Freeman Cebu Sports

UV & SHS-Ateneo off to BEST SBP Passerelle Regionals

BLEACHER TALK - Rico S. Navarro - The Freeman

The University of the Visayas SBP and Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu Passerelle basketball teams head off to Bacolod today to compete in the 2015 BEST SBP Passerelle Tournament’s Visayas Regional Finals sponsored by Milo. This will be held tomorrow until Sunday at the University of St. La Salle Coliseum. Both teams won their respective divisions in the Cebu leg and will face off against the three other champions from the Visayas.

 In the SBP division which is for players in the Under 12,11 and 10 age groups, UV will need to work double time against pre-tournament favorites St. John’s Institute of Bacolod and Ateneo de Iloilo. The fourth team in the regional finals is Colegio de la Purisima Concepcion of Roxas City. This is the UV SBP team’s first trip to the regional finals while St. John’s and Ateneo de Iloilo have won the Visayas title in the past. Ateneo de Iloilo won the 2014 Visayas edition and placed second in the national finals. Meanwhile, St. John’s reportedly has the size and height advantage over all the other teams and will also have the homecourt edge.

The SBP Visayas championship has been an elusive one for Cebu as it hasn’t won it since 2012 when USC topped the field. UV Coach Jay Mar Canoy will be relying on the heart and grit for which his players are known, something that stood out when they stunned three-peat defending champion USC in double overtime to bag the Cebu championship.

 In the Passerelle division for players Under 15, 14 and 13 years old, the Magis Eagles will be making a comeback to the regionals scene after failing to win the Cebu championship since 2011. Like the SBP division, they will face tough opponents in host team Tay Tung High School of Bacolod City and Sun Yat Sen School of Iloilo.

The College of St. John’s Roxas is the fourth provincial champion in the mix. Cebu has dominated the Passerelle division of the Visayas, having won all the regional finals from 2008 to 2014. UV won the 2012 and 2014 editions, while USC won the 2013 title. SHS-Ateneo had won four straight Visayas championships from 2008 to 2011 and won back-to-back national titles in 2010 and 2011. UV won the national title in 2014, making the Visayas the defending national Passerelle champion, and thus applying extra pressure on the wards of Coach Francis Auquico. The team is banking on its peaking form, assisted by exposure in the recent Milo Little Olympics and the CYBL D-League.

 The weekend-long tournament will be short and quick, and every game is to be treated like a knock-out game. The teams will play in a single round-robin classification phase from Saturday morning to Sunday morning, with the top two teams clashing for the championship on Sunday afternoon. All teams will play two games in a day, making the tournament even more competitive.  The champions of the SBP and Passerelle divisions will then represent the Visayas at the national finals which will be played December 5-6 in Baguio.

This is when the champions of Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao and Metro Manila clash in the year-ending and annual tournament that has produced many of today’s collegiate and professional players such as Kiefer Ravena, Chris Tiu, and Jeron Teng.
















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