Reunion of ‘97 XUHS powerhouse
City High Tigers nail 1st South District title
The XUHS-ABA hoopfest in Cagayan de Oro is midway through the eliminations, and the competition continues to heat up among the high school batches of Xavier University.
Launched 8 seasons ago, XUHS-ABA has been known to bring back local hoop heroes, who are out of the city and even the country to come home and play for their respective XUHS batches.
Last Friday, Sept. 8, exPBA player Nelbert “Bitoy” Omolon has once again graced the tourney and tallied 23 points to secure an exciting 71-65 win for Gamba 1997 against Batch 2005. This is only his second appearance in ABA since 2012.
Omolon joined PBA in 2004 as a first round draft pick of Sta. Lucia Reality, 8th overall. He also played for Air 21 Express, Meralco Bolts and suited up for San Miguel Beer to win 3 more championships before hanging his jersey in 2016 to focus on his Agribusiness in Cotabato.
But among his best playing memories was wearing jersey #12 for XUHS Varsity Team together with Andrew Neri and Niku Valles who also came home, a few weeks ago, to help Gamba 97 racked up six wins in a row after starting the season with four-straight losses.
The Gamba boys have shown strong chances of making it to the playoffs with Omolon around.
“Most probably, kung naa chance, mudula ko,” says Bitoy as friends fondly call him. “But more than winning, playing side by side with my former teammates, classmates and batch mates... nothing compared,” he adds.
It can be remembered that ‘97 is among XUHS’ strongest teams once locked in storied rivalry with the Corpus Christi Knights.
Completing XUHS ‘97 Basketball Varsity team are Nelbert Omolon, Andrew Neri, Niku Valles, JayArr Estrada, Cliff Tesocan, Jim Vincent Lim, Virg Niño Cabahug, Dave Ibao, Kane Acedera, Ryan Buiser, Sonny Lagdameo, Earl Lapus, Rufu Niño Lasala, Christian Noble, John Montalban, Francois Galo, Jun Calellero, Michael Daming, Zyril Chiva and Ryan Abolencia.
GAMBA BOYS. From left to right: Omolon, Lim, Galo, Acedera, Cabahug and Valles.