RP Youth opens bid vs Malaysia
RP Youth opens bid vs Malaysia
- Joey Villar, Nelson Beltran () - May 1, 2008 - 12:00am

The Nokia RP Youth team starts its quest to reclaim the SEABA junior men’s championship when it plays defending champion and host team Malaysia at the MABA gym in Kuala Lumpur today.

Gametime is at 8:30 p.m. with the RP juniors determined to come out strong and hopefully breeze through to victory in the opener of the tourney also serving as the regional qualifier for the FIBA-Asia Youth Championship in Tehran, Iran in September.

The team can’t afford to lose since the tourney is a single round-robin competition with the team with the best record automatically declared champion.

The winner and the runner-up will represent the region in the Asian championship.

The RP juniors, unable to compete in the 2006 SEABA youth tourney because of the country’s suspension in the FIBA rolls, play the Thais tomorrow, take on the Indons on Sunday and clash with the Singaporeans Monday.

Coach Franz Pumaren named his final 12 before the managers’ meeting yesterday. Making the team are Fil-foreign players Kyle Nicolas Pascual and Norberto Bryan Torres and homegrown talents Ian Paul Sangalang, Ryan Roose Garcia, Jed Manguera, Jaypee Mendoza, Samuel Joseph Marata, Frank Golla Jr., Mark Joel de Guzman, Joseph Emmanuel Tolentino,  Gabriel Banal and Joseph Terso.

Mark Anthony Lopez, Mark Joven Mendoza and Philip Paredes were named alternates.

Pascual, Torres, Sangalang and Golla all stand above 6-foot-5. The team’s plays are likely to revolve around them.

Tao Corp. president Jun Sy, the team’s No. 1 backer, is hopeful the RP juniors’ two-week training in the United States and stint in the PBL Lipovitan Amino Sports Cup are enough to toughen up the boys for the SEABA grind.

The team left for Malaysia two days before the start of the competition to be able to have the feel of the competition venue.

Malaysia emerged champion in 2006 followed by Thailand and Singapore. In 2004, the Philippines reigned for the last time with Singapore finishing second, then Thailand third and Malaysia fourth.


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