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Bigger, better MPBL looms

The Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League will implement new rules and innovations when it fires off on 10 March.

MPBL commissioner Kenneth Duremdes told Daily Tribune that they will have coaches’ challenge and television timeouts to make the officiating more transparent and games more exciting as they enter their fourth season.

“We’re going to have a coaches’ challenge and TV timeouts depending if there will be additional sponsors coming,” Duremdes said in a telephone interview.

All eyes will be on Nueva Ecija as it seeks to become the first team to win back-to-back titles.

The Rice Vanguards will be handled by Jerson Cabiltes, who was appointed as head coach of Emilio Aguinaldo College in the National Collegiate Athletic Association recently.

Cabiltes stressed that Nueva Ecija team owner Bong Cuevas also supports the Generals, paving the way for him to handle both squads.

Cabiltes, who led his teams to MPBL, FilBasket, VisMin Cup titles before becoming part of Stevenson Tiu’s coaching staff in the Philippine Basketball Association D-League, Cabiltes will parade an intact lineup, except for Hesed Gabo, who is now playing for NLEX in the Governors’ Cup of the PBA.

Still, the Rice Vanguards remain formidable as Will McAloney, Pamboy Raymundo, Jonathan Uyloan, Michael Mabulac, Rhenz Palma, Byron Villarias, Michael Juico, Philip Manalang, Jay-R Taganas, Jay Collado, Stephen Simura and Harvey Pagsanjan will all return for another tour of duty.

Cabiltes said teams like Zamboanga, Batangas City and San Juan are strong enough to knock the crown off their heads.

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