The 22nd One La Salle Alumni Basketball League opens its biggest season yet with a record 55 teams

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By Diego Dela Paz - Published January 21, 2020  


A record field of teams ushered in the highly anticipated 2020 edition of the One La Salle Alumni Basketball League, which officially opened last January 19, Sunday, at the La Salle Green Hills' St. Benilde Gymnasium.

This year's edition boasts of 55 teams — including 35 from the main tournament across four divisions, as well as Batch 1998, Batch 2008, Batch 2010, and Batch 2011 forming associated batch leagues — and inspired by the league's vision to expand to welcome alumni from all La Salle schools within the Philippines.

In its 22nd staging, the league powered by Kings of the Court, headed by Cholo Legisma, attracted teams competing in the seniors (44 years old and up) division, adults (36-43 years old) division, juniors (35 years old and below) division, and recreational division.

"We're happy that, aside from the batch leagues that decided to join the One La Salle Alumni Basketball League, more teams joined with the league expanding from 27 teams last year to 33 this year," Miguel Fernandez, chairman of the One La Salle Alumni Basketball League, said. 

The league tipped off with exciting games and well-known faces donning the green and white. The Ravena brothers for one, Thirdy and Kiefer teamed up and combined for 51 points as they carved a 98-94 win over Batch 2009, behind Mikey Reyes and Martin Reyes' combined 49 points.




The league also welcomed new faces from La Salle Antipolo, who edged the Stingers 101-86 in the Adults Division, and DLSU teams who went at each other in the Recreational field. The LSGH Greenies were also in action as they took on Batch 2016's own Ricci Rivero, and earning an emphatic 126-76 against his La Salle Lakers. The alumni league is a perfect way to get to know the current NCAA roster better and expose them in a competitive environment as they prepare for the Season 96.

Mr. Tonichi Pujante, the league's commissioner for the 13th time, said the league has lived up to its expectation in line with the vision set out years ago with the constant record-breaking number of teams participating every year.

"Competition has evolved through the years, with ex-PBA and collegiate players also playing. When they come back, they know what to expect and know how to spice up their teams. Malaki na talaga ang improvement ng One La Salle Alumni Basketball League," Pujante said.

Division champions are 1987 (Seniors), 1993 (Adults), One Love (Juniors), and DLS-CSB 105-111 (Recreational).

In addition to the record number of teams, this year's edition was christened as the Br. Bobby Casingal Cup, in honor of the former De La Salle University-Manila and La Salle Green Hills sports director.

"The alumni board decided to rename the tournament as the Br. Bobby Casingal Cup is because he is known to all La Salle schools, and that we hope that more alumni from other La Salle schools would be encouraged to join because of him," Fernandez said.

"Br. Bobby has been a pillar here in La Salle," Pujante added. "It's a well-deserved honor."

 

Despite the record participation, which included teams from Antipolo and Bacolod City, Fernandez said the warm reception to the One La Salle Alumni Basketball League has encouraged them to set up an additional tournament to further foster the camaraderie between the La Salle schools across the country though basketball.

"We have talked to Br. Bobby Casingal about holding two tournaments — one tournament for south and one for the north — so that more alumni can join the tournament. Eventually, we may have a bigger tournament that combines the two areas," he said.

The Seniors Division consists of 7 teams, Adults Division 9 teams, Juniors Division 10 teams, and the Recreational Division 9 teams. The LSGH batch leagues, meanwhile, consists of 4 teams from 5 teams from Batch 1998, 4 teams from Batch 2008, 6 teams from Batch 2010, and 5 teams from Batch 2011.

Not only will the league see 5 on 5 action, but the 22nd edition shall also hold a mini tournament - a competitive, fast-paced one-day 3x3 event that will encourage participants who weren't able to join the league, or those who want a fresh new basketball expierence. It shall have the same divisions as the current ones, while women's teams from DLSU, CSB, and other La Salle schools shall be invited as well.

The league will run for almost four months and shall conclude on April 26, 2020.