BANNERED by three members of the Philippine Under-17 team that took part in the recent World Championship in Dubai, Ateneo is hoping to become the first team from UAAP to win the Philippine Secondary Schools Basketball Championship (PSSBC) Ironcon Builders Cup title.
Sharp-shooting Jolo Mendoza and twin brothers Matt and Mike Nieto, considered as the backbone of Ateneo’s offense, will again banner the Blue Eaglets’ campaign.
With his feathery touch, Mendoza can score in bunches while the Nieto brothers can easily throw their weight inside, making them the likely rivals of six-time NCAA champion San Beda and Chiang Kai Shek College for the crown.
Aside from the three veteran internationalists, Ateneo also boasts of the vastly improving Gian Mamuyac, Brix Ramos, and Esjay Belangel.
The Eaglets have yet to win a title since the departure of Kiefer Ravena four years ago as they finished runner-up to National University in the UAAP last year and to CKSC in the recent Jumbo Plastic Linoleum Cup.
The tournament dubbed as ‘Battle of Champions’ starts on Nov. 8 at the Chiang Kai Shek College gym in Tondo, Manila.
Mamuyac, Ramos, and Belangel delivered consistently for the Eaglets during the Jumbo Plastic Linoleum Cup at a time when Mendoza and the Nieto brothers were still resting.
“The hunger factor makes Ateneo a very dangerous team,” said Board Governor Terry Que of Rain or Shine. “The experience gained by the Nietos and Mendoza in the world championship bodes well to their title campaign.”
“Anybody can beat anybody in this tournament, so I expect a wild finish,” Dickies Underwear’s Rudy Yu – another member of the board – said.
Also sponsoring the annual tournament are Dickies Underwear, Hapee Toothpaste, Freego, MEC Computers, Jumbo Plastic Linoleum, Blackwater-Ever Bilena, Ironcon Builders, and Rain or Shine.