AHS Batch 99 – We Are Together!

My team -- 4BG 99 -- That's me sitting in the first row, leftmost!
Hindi halatang mataba! haha

*All images by Joey Puno

Finally! It has been a long time coming, but AHS Batch 99 (a.k.a. AGS Batch 95) now has an ABL (Ateneo Basketball League) division to call its own.

Spearheaded by members of majority of the 12 AHS Batch 1999 sections, 5 teams were formed – AHS 4E 99, AHS 4J 99, AHS 4BG 99, AHS 4H99 and AHS 4I 99.

Four of these teams took to the hardwood last Sunday, January 8, 2012, for a spirited reunion with each other and with the game they love.

In the first game, inside operator Pope Gumabao teamed up with super swingman Bogey Bernardo and slick shooter Angelo Cabalona to score 33 combined points and lead 4E 99 to its maiden win, 68-34, over 4J 99.

The talented, and well-conditioned, EBoys 99!
This was a keenly-anticipated encounter since both sections used to lord it over the competition in the sportsfests and intramurals of old. Both sections also provided vital cogs to the 1998 Blue Eaglets team – Jing Naynes, Anton Dayrit, Duke Pinzon, and current PBA player Paolo Bugia all came from 4J, while former Blue Eagle Bajjie Del Rosario, Andrew Araneta, and Justin Abrera came from 4E. It turned out, however, to be a showcase of 4E’s power. Sporting many players who were in great playing condition, the E-boys shot well from the field (46%) while limiting the J-boys to an ice-cold 17% clip. 4E also converted on 7 of its attempts from rainbow country (3 from Cabalona and 2 from Bernardo). Curiously enough, 4J was led by its two reinforcements – former Blue Eaglets Marty Gallego of 4L and Joe Silva of 4F, who is also the current Blue Eaglets head coach. Both players combined for 18 points and 11 rebounds. I’m pretty sure 4J would love nothing more than to bounce back strong in their next game and, possibly, get back at 4E when the second round begins!

Team JCool will surely want to bounce back!
The second game featured the hybrid team of 4BG 99 against the solid core of 4H 99. On some level, 4BG was favored since their on-paper roster boasted of big ABL names like smooth operator Yong Gregorio, sharpshooter Kenneth Cordova, bull strong Clint Erestain (Ateneo and San Beda stalwart), and the versatile Joey Puno. 4H, though, wasn’t lacking in talent, as they had the cat-quick Chickoy Antonio, shifty Jomar Go and tough-as-nails Niño Avenido (of Greyhoundz fame) leading the charge. 4BG missed the services of Gregorio in this game, but the void was ably filled by Sandro Paredes, who showed his prowess by making all but one of his shots, including 3 conversions from beyond the arc. Paredes scored 17 points in all, leading 4BG to a big opening day win, 62-32.

The HBoys ready to pounce!
It was a truly wonderful experience to rediscover healthy competition amongst one’s batchmates again. It was refreshing to push each other to excel and relive the great memories of times past.

More than these things, though, it’ll probably be the enduring camaraderie and fellowship that will make the first of, hopefully, many editions of the AHS Batch 99 Division absolutely special.

*Reportedly, other sections from AHS Batch 1999 have been forming their own teams, with some imports, for the past few seasons. These are 4D 99 (Fritz Gaston Division) and 4F 99 (a.k.a. Team Respicio in the Dionisio Calvo Division). It would be even better if both these teams, if not all 12 sections, will eventually be represented in the AHS Batch 1999 Divison.
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