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Squires' Villanueva Raring to End Letran's Championship Dought

May 29, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 239

If the last 10 years is used to predict the Letran Squires' chances of winning the championship in this year's NCAA Juniors Tournament, the odds seem far-fetched.

The last time a Letran squad took home the basketball championship in the NCAA Juniors Division, Gloria Arroyo was a newly installed Philippine president.

Since the Squires' last championship in 2001, the NCAA Juniors basketball landscape has been dominated by perennial champions San Sebastian Staglets and the San Beda Red Cubs.

Despite that, Squires forward Ivan Villanueva thinks Letran is one of the top contenders for the championship in the coming NCAA Juniors Basketball Tournament.

"Our chances of winning the Juniors Crown are high this year," said Villanueva, the wide-bodied Letran senior who is currently averaging 17.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.3 assists in the FilOil Flying V Pre-season Tournament.

As of this writing, the Squires just handed the Staglets a 57-51 loss and are atop the standings in Group C with five wins and no losses.

Villanueva, however, is quick to point out the caveats: "For us to do that, we have things to do four things: one, we have to play as a team and share the basketball. Two, we need to play tough defense. Three, our bench players must be productive and lastly, we should all be on the same page."

He's not all-talk though.

The 6-1 high school senior, a natural forward who occasionally plays center for the Squires, backs up his call for teamwork with action.

His 5.3 assists average is ranked second in the FilOil tourney and he is 12th among high school players in steals with two per game.

He is also ranked third-best performer in the pre-season with a Player Efficiency Rating of 22.5, just behind teammate Bong Quinto and Mapua center Jeric Diego.

Villanueva, a member of last season's NCAA Juniors Mythical team, however, thinks that teammate Rey Nambatac, LSGH's Mario Bonleon, San Beda's Arvin Tolentino and FEU's Jeremy Pingoy, the reigning UAAP Juniors MVP, are currently the top high school players around.

Villanueva, who is hoping to join the Letran Knights in the Seniors Division after graduation, counts the Red Cubs and the LSGH Greenies as tough obstacles to winning the NCAA Juniors championship.

He is not alone.

Teammates Kenneth Alas, Bong Quinto and Nambatac, among others, are expected to help him break the trend of the past decade and deliver a championship to the Squires in his final high school season.

Nambatac is currently the assists leader in the FilOil tourney with 7.5 per game while Quinto is the Squires' leading scorer (10th overall) with 17.0 a game.

Alas is not too far behind with 13.7 points per game.

Whether the Squires go far this season remains to be seen. But one thing's certain, Villanueva and the rest of the Squires could not care less about the odds.

The Squires are going all out.

About is a basketball-centric website covering nothing but hoops action in the Philippines.

Source: EzineArticles
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Ivan Villanueva


Letran Squires

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