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Mapúa-MHSS Red Robins maintain focus on their game; inch closer to NCAA junior basketball championship

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Mapúa-MHSS basketball team, the Red Robins

Five years after its comeback in 2008, Malayan High School of Science’s (MHSS) basketball team, the Red Robins, has become one of the promising teams in the junior division of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball tournament.

Red Robins coach Randy Alcantara expressed his confidence in the team’s performance and is determined to see them to the final four this season.

Red Robins’ forward Justin Oliver Serrano

“Coming back in the league with young and short players is one of the greatest challenges we faced as a team,” Alcantara recalled. “When we came back from our hiatus, we were not really prepared. It was a challenge, but we were blessed that we were able to pull through.”

In the last two years, the Red Robins made milestone achievements, which have proven that the young team should not be counted out.

Last season, two MHSS cagers grabbed major awards: Enjerico John Diego, who was named the Most Defensive Player and was among the season’s Mythical Five, and Justin Oliver Serrano, who got the Most Improved Player of the Year award.

In 2011, Serrano was also sent to Hong Kong to be part of the 10-member basketball team of the Junior NBA Philippines, wherein, according to him, he learned new skills and basketball fundamentals, further developing his shooting, post moves, and rebounding skills. This NCAA season, the six-foot-two forward has emerged as one of the candidates in the league’s Most Valuable Player race.

Alcantara commends the team for having unrelenting determination and focus, which brings them closer to clinching the championship. He also pointed out that it is an advantage that the team is coachable.

Red Robin point guard Noah Lugo added that one of the team’s aces is good teamwork.

Red Robins’ point guard Noah Lugo

“We motivate one another during huddle. Kahit nagkakamali, walang sisihan. Sabi nga ni Coach, kapag lima ang nasa court, kapag nagkagulo, hindi kami dapat mag-iwanan. Team pa rin kami,” said the five-eight junior cager.

Lugo said that one of the constant reminders Coach Randy give to the team is “walang final five,” which encourages them to work and play harder every game.

Alcantara, who is a former Cardinal, is focused on making the team stronger and formidable. He said that part of the team’s game plan is to improve the recruitment process.

To further strengthen the team, the Red Robins, together with Mapúa Cardinals coach Atoy Co, have created a program that will benefit not just their team but their senior counterparts as well.

Under the program, the Red Robins will be given intense training that will hone them to be better and stronger players. Their training under the said program will give them a chance to be drafted as Cardinals if they opt to pursue the NCAA senior division.

As the 89th season of NCAA draws to an end, the Red Robins are determined to maintain the momentum they have gained since the season begun to secure a spot in the final four. As of this writing, the Red Robins rank third among the NCAA junior basketball teams with a record of 10 wins and four losses.

Mapúa-MHSS basketball team, the Red Robins