NCAA 95 gets off the ground Sunday
As this year’s host, it is incumbent upon the Arellano Chiefs to install themselves as a major contender in the men’s basketball tournament of NCAA Season 95.
Though the San Beda Red Lions remain as favorites for the top plum with the Lyceum Pirates and the Letran Knights as challengers, the Chiefs will have to find ways to beat these schools to be in contention.
“We were able to put together the pieces early and came up with a team that I hope can match up with the contenders,” said Arellano head coach Cholo Martin during Monday’s press conference at Mall of Asia Arena.
Eyeing a trip to the Final Four after a two-year absence, the Chiefs will get a shot in the arm with veteran guard Michael Kent Salado returning for his final year.
“Aside from Kent, I have the players that I want in my lineup. Big thanks to Arellano and coach Jerry Codiñera for maintaining the core of the team,” said Martin, who took over the head coaching chores from Codiñera.
Joining Salado in the roster are shooting guards Archie Concepcion and Alfren Gayosa, centers Ronan Santos, Jan Sacramento and Justin Arana, forwards Raymart Sablan and Lars Sunga and alternate point guards Oliver De Guzman and Marlon Espiritu.
The Chiefs will begin their title quest against the defending champion Red Lions on Sunday with the Pirates, last year’s runner-up, facing the Knights right after the opening ceremonies at MOA Arena.
NCAA policy board chair Francisco Paulino Cayco revealed this season’s theme “Kaisa sa Pagkakaiba” as the springboard for the commemoration of the league’s 100th season five years from now.
The production of the opening rites will be supervised by the Arellano U NCAA Committee headed by AVP and NCAA Management Committee member Peter Cayco, Dean Alex Lavina, Abegail Cayco, Isabelle Curato, Anna Cayco and Celina Cayco.
“Being a former Red Lion myself, I will unlock the secret of their success,” declared Martin jokingly before the nine other head coaches during the launch.
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