When the University of St. La Salle and University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos face each other in the best-of-three finals of the 33rd NOPSSCEA men’s finals starting today, they will be reliving the 1998 titular showdown between both teams.
The Stingers and the Rams contested the same title 15 years ago at the Bacolod Tay Tung High School Po Hang Gym with the La Salle team taking home the championship with a two-point margin, 61-59.
With the win, USLS dashed UNO-R’s bid for a three-peat following a back-to-back title in 1996 and 1997.
The Stingers reign in the NOPSSCEA, however, was short-lived as West Negros University started its 14-year rule in 1999 by defeating UNO-R with Mustangs present head coach Joebert Pastias topscoring for WNU with 33 points.
Against the Stingers this year, Rams head coach Rolando “Girom” Aledron said they will continue to work hard and play as a team.
Needing to beat twice the Mustangs in the semifinals, the Rams played for two straight days and Aledron said fatigue is one of his worries as start today’s best-of-three series against the Stingers.
Earlier, USLS head coach Eugene Opuan said the finals is also synonymous to pressure and nervousness.
Noting some lapses in their plays in their previous games, Opuan said they will be making the necessary adjustments as the Stingers prepare themselves for the championship showdown.
After today’s game one at the USLS Coliseum, UNO-R will host game two on Nov. 9 at 4 p.m. and if necessary, game three will return to La Salle on Nov. 10.
The Stingers lineup is composed of Rendel Bernales, Allen Dionela, Mark Anthony Dela Cruz, Daryl Endona, Kevin Villafranca, Nike Montalvo, Janus Calma, Jasper Villacampa, Carl Stephen Antiporda, Gerard Dipol, Dave Gulmatico, Christian Maravilla, Arthuro Teruel III, Scott Heria, and Harvey Eslawa.
Forming the core of UNO-R team this year are John Dayumat, Joemel Paderog, Francis John Parreño, Coleen Jude Testa, Kim Dimaranan, Ritcer Santillan, Mark Anthony Papa, Stefano Ayuco, and Jade Paul Calma.*NAB
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