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Remembering the 2004-2006 PCU Dolphins

Their run in the NCAA was pretty underrated

Once upon a time, Castro, Belga, and Espinas terrorized the NCAA

These days, Ateneo and San Beda are dominating the college ranks.

Since 2008, the Blue Eagles have won seven of the last eleven championships. On the other hand, the Red Lions have been lording it over since 2006, winning all but to championships up this season.

Despite being the most dominant teams in the past decade or so, the Red Lions and Blue Eagles had their fair share of competition. Ateneo had La Salle and FEU while San Beda had San Sebastian and Letran.

But long before the runs of San Beda and Ateneo, there was a team in the NCAA which everyone feared. Unfortunately though, they’re not in the league anymore so their team isn’t talked about that much.

I’m talking about the PCU Dolphins. Before the time of Ateneo and San Beda, the Dolphins were one of the best collegiate teams in the Philippines.

The PCU Dolphins were bannered by players such as Jayson Castro, Beau Belga, Gabby Espinas, and Rob Sanz. They made it to three straight finals from 2004-2006 as one of the deepest teams in the league.

In 2004, the finished the eliminations with a 10-4 mark and eliminated the Letran Knights in the semis. The Dolphins made quick work of the Perpetual Help Altas, crushing them in two games to win the title.

That season is also remembered as the one where Gabby Espinas won Rookie of the Year and MVP. It’s also, the season where Jayson Castro gave us a glimpse of what he can do.

The following year, PCU made it back to the Finals.

They won the first game through the heroics of Jayson Castro. But unfortunately, the Dolphins lost games two and three to surrender the title.

In 2006, PCU competed in their third straight finals. They were the first team that San Beda defeated in the Finals before they started their dominant run. The Dolphins came within a basket of winning the title but Beau Belga missed his game-winner.

Espinas and Sanz went pro in 2006. The PCU Dolphins seniors team was suspended in 2007 because their juniors team fielded ineligible players. The following year, Castro and Belga was drafted third and seventh.

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