HAPEE Toothpaste is set to take a hit when most of its top players return to their school teams to see action in the Philippine Collegiate Champions League in Cebu starting next week.
San Beda players Ola Adeogun, Baser Amer, Ryusei Koga, Jaypee Mendoza, Michole Sorela, and Art Dela Cruz, and National University’s Troy Rosario are set to suit up for their schools in the PCCL Elite Eight tournament that will be held in Cebu from November 13 to 17.
San Beda and NU ruled the NCAA and UAAP wars, making them favorites to reach the Final Four of the PCCL.
But Hapee team manager Bernard Yang said the seven players will arrive just in time for the team's November 17 game in the D-League against Bread Story-Lyceum once they finish their school commitments in Cebu.
“Naayos na namin ‘yung schedule namin. Ang last game ng San Beda is (November) 16 so in time naman sila sa game namin sa (November) 17. Si Troy naman, may game ng 16. Early morning of 17, balik na siya sa Manila,” said Yang during a dinner tendered for the team by its official outfitter Freego.
The deeper San Beda and NU get in the PCCL, the bigger the chance the players will miss games for Hapee.
Hapee head coach Ronnie Magsanoc, however, said they are not getting ahead of themselves as the Fresh Fighters will still play MJM M-Builders on Monday.
Still, he acknowledged the need for adjustments once San Beda and NU go deep in the PCCL playoffs.
“Sa ngayon, hindi pa namin iniisip o pinag-uusapan ‘yan. Dito muna kami sa mga laro,” said Magsanoc. “Hopefully, we win against M-Builders and then we tackle the schedule. Sa tingin ko, papasok ang San Beda and NU sa semifinals kaya paghahandaan din namin ‘yun.”
Magsanoc admitted it is challenging to mentor a star-studded team dealing with high expectations like the Fresh Fighters.
“It’s a blessing and a challenge to be part of this team. It’s also a blessing for me to be with this team together with my good friend Benjie Paras as well as my fellow coaches from UP. I thank the Hapee management for giving me the opportunity to work and serve the company,” Magsanoc said.