December 2, 1994 |
Coach Pete Merlino will not be on the bench this season when Franklin Learning Center defends the Public League basketball title it won last March. Merlino has been relieved of his duties, pending an appeal, by FLC principal Charles Staniskas. According to sources, Merlino was dismissed for using ineligible players last season. Specifically, sources said, Merlino used at least two players in games on days when they were marked absent from school without an excuse. Public League rules dictate the coach is responsible for making sure his players meet all guidelines regarding eligibility.
November 19, 1992 |
Franklin Learning Center's basketball team might not get a chance to defend its Public League championship. The team and coach Pete Merlino are facing possible sanctions for violating league rules concerning scrimmages, the Daily News has learned. On Nov. 9, the Bobcats scrimmaged the Community College of Philadelphia. Public League basketball teams are not allowed to scrimmage before the third Monday in November (in this case, the 16th). No competition in any sport is permitted against college teams.
September 24, 1994 |
After a transfer that never went through, Wilson Washington is again a Public League basketball player. The 6-7, 230-pound Washington, the son of the former 76er of the same name, has enrolled at Franklin Learning Center after opting not to attend St. John Neumann. He played last season at Thomas Edison, where he averaged 9.8 points and nine rebounds and was regarded by the Daily News as the city leagues' top freshman. He became academically ineligible with two games remaining in the season.
December 28, 1996 |
Pete Merlino has coached basketball at Franklin Learning Center long enough to know to keep things simple whenever possible. "Every time you take some order away from what you do, your regimentation, it becomes a little harder to deal with frustration," he said. Merlino was talking yesterday in The Citadel's McAlister Field House, after FLC was bested by Archbishop Alter, of Kettering, Ohio, 67-55, in the first round of the fourth annual Red Cross-Rotary Round Ball Classic.
September 30, 1994 |
Joe Brown didn't have to see the campus to know where he wanted to play college basketball. He only had to hear the words of the coach. Brown, a 6-7, 185-pound small forward at defending Public League champion Franklin Learning Center, has made an oral commitment to Hofstra University and first-year coach Jay Wright, a longtime assistant to Rollie Massimino at Villanova and the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. "I love Jay and so does Pete," Brown said, referring to FLC coach Pete Merlino.
January 14, 1994 |
Joe Brown rifled the dunk through the basket, floated back to floor level, then turned toward the raucous crowd. ESPN's cameras were nowhere in sight (nor were ours), but Brown slowly swayed his hips back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, while grinning from ear to ear. He waited too long to become a featured performer. He's enjoying it. Yesterday, Brown shot 7-for-10 and 7-for-9 for 21 points and snatched nine rebounds to help visiting Franklin Learning Center muffle Martin Luther King, 73-64, in Division B-C of the Public League.
March 1, 1992 |
At a big holiday tournament in Florida last December, a high school boys' basketball team from Philadelphia was introduced to the crowd as "the Franklin Learning Center Bulldogs. " There was, you can be sure, some cringing on the FLC bench. The nickname that should have come over the loudspeaker was the Bobcats. The Bulldogs are that other team from Philadelphia, the one that has overshadowed the Bobcats almost all season and beaten them for the Public League title two years straight.
January 3, 1995 |
Yes, Franklin Learning Center is still playing basketball. It is also struggling, both on and off the court. The Bobcats, the defending league champ, will drag a 3-7 record into their Public League game today against visiting University City. "What a month," interim coach Bob Fisicaro said. "So much has happened. But at the same time, it feels like we haven't gotten started. We're still trying to get this together. " Fisicaro became FLC's coach right before the season, when Pete Merlino was fired for allegedly using ineligible players.
March 7, 1994 |
Michael Robinson looked to be out of his neighborhood. No one can feel confident standing 35 feet from the basket, with his back turned away from it, with two defenders pecking furiously, with his attempt to control the ball not going smoothly and with time running out on his team's dream of winning the Public League basketball championship. But Robinson, a 6-7 senior forward who bubbles with talent yet often broods, is nothing if not hard to figure. So, while a capacity crowd at St. Joseph's University's Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse showed that noise alone can raise a roof, Robinson spun to his right, ducked under the long arms of 6-7 Lynard Stewart, launched a 30-foot jump shot and . . . It was Mr. Robinson's neighborhood!
February 26, 1990 |
The doubleheader had ended, and a drained John Merlino, accompanied by three anxious friends, was talking on a pay phone in a darkened, nearly empty Civic Center. "He wanted to leave and come to the game?" Merlino asked, incredulously. He then breathed a deep, I-can't-believe-this-guy sigh and added, "Just tell him his team won by 14 points. " John Merlino's phone companion was a nursing supervisor at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Being treated there - for a heart attack suffered a few hours earlier - was John's identical twin brother, Pete.