ASSL 9th season kicks off Sunday

By Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 14, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Cebuana Lhuillier Alumni Slopitch Softball League (ASSL) unwraps its ninth season this Sunday with International School of Manila kicking off its title-retention bid against UP Los Baños at the IS Manila field in Taguig City.

Despite the loss of key players due to graduation, the Bearcats of coach Alex Pethana are out to make an impact against the UPLB batters in a rematch of last year’s finals.

Other participating teams in the annual tournament are Ateneo, UP Diliman and 2011 champion La Salle.

ISM is seeking its third title in four years against a field composed of talented alumni players.

UPLB, backed by PABA executive vice president Ely Barradas, has been picked as title favorites with playing coach Armand Bantoc, Baron Alqueza, Doc de Padua, vice chancellor Pidz Agsibit and Forestry dean Sonny Camacho bannering the team.

La Salle will be led by Philippine Habagat coach Mike Ochosa, Bernie Gapuz, brothers Anthony and Leslie Suntay and national baseball team veteran Joseph Orillana.

Parading UP Diliman are Darwin dela Calzada, who pitched for the nationals in the World Baseball Classic qualifiers, playing coach Pato Moral, Edmund Esguerra, RD Salacup and actor Richard Gomez.

Ateneo fields a younger roster composed of Nikko Dizer, Em Fernandez, Benjo Afuang, Ricky Gumaru, Jun Muyco, Mike Gayoso and returning Chad Garcia.