LYCEUM is confident its basketball team can finally contend in the coming NCAA tournament with three rookie big men led by Joseph Gabayni now eligible this season.
Pirates assistant coach Glen Capacio said the previously-undersized Pirates squad will definitely get a boost with the frontcourt presence of Gabayni, Christian Pamulaklakin, and Jebb Bulawan for Season 90 of the league.
“We don’t have a big man in the last few years,” said Capacio. “This time, meron kaming Gabayni, Pamulaklakin, and Bulawan. So malaking addition sila. They are rookies, pero big help sa team namin.”
Notably getting a lot of playing minutes with the Pirates is the 6-foot-5 Gabayni, a 20-year-old transferee from University of Santo Tomas who has been suiting up for the team in several preseason tournaments.
Capacio believes the three can help the Pirates finally match up with traditional NCAA powers, particularly four-time reigning champion San Beda which has big Nigerian center Ola Adeogun manning the middle.
“Last few years, wala kaming big man. Malaking bagay ito para maka-match up kami especially sa San Beda na meron silang Adeogun. Kaya malaking addition talaga,” Capacio said.
Gabayni is now eligible to play for Lyceum after being part of the UST Tigers pool team in 2012, before undergoing a one-year NCAA residency after transferring to the Pirates.
Gabayni, a Taytay native, made it to the UST pool despite being a relatively unknown in basketball circuits. He was already eligible to play for the Tigers in 2012, but failed to make it to the team’s UAAP lineup.
“May nakakita sa akin na referee sa amin, pinapunta ako sa isang school tapos lumipat ako sa UST,” said Gabayni.