MARK NONOY of the UST Tiger Cubs. (Courtesy of Mark Nonoy)

ILONGGO and Negrense cagers are taking the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 81 Juniors basketball tournament by storm.

23 players from Western Visayas are playing in the tournament, which features powerhouse teams from different universities in the country.

Leading the pack is Mark Nonoy of La Carlota, Negros Occidental. The former Hua Siong College of Iloilo (HSCI) stalwart is now with University of Santo Tomas Tiger Cubs.

Nonoy’s plays alongside former St. Robert’s International Academy (SRIA) star Kevin Barranco, Jean Raven Beliran of San Jose, Antique, and Vince Dolendo of Hamtic, Antique.

University of the East has the most number of Ilonggo players – Bacolod City natives Mike Flores, Jared Tajonera, Venz Escamilla, Dave Agbas; Shane Dichoso (Himamaylan), Riggy Alinsoring (Bago City), Reiniel Lima (Binalbagan), and Jesse Sullano from Santa Barbara, Iloilo.

Top seed National University (NU) Bullpups is paced by Palarong Pambansa MVP Gerry Abadiano, former SRIA player Menard Songcuya, Reyland Torres of Bago City and rookie Harold Alarcon of Bacolod City.

Defending champion Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eaglets has former Ateneo de Iloilo (AdI) star Ian Espinosa and Daniel Coo and Andrei Lechoncito of Bacolod City.

Sta. Clarita International School (SCIS) stalwarts John Bryan Sajonia joined Far Eastern University (FEU) Baby Tamaraws, alongside Ronrei Tolentino.

De La Salle University Junior Archers acquired Lance Jomalesa of Bacolod City and Nathaniel Sevilla of Talisay, Negros Occidental.

The Baby Tamaraws currently ranks second in the tournament with five wins and two losses. They shared the spot with Blue Eaglets and Adamson University Baby Falcons.

The Junior Warriors have one win and six losses while University of the Philippines (UP) Junior Maroons is still winless after seven games.