Mariners begin title defense vs Sea Lions

Posted at 12/04/2012 9:22 AM

MANILA, Philippines - A three-game bill ushers in the opening-day hostilities of the 20th National Capital Region Athletic Association (NCRAA) men’s basketball tournament tomorrow at the Olivarez College gym in Sucat, Parañaque.

The defending champion Philippine Merchant Marine School Mariners kick off their title-retention drive against the host squad Olivarez College Sea Lions at 10 a.m.

The La Salle-Dasmariñas Patriots, meanwhile, will parade new coach Macky Torres as they tangle with the Emilio Aguinaldo College-Cavite Vanguards at 11:30 a.m.

The Rizal Technological University Blue Thunder, mentored by Beaujing Acot, meet the PATTS Sea Horses at 1 p.m.

Seven schools are seeing action this season, including the Philippine School of Business Administration, which drew an opening-day bye, in the tournament backed by Mikasa and Molten as the official balls.

Athletic director Cesar Hagos of this year's host Olivarez College said they are upbeat of the coming season.

"This season promises to be an exciting one. And it won't be just the PMMS Mariners and the Olivarez College Sea Lions which are favored this year in basketball, as almost all teams are capable," said Hagos.

The volleyball matches, meanwhile, begin next Monday with a five-game bill, also at the Olivarez College Sports Complex.

Rep. Edwin Olivarez (first district, Paranaque) will be the guest of honor in the opening ceremonies, which will start with the parade of athletes at 8 a.m.

The Mariners, coached by Aldrin Morante, will be led by five mainstays, who led the team to their first-ever crown last season following a 76-69 beating of the Sea Lions in Game 3 of their best-of-three finals.

"We are blessed because we are entering our 20th season," said NCRAA president Gerry Sergio of La Salle-Dasma. "That's two decades of collegiate sports competitiveness. Thanks to everyone's support, we're hopefully looking forward to 20 years more."