Ex-Barangay Ginebra San Miguel guard Rob Labagala and his Passion squad are out to defend the under-19 division in the fifth season of the United Basketball League, which comes off the wraps on 15 January at the SPCC in Caloocan.
Passion leads the 42-team tournament.
A former University of the East stalwart, Labagala played for Ginebra for three years before he got traded to Barako Bull in 2014.
He won his first and only championship in the Philippine Basketball Association when he transferred to TNT in 2015 where he got reunited with his former coach, Jong Uichico.
He has spent the past few years, serving as a personal coach to young players, including former national youth standout Migs Pascual.
Aside from Passion, other notable teams competing are Philippine Christian University-Wang’s Sports, Blue Panther, Hustle by DMC Sportswear, Bombers, Paragon, PCAF, SPCC Blue Panthers, Pace Academy, National University-MOA, Brotherhood, Spring Oil, Mighty Warriors, Disciples, MBC, Aspirants Basketball, Supremo, Pheno Ballers, Triple J Basketball, Manila Braves, Skilled Hoops and EDSCI Green Knights.
UBL is run by former PBA player and two-time SEA Games gold medalist Allan Salangsang who will be assisted by technical director Joel Ngo, former referee in Asia’s pioneering professional league.
After the fifth season, UBL is going to bring the action in Southern Tagalog for its planned Inter-School tournament. The group also has plans of coming up with its first-ever Inter-Cities and Municipalities and an invitational international tournament, all of them happening this year.