By ADRIAN STEWART CO
The UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball tournament, which will kick off on Saturday afternoon, September 30, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, will feature 12 Western Visayas (WV)-based players.
Among the 11 players from Region 6, four traced their roots from Bacolod City, four from Negros Occidental, two from Iloilo City, and another one from Capiz.
The University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons has the greatest number of WV-based players with four in Iloilo City’s Gerry Abadiano, Bacolod’s Luis Pablo, Silay City’s Harold Alarcon, and Bago City’s Reyland Torres.
On the other hand, reigning UAAP men’s seniors basketball champions Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles have two in Iloilo City’s Ian Espinosa and Bacolod’s Raffy Celis.
National University Bulldogs is also set to parade two Region 6-based players in transferee Donn Spencer Lim and rookie point guard Leobert Andrew Casinillo, both from Bacolod.
Meanwhile, Adamson University Falcons also had one WV-based player in Negros Occidental’s Isabela-native rookie Kenji Cañete.
Aside from him, the Falcons also had third-year forward Cedrick Manzano, who was from Romblon’s Cajidiocan town, but spent his high school years with Hua Siong College of Iloilo Red Phoenix.
Negros Occidental’s La Carlota City-native Mark Nonoy is returning to De La Salle University Green Archers, while Capiz’s Roxas City-native Christian Manaytay is still part of the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers.
Other participating schools in UAAP Season 86 are Far Eastern University Tamaraws and season host University of the East Red Warriors.
Action kicks off this afternoon with the new-look Growling Tigers, handled by Capiznon mentor Alfredo Jarencio, facing the Red Warriors, and the Blue Eagles battling the Bulldogs./ASC, WDJ