Hawks test Olympians as Naascu hoop tilt gets going
MANILA—The National Athletics Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities will unveil its 11th season Friday with league powerhouse University of Manila being challenged by nine other teams raring to carve a niche for themselves.
Opening ceremony begins at 8 a.m. at the Makati Coliseum with MVP Sports Foundation’s Al Panlilio, Philippine Basketball Association commissioner Chito Salud and Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executive director Sonny Barrios as guests of honor.
The UM Hawks, who snared their sixth title last year, will face the STI Olympians in a repeat of their 2010 title encounter, in the first game. New Era College will take on City University of Pasay, Fatima will square off with Centro Escolar, and AMA Computer will clash with Informatics also on opening day.
Trace College will make its maiden appearance in the league, while St. Clare completes the season’s 10-team roster.
Lyceum of Subic, San Sebastian College Recoletos of Cavite and University of Makati took a leave of absence.
“This year we have a balanced league not only in basketball but in all of the 10 sports we have,” said Naascu president and St. Clare owner Dr. Ernest Jay Adalem.
There will also be competitions in badminton, billiards, cheerdance, swimming, chess, table tennis, taekwondo, track and field and volleyball.
Naascu also prides itself for pioneering the inclusion of billiards in its calendar as an acknowledgement to the sport which has brought honors to the country through the likes of such icons as Efren “Bata” Reyes and Francisco “Django” Bustamante.
“In our own little way, we want to contribute in discovering talents that will one day bring pride and glory to the country in the international stage,” added Adalem.
UM has ruled the league in basketball, winning five straight titles from 2001 to 2005 through a record 86 straight victories.
But teams like STI, AMA and SSS of Cavite have since made their presence felt, capturing the crowns from 2006-2009, until UM reclaimed it with a sweep of STI in the best-of-three title duel last year.