Palaro boys basketball semifinals preview

Levi Verora
Rappler previews the secondary boys basketball semifinals.

Photo by Rappler/Kevin dela Cruz.

DUMAGUETE City, Philippines — Thirteen down. Four left standing. Rappler previews the semifinals matchup in secondary boys basketball, where CALABARZON tries to get back at defending champ NCR and Central Visayas locks horns with Western Visayas. 

Central Visayas vs Western Visayas

Visayan superpowers.

It’s a battle of the crowd favorites as home team Central Visayas figures in a duel with old rival Western Visayas. The two teams entered the semifinals in contrasting fashion, as Western Visayas had to fend off a gutsy stand by Caraga, 70-61 while Central Visayas cruised to an easy 88-58 victory over Cotabato.

Bowing down to eventual champions NCR, the Sacred Heart Ateneo de Cebu-represented Central Visayas has already surpassed last year’s 5th-place performance with a semifinal berth. Western Visayas is back in the semifinals, looking to improve on their bronze medal finish in 2012.

Judging from last year’s performance, Western Visayas may have the slight edge over hosts Central Visayas, but the home team won’t back down. Fielding in a solid cast which exhibits a run-and-gun style of play, the predominantly Cebuano line-up wants to pull off a finals appearance.

Western Visayas, meanwhile, will rely on their bigs, having the taller line-up compared to Region 7. For them to win, Region 6 should take advantage of the height in the shaded area.

It is going to boil down the wire as all the cagers from the Visayan island group guns for a championship appearance.


NCR vs CALABARZON

Defense against redemption.

Defending champions National Capital Region set an early rematch with 2011 ASEAN Schools Games champions Calabarzon, in a battle of powerhouse squads.

Composed of stalwarts from the San Sebastian College-Recoletos, head coach Bernie Mercado expects a tough assignment against the San Beda-backed Calabarzon. “We have to go hard [to defend the crown],” Mercado said.

Calabarzon pulled off a win against Davao but not before a huge scare. Davao cut the deficit down to three, 69-66 before mainstays Arvin Tolentino and Adven Diputado closed the game, 85-70.

Other players with international experience are Red Cubs Van Abatayo, Andrei Caracut and Ranbill Tongco, who showed backcourt firepower in the eliminations.

The Big City cagers, meanwhile, will bank on De La Salle-Zobel’s Renzo Subido. Subido, one of two players aside from San Sebastian, averaged phenomenal numbers in the junior’s division of the UAAP Season 75 (22.4 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 4.6 APG and 2.6 SPG). As early as now, scouts say the senior high school spitfire from the junior Archers is the next big thing in college basketball. He has that chance to prove his worth come the semifinals.

Judging from the NCAA Season 88 finals where San Beda outclassed SSC-R, there’s a slight possibility it will be repeated. But it will boil down to who wants it more.

CALABARZON wants a return trip to the ASEAN tilt to defend their crown and the only way to do so is to win the Palaro title. But they’ll have to face the solid defense of NCR in the Big City’s quest for a two-peat. – Rappler.com

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