THE TWO schools that clashed for the Universities, Colleges and Schools Athletic Association (UCSAA) Seniors Basketball title last season, defending champion ICCT Colleges and runner-up Pasig Catholic College, plus host school Saint Dominic Savio College are seen as the early favorites entering the league’s eighth season set to open on August 31 at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City. This was the general consensus of the coaches of the seven participating varsities after the recent media launch held at Pasig Catholic College.
According to ICCT Blue Dragons coach Arvin Guinto, the playing field this year is very even so they will give it their all despite having a roster loaded with rookies. On the other hand, Pasig Catholic has made major offseason moves by signing Segundo “Bong” de la Cruz as the Crusaders’ new coach while going on a recruiting binge.
The Unicorns of host school Saint Dominic Savio under new coach Ringo Jimenez also hope to crowd the favorites and take home the second title for the school since copping the very first UCSAA in 2011. Also hoping to spring a surprise or two are the First City Providential College Royal Eagles of Coach RJ Decierdo who hope to continue their championship run in last season’s Juniors Division into their initial foray in the Seniors Division.
Meanwhile, the Don Bosco Technical College-Mandaluyong Grey Wolves of Coach Dominador “Jun” Basa are aiming to crack the semifinals for the first time in their three years of participation. Meanwhile, expansion teams College of Saint John Paul II Mighty Lions of Coach Kiko Flores and Colegio de Santa Teresa de Avila under PBA legend Luke Dacula have been labelled as the tournament’s dark horses.
“The secret to our lasting eight years and possibly more is our adherence to the values of Integrity, Respect, Discipline and Friendship,” explained Dr. Nestor V. de la Cruz of host Saint Dominic Savio. This year’s theme is “One Vision, One Spirit, One Team: UCSAA Making The Difference.”
“I want to take the UCSAA to the next level and this includes the champion going on to play in the Philippine Collegiate Champions League later in this academic year,” added Commissioner Steve Leonard Marucot. “Therefore, I am challenging everyone to play their best and give it their all every game.”
The media launch also saw the formal introduction of the candidates for Miss UCSAA and Miss Teen UCSAA as they hit the catwalk clad in their school uniforms. The winner will be crowned as part of the opening day festivities that will be immediately followed by a triple-header.