The SBP Championship Trophy – A Testament to the Xavier Basketball Program

by Dr. John Edwin L. Sy (Coach)
photo credits: Ms. Jane Agcaoili, Athletics Office

17 years ago. That was the last time that Xavier won the SBP (Small Basketeers of the Philippines) championship. Varsity players Tyrone “TY” Tang (XS ’02) and Christopher John “Chris” Tiu (XS ’03), now both Rain or Shine Elasto Painters of the PBA (Philippine Basketball Association), were still precocious 10-11 year olds then.

Within the span of those 17 years, Xavier was able to reach the championship round twice – in 2008 and in 2010 – but in both instances fell short against Ateneo. Twice-denied Xavier was determined to break the jinx facing the reigning SBP champions, LSGH (La Salle Greenhills), who were also gunning for a three-peat last 14 September 2014 at the Pasig Sports Center.

The game was close all throughout the first three quarters with neither team leading by as many as four points. LSGH went up by six points with five minutes to go in the fourth quarter. One could sense that La Salle was going for the kill but Xavier responded with a 9-0 run. From there, Xavier did not relinquish the lead and went all the way. In the end, the final score was 51-47 in favor of Xavier with Darren Sytin (Gr7C) being awarded the MVP (Most Valuable Player) trophy.

Winning the SBP championship is a testament to the basketball program that Xavier has been instituting. There are two basketball clinics operating in Xavier throughout the year – one which has been running for more than ten years under Coach Nemie Villegas organized by the AAXS (Alumni Association of Xavier School), and another fairly new clinic of three or four years managed by TY Tang. The clinics are independent of the school but are offered to support the Xavier basketball program and develop players.

Xavier believes in investing in homegrown players. That is why the Grade School basketball program in particular is divided into different age groups – the youngest of which is eight years old. This group is part of the developmental pool wherein the students are trained a year early so as to prepare them for tournament play when they turn nine. The program is subdivided into skills, strength and conditioning, and team practice. In the Grade School, the focus is on developing the fundamental skills such as dribbling techniques, passing, and shooting, as well as on conditioning which improves strength, fitness, speed, and agility.

With a holistic and comprehensive basketball program, with players who always work hard to let their light shine, and with mentors who are competent and compassionate enough to nurse that light, Xavier looks forward to more championship titles in the coming years.

The SBP Player Line-up:

TAN, ANDRE MIGUEL LI G4F
NAPEÑAS, PATRICK NORHAN CABRERA G5B
SIAO, NATHANIEL DUNCAN UY G5D
GAMBOA, JULIAN MARI ZORRILLA G5I
SOHU, MIGUEL JOACHIM TANG G5I
ESPINAR, DARREL BUENAVENTURA G6A
ESPINAR, DARREN BUENAVENTURA G6C
WONGCHUKING, KEITH ANTHONY MARINO G6C
LAI, JACOB ALEXANDER TAN G6D
TUASON, RYLEY JACEY TY G6I
SEBASTIAN, JUSTINE DANIELLE MIGUEL G7C
SYTIN, DARREN GABRIEL TAN G7C
TAN, HEINTRICK MIGUEL SY G7C
YU, RYAN SAMUEL FRANCISCO G7I
LIM, BRENT WESLEY BATA G8G

The SBP team is coached by Dr. John Edwin L. Sy and assisted by Coach Alexander Nicolai P. Ocampo.

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