ARMED WITH a year of reformatting backed by solid recruiting, AMA University embarks its quest for a second National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (NAASCU) Seniors Basketball championship when the 17th season opens shop this August 17 at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City. It has been more than a decade since the Titans tasted victory in 2006 but the drought can end sooner than expected.
A check of AMA’s submitted roster sees a slew of veteran players who honed their skills in the offseason by going up against superior opposition in the PBA D-League namely guards Daniel Salonga, Paul Carpio, Ian Macaranas and Miguel Magpantay and forwards Jezer Calma and Genmar Bragais. They will join fellow returnees Alvin Fuentes, Janz Pineda, Marc Pippin and Clark Quijano.
Coach Mark Herrera then plugged holes especially at the frontline positions by bringing in 6’5” Joseph Celso, 6’4” Sabah Cox and 6’4” Owen Graham. Also new on the team are JR Barde, a member of the AMA Junior Titans that placed runner-up to Saint Clare College of Caloocan in last season’s Juniors Division wars, Michael Batan and Fil-foreigners Andrew LaBrecque and Joeboy Escalambre.
The trio of Calma, Carpio and Macaranas are all in their final year of NAASCU eligibility thus they want to exit on a high note. They are expected to lead the team both on and off the court but the new faces can spring a surprise or two along the way.
Last year, AMA marked their return to the NAASCU after a three-year leave of absence with a forgettable 4-9 win-loss record and missed the playoffs. The Titans’ triumphs came against fellow also rans Colegio de San Lorenzo, New Era University and City University of Pasay while shocking eventual Final Four squad Philippine Christian University.
Coach Herrera and the Titans will kick off their 2017 campaign against CUP in the featured opening day contest at 4:00 PM. Perhaps, AMA can look forward to starting the year with a winning streak.