21st One La Salle Alumni Basketball League kicks off with record 27-teams across 4 divisions

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By Diego dela Paz - Published January 24, 2019

Lasallian alumni from from different batches and various campuses once again converged at the St. Benilde Gym hardwood to kick off the 21st season of the One La Salle Alumni Basketball League, or OLSABL, last Sunday, Jan. 20, at La Salle Green Hills.

For its 2019 edition, the league renewed its partnership with Kings of the Court with teams rekindling their inner Animo across four divisions - Seniors, Adults, Juniors, and the growing Recreational Division.

A record-high 27 teams will take the floor this year, increasing from 25 teams in 2018 and 15 teams in 2017. For the 11th consecutive time, former La Salle Green Hills mentor Tonichi Pujante takes the helm as the commissioner for the league, supported by the La Salle Green Hills Alumni Association (LSGHAA), led by President Mr. Paul Jacinto. Basketball committee chairman is Mr. Bong Africa, while KOTC's Head of Technical Committee is John Mark Herrera.

Games for the four-division league will be held every Sunday at La Salle Greenhills, which will run from January up to the last week of April this year.
 
In the league’s opening contest, Ben Yulo along with Player of the Game Dwight Lago, paced Batch 1986 in their title defense campaign opener with a 73-66 victory over Batch 1990 in the seniors division. Yulo led all scorers with 22 points with nine rebounds for the three-time defending Seniors Division champion Batch 1986, while ex-Green Archers guard Dwight Lago tallied 18 points, 17 rebounds and five assists.

While things may get physical during the game, it is still brotherhood and unity after. Defending champions 1986 picked up where it left off, earning a tough victory over a beefed up 1990 squad.

 Jaime Hizon led Batch 1990 with 17 points and 10 boards in a losing effort. In other seniors games, Batch 1991 topped Batch 1988, 75-60, behind Tristan Bayani’s solid 18 points and 11 rebounds; while Batch 1992 drubbed Batch 1989, 67-56 thanks to the 13-11-3 output by Felipe Araullo Jr.

Batch 1994, on their part, earned a close 78-76 victory over Batch 1993 in the Adults Division opener. Jerwin Agarao knocked down four three-pointers, en route to finishing with 39 points and 10 rebounds for the victors.

Batch 1994, behind Jerwin Agarao, showed why they are the finalists, earning a 2-pt squeaker against another tough team, 1993.

Other Adults Division matches saw Batch 2001 and LSGH-Adult Night High School Alumi Association pick up forefeit victories against 1995/1996 and South OG’s, respectively.

In the Juniors Division, the league was treated to a star-studded affair between 2013 & Friends and Gerry's Grill. Thirdy Ravena erupted for 34 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists to lead 2013 & Friends to a close 78-74 victory over the debuting Gerry’s Grill five in this featured opener. Ravena received enough help from former Green Archers skipper Kib Montalbo, who fired 27 points on 8-for-14 shooting with five rebounds and four assists, to prove as a dual threat for 2013 & Friends, which also featured the likes of Gelo Vito and Noah Webb in the fold.
 
Buzz surrounded the league when the name Thirdy Ravena appeared in the rosters; and appeared he did, and came out taking over the game.
 
Playing-coach Karl Santos topped all Gerry’s Grill scorers with 21 points to go along with five rebounds and six assists, with Troy Malllilin adding 17 points and six boards in the loss. The Gerry’s Grill squad also boasts of ex-Archers Santi Santillan, Joseph Marata and Ferdinand Damanik, as well as Benilde Blazers alumni Jelo Montecastro and Jeff Libunao.

While having a setback on opening day, Gerry's Grill still looks at a dominant 21st season campaign with Santi Santillan at the helm.

Centennial Batch (formerly 2011) routed newcomer 2018, 101-71, behind Paolo Darroca who scored 24 points in another juniors division contest, while Batch 2010, for the second year in a row, pulled off another shocker - 68-66 win over Batch 2016 thanks to Ervin Flores' game-winning putback to round out the bracket’s games.

Meanwhile, a revamped Legacy five trumped defending Recreational Division titleholder Batch 2006, 81-76, for the league’s first upset of the season. Arturo Teruel finished with 26 points and three assists, while Eric Quiroga and Jobert Castro contributed 14 and 13 points, respectively, to spoil Mark Lamson’s 30-point outburst in the match.

Despite the loss, the defending champions 2006 looks to have another good run with a solid core going into the 21st season.

Batch 2005, paced by the tandem of Pat Giron and Miguel Vasquez, overpowered 02 Nyakols in a 77-67 finish. Giron and Vasquez led Batch 2005 with 16 points apiece, with the former also pulling down 11 rebounds in the match.

2018 Recreational Division runner-up DLSU 105-109, now named DLS-CSB 105+, on the other hand, fought tooth and nail down the stretch to secure a 65-62 win over DLSUxLSGH 09, behind the tandem of Cholo Legisma, Paulo Fernandez and Player of the Game James Alba, who respectively finished with 12, 10, and 9 markers in the match.

Building the name "One La Salle", the initiative is to continuously strengthen relationships between Lasallians all over the country. It foresees other La Salle schools as brothers and embracing the ideology of unity. 

Games are held every Sunday at the LSGH campus - St. Benilde Gym and/or Fr. Martinez Activity Center (FMAC) - from 1:00pm onwards.