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OPINION

Home of new cage heroes

Three teams are currently tied for second to fourth places — Layba Trucking Cabuyao, Blue Steel Sab Pablo and KDL Calamba, which all carry the same 4-2 win-loss record.

It is only fitting why new basketball heroes have emerged from where our national hero came from.

Liga Laguna, now on its third season, has produced cage heroes who are trying to crack the big leagues, both in the commercial and collegiate levels.

It has become the breeding ground of future stars and since its opening of the new season a few weeks back, new and promising basketball stars have come out and taken their talent from different cities and municipalities of the province.

Old and new, established names and up and coming stars, players who are trying to make their marks, local heroes from the vicinities and cagers who are looking to find the recreational avenue, Liga Laguna has provided folks a different way to embrace the game they all love.

This home-and-away format has become a sanctuary for these nobodies who have become somebodies in just a few weeks of strutting their stuff.

From tournament leader, Data Force San Pedro, there’s Allan Mangahas, a player who had already reached his ultimate dream of playing in the Philippine Basketball Association, played in the national finals of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League for Muntinlupa, became a star player of the D-League and his collegiate squad, Mapua in the National Collegiate Athletic Association, but continued his “ball-is-life mentality.”

Of course, San Pedro, which now vaulted on top of the standings of Season 3, also has players like former Olivarez College standout MJ Homo, AJ Fransman, who played for Enderun and John Abis, who was included in the University of Perpetual Help Dalta’s roster for National Collegiate Athletic Association Season 98.

Three teams are currently tied for second to fourth places — Layba Trucking Cabuyao, Blue Steel Sab Pablo and KDL Calamba, which all carry the same 4-2 win-loss record.

Coached by Alex Angeles, who previously handled Laguna’s team in the MPBL, Cabuyao is led by Nikko Aguilar from San Sebastian College and Shin Manacsa, who saw action for the Laguna Pistons in the National Basketball League.

San Pablo, the defending champion and erstwhile leader but has suffered back-to-back losses, is being spearheaded by last year’s Finals Most Valuable Player Basti Valencia and Mythical Five member Michael Bisbe.

Calamba is being backstopped by last season’s MVP John Lester Maurillo, who has been getting ample support from his teammates like Raynald Quinto, Alex Junsay, Justin Ramilo and Arthur Navasero, all of them trying to make their presence felt in the local cage circuit.

Sta. Cruz, which picked up back-to-back victories, had been getting stellar performances from John Zernan Hernandez, a great discovery from local street basketball leagues, and Rey Jann Sandoval from Laguna State Polytechnic University.

From the farther side of the province in Nagcarlan, Jimbo Elleva and Joshua Conte have been leading their squad.

Known as the “Baby Beast” as his game was patterned from PBA star Calvin Abueva, Elleva is beginning to make heads turn, from his energy, his skill set and court antics, while Conte is another new discovery.

Sta. Rosa, on the other hand, has been getting solid games from Luis Sinco, former player of College of Saint Benilde, as well as Samuel Intano, while Cavinti has been banking on Keanu Macapulay and Pakil, last season’s runner-up, has been drawing strength from King Fadriquela, last season’s scoring champion.

By the end of the season, we expect to discover more from Liga Laguna and we’re going to see new heroes on the rise.

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