PHILIPPINE Sports Commision (PSC) chairman William Ramirez and PBA legend Ramon Fernandez have been invited as special guests in the sixth Laguna Colleges Universities Athletic Association (LACUAA) men’s basketball tournament, which kicks off today at the Sta. Rosa City Multi-Purpose Sports Complex in Laguna.
Cong. Arlene B. Arcillas, Sta. Rosa City Mayor Dan S. Fermandez and Vice Mayor Arnold B. Arcillas are also expected to grace the 8 a.m. opening ceremony.
Ramirez and Fernandez are also expected to deliver the inspirational remarks during a colorful opening ceremony.
Also delivering inspirational remarks are Binan Vice Mayor Angelo Alonte and Basketball Association of the Philippines (BAP) president Robert Calo.
LACUAA founding chairman Leonardo "Ding" Andres, LACUAA president Arnaldo Dilig and other officials will also be present.
Newly-crowned Los Banos international invitational champion Trace College and University of Perpetual Help Dalta System-Binan set out as the title favorites in the tournament ,which attracted a total of 17 teams this year.
Handled by coach Nomar Isla, the Stallions are fresh from winning the inaugural Los Banos Basketball Development League (LBDL) after defeating Majilis Sukan Pulau of Penang, Malaysia last month.
Renz Cortez, Aveino Torsar, Aaron Carullo, Julio Alfaro. Gerald De Ada, Carl Salcedo, Carlo Gamban and King Cyrus Llanes will banner Trace, which lost to Asia Tech College of businessman-sportsman Noel Barraquio in the finals last year.
The Binan City-based Saints, on the other hand, will bring a wealth of experience from being a consistent Final Four team in NCAA South.
The Saints of president Dr. Antonio Laperal Tamayo, athletic director Edward Lino, team manager Steve Salazar and coach Vic Escudero lean on veterans Paolo Bismar, Paulo Paras, Sean Laban, Alvin Lascano, John Carlo Villar, Bernard Papaa, Marck Balido and Angelo Rosale.
Another team expected to figure prominently is San Pedro College of Business Administration, which is coming off an invitational tournament in Xiamen, China.
The San Pedro, Laguna-based Tigers of coach Richard Penaranda will rely on Brian Ilarde, Angelo Rosales, Jose Julio Manay, Jimwell Panganiban and John Paul Aguila.
Other participating teams are Citi Global College, San Sebastian College-Recoletos -Canlubang, Lyceum of the Philippines-Calamba, University of Perpetual Help Dalta System-Calamba, Don Bosco College-Canlubang, Colegio San Agustin-Binan, Univeristy of the Philipines-Los-Banos, San Pablo College and Laguna University.