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Red Robins celebrate NCAA achievement; share learning to fellow Malayan athletes

Friday, November 28, 2014

Malayan High School of Science junior basketball team Red Robins is first runner-up in the NCAA Season 90 junior basketball tournament.

The best season so far. That is how the 2014 Malayan High School of Science (MHSS) basketball team Red Robins describe NCAA Season 90 after ending up as the first runner-up in the league. Although the championship has remained elusive, the team says there are still a lot of things to take pride in.

Red Robins’ point guard and captain Raymond Pascua.

“I am proud as the captain of the Red Robins. This season, we have really worked so hard to reach the finals,” said Raymond Pascua, who plays point guard in the team.

Looking back on their performance, the Red Robins see how much they have improved as athletes. For them, their NCAA journey has never been smooth, with a lot of challenges to overcome and the constant need to prove their strength and skills. They had a bad start in the season with two straight losses to other powerhouses in the league. However, with perseverance and focus on their goal, they have successfully fought their way into the finals.

“It feels good to see how things worked out for us and that all our effort has paid off,” enthused small forward David Gabriel Velvez.

Small forward David Gabriel Velvez.

Velvez, who got the highest points in the elimination game against San Beda that landed the Robins as the top seed in the final four, recalled how they prepared for the season.

“From the start, we have been told to give our best and to work hard. We knew we needed to prove that we could put up a good game just like the old Red Robins. So we trained regularly, rain or shine, to improve our skills,” he shared.

For the young cagers, Coach Randy Alcantara has prepared them well for the season. Following a game plan, Alcantara motivated, disciplined, and honed each of the players. He particularly worked on their defense and teamwork.

“Defense and teamwork certainly have been our strengths. We have never been more disciplined and focused. Also, being able to communicate well with our teammates helped us contribute to the success of our team,” said team’s center Warren Bonifacio.

Point guard Noah Lugo.

Point guard Noah Lugo believes that there is still a lot of room for improvement for the Red Robins and that all their learnings in the past NCAA season will help them achieve more in the succeeding tournaments.

“There are still a lot of things to learn for the team. We hope the next MHSS Red Robins will be able to pick up something from our experiences and grow into better and stronger athletes. Now that we have proven how strong we are, the only option left for the team should be to bring back home the NCAA trophy,” Lugo said.

Since their comeback in the NCAA in 2008, the Red Robins have been considered as a formidable force in the league. Some of its players have been notable in the past seasons.

In 2012, center/forward Enjerico John Diego was hailed as one of the Mythical 5 and the Most Defensive Player, while forward Justin Oliver Serrano was the Most Improved Player of the season. In 2013, the Most Improved Player award was given to Noah Lugo. This year, power forward Denniel Jay Aguirre has been named one of the Mythical 5.