MANILA, Philippines - The Arellano University Chiefs, who have made huge strides in the NCAA wars, effected a major change this season by tapping veteran coach Koy Banal.
Banal, who replaced Leo Isaac, brings with him a solid credential, having won titles as coach in both the UAAP (FEU) and the NCAA (San Beda). He last won a collegiate title with the Red Lions in 2006.
Banal admits though, that the Chiefs first need to rebuild before they hope to contend for the title. Their rebuilding starts by joining the 2012 Filoil Flying V Pre-Season Hanes Cup, which kicks off on April 14 at the Filoil Flying V Pre-Season Hanes Cup.
“Nasa rebuilding process pa kami. Maraming nawala, pero marami ring rookies,” Banal said.
Arellano, which has yet to crack the Final Four in the NCAA since joining the league in 2009, opens this season’s campaign with its core of holdovers Rocky Acidre, Vergel Zulueta, Prince Caperal, Ralph Salcedo and the comebacking Ike Ciriacruz.
Gone are Gerald Lapus and Andrian Celada, but Banal is excited about a couple of his new recruits in James Forrester, a forward, and guard AJ Ferjue. Both are Fil-Canadians.
Also back in the tournament presented by Bostik Phils., Inc, in cooperation with Total Phils., Inc. with major sponsors BDO, Bayo, Molten, Nature’s Spring and Oxycan, are the Lyceum Pirates, the University of Perpetual Help Dalta System Altas and the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals.
In their debut as guest NCAA team last year, the Pirates won seven and lost 11, a decent performance which tied them for fifth to sixth places with the Mapua Cardinals.
The Pirates likewise lost several key players, but will still have Chris Cayabyab as the top offensive option.
The Altas, meanwhile, will continue to rely on their reliable offensive weapons in Jett Vidal and rising stars Jorge Allen and Justine Alano.
The Generals, with second-year coach Gerry Esplana at the helm, are in for another difficult grind with Claude Cubo and Milan Vargas gone, and will mostly rely on emerging stars Franz Chiong, Jan Jamon and the rising Joshua Torralba.
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