Energen PH U-16 five oozing with confidence
MANILA, Philippines—The Energen Pilipinas Under-16 Youth Team Tuesday vowed to do its best to surpass the country’s best finish in the Fiba Asia U16 tournament set next week in Nha Trang City, Vietnam.
“I think we have a solid lineup,” team captain Jay Alejandro of Malayan High School (Mapua), a 5-foot-10 guard, said at the PSA Forum Tuesday at Shakey’s UN Avenue. “We know there’s pressure to do better [than the previous batch], so we’ll do our best.”
The 14-man squad, which assistant coach Nash Racela described as “a running and an attacking team,” aims to surpass the record fourth place of the country’s last under-16 team bannered by Kiefer Ravena in 2009.
“We think we have a good chance,” said team manager Joel Lopa. “We told them we’re getting into this not just to participate, but to win the gold.”
“We have faith in our team,” added Jordan Heading (Morrison High School), a Filipino-Australian forward.
The Philippines takes on Indonesia (Oct. 19) and host Vietnam (Oct. 20) in Group D of the first round of the tournament serving as a qualifier to the 2012 Fiba U17 World Championship.
“The other Asian players are bigger than us, but we have bigger hearts,” said forward Jay Javelosa (Reedley International), one of the vital cogs in the team’s championship run in the Southeast Asian Basketball Association (Seaba) U16 in Malaysia last August.
Racela, who serves as assistant to brother and head coach Olsen Racela, said the team’s quickness can make up for its lack of height.
The roster includes Henry Asilum (Sacred Heart-Ateneo de Cebu), Hubert Cani (National University), Rev Diputado (San Beda), Kyles Lao (Xavier), Andrei Caracut (San Beda), Nic Dalafu (Victory Christian International), Earl Murphy (Ateneo), Tomas Ramos (Ateneo), Prince Rivero (National University), Daryl Pascual (Arellano) and Isaac Go (Xavier).