prodigy who at 6'9 is already being trumpeted as the future of Philippine basketball.
Sotto's picture showing him holding a Maroons jersey was posted on Baylon's Facebook account Saturday night with a caption saying, "DONE DEAL! Kai Sotto, all of 6ft 9 (as of today) poses with legendary Maroons coach Joe Lipa, former Maroons standout Marvin Cruz and myself in Guiuan, Eastern Samar. The future of Maroons basketball is assured."
MANILA, Philippines – Dolreich “Bo" Perasol is returning home to his alma mater. The former Fighting Maroon who coached the Ateneo Blue Eagles for the past three seasons up until the end of the 78th season of the UAAP, is reportedly going to be introduced as UP’s head coach right before its participates in the summer tournaments PhilStar.com's source said.
Perasol, who guided Ateneo to an overall record of 27-18 and two Final Four finishes, will be replacing Rensy Bajar who was at the helm of the team for last season’s squad that finished seventh with a 3-11 record. The Fighting Maroons were unable to achieve its Final Four aspirations despite a strong pre-season showing.
Perasol suited up for the Fighting Maroons from 1990-94 and was named team captain in his final playing year. He coached Air21 and Powerade in the Philippine Basketball Association before his Ateneo stint. With his eventual calling the shots for his alma mater, Perasol will be one of two UP basketball tacticians to have called the shots for both Katipunan Avenue schools; the other being Joe Lipa.
MANILA, Philippines – De La Salle University-commit Aljun Melecio averaged nearly 28 minutes per game when he starred for De La Salle-Zobel in the UAAP juniors division, and took 280 field goals in the Season 78 tournament.
Melecio, the UAAP Season 78 MVP, knows he will not get the same minutes or the same number of shots when he plays for the Green Archers starting in Season 79.
"I have to give quality minutes," Melecio said in a recent interview, when asked of his contributions to La Salle. "Mas maraming options na gagamitin si Coach Aldin (Ayo), so quality minutes."
MANILA, Philippines – Ateneo de Manila University commit Jolo Mendoza has been touted as the "next phenom" of the school's basketball program for so long that it no longer fazes him.
Mendoza endured comparisons to two-time UAAP Most Valuable Player (MVP) Kiefer Ravena ever since he joined the Ateneo Blue Eaglets program, and in Season 77 he more than lived up to those comparisons with an explosive performance in the Finals of the juniors tournament.
In Game 3 of the Finals against the National University (NU) Bullpups, Mendoza exploded for 30 points to lead the Blue Eaglets to a 90-73 win, and their first title since Ravena himself led Ateneo to a "three-peat" in 2010. Mendoza was named MVP of the Finals and seemed to be on his way to an explosive senior season.
MANILA, Philippines – La Salle Greenhills standout Ricci Rivero is looking forward to playing with his older brother, Prince, with the Green Archers in the UAAP even as he admits he feels a certain pressure to live up to the hype.
Rivero, an athletic guard who can also play small forward in college, is already practicing with the De La Salle University Green Archers after a decorated career in the NCAA juniors division.
"I'm happy to train with them," Rivero said. "They always teach me to be a better rookie and be a mature player."
MANILA, Philippines – De La Salle University should be among the early favorites to win the UAAP men's basketball championship next season after luring head coach Aldin Ayo from Letran and bringing in new talent that includes Ben Mbala, Aljun Melecio, and potentially, Ricci Rivero.
Melecio, one of the best players and most explosive scorers in the UAAP juniors division, has already committed to La Salle, while Ayo said Rivero has done the same although the NCAA standout has yet to make a formal announcement.
Mbala, the athletic big man from Southwestern University in Cebu, is set to finally make his UAAP debut in Season 79 barring any more complications. La Salle still has solid holdovers from last season's team, including reigning Rookie of the Year Andrei Caracut and veteran guard Thomas Torres.