Ex-Gilas guard joins Ballout

‘We’re fielding in half from our champion team and half coming from our Team B.’

Former Gilas Pilipinas youth guard Deo Cuajao suits up for Letran in the Ballout Inter-Collegiate Champions Challenge. | Photograph COURTESY OF PBA

Incoming rookie Deo Cuajao, holdover Pao Javillonar and third-generation player Kyle Tolentino will be among the players seeing action for reigning National Collegiate Athletic Association three-peat champion Letran College in the Ballout Inter-Collegiate Champions Challenge set 26 March at the Central Recreational and Fitness Center at the New Era College in Commonwealth, Quezon City.

Seven other teams have already confirmed their participation.

Cuajao is a guard who used to play for the Gilas Pilipinas youth squad.

Javillonar, on the other hand, will be the man in the middle for the Knights, who will be bracketed in Group B along with the University of the Philippines, Enderun and National University.

Tolentino’s father, Elvis, used to play for the College of St. Benilde and Letran before becoming head coach of the Marikina Shoemasters in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League.

“We’re fielding in half from our champion team and half coming from our Team B,” said coaching consultant Bonnie Tan.

Tan passed on the torch to his successor, Rensy Bajar, after being appointed NorthPort coach in the Philippine Basketball Association.

Ateneo de Manila University, which just reclaimed the title in the Universities Athletic Association of the Philippines, will be bracketed in Group A along with NCAA runner-up St. Benilde, reigning National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities champion St. Clare and NAASCU runner-up Our Lady of Fatima.

Sanctioned by Ballout, which is headed by league commissioner Joe Lipa, the event also serves as a fitting birthday gift by its president and chief executive officer Cris Bautista to college basketball community.

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