Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?




MPBL fires off in Pangasinan

JUSTINE Baltazar will lead the powerhouse Pampanga Giant Lanterns in their title-retention bid in the Sixth Season of the MPBL. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF MPBL

The long wait for the opening of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Sixth Season ends Saturday as the Manny Pacquiao-owned cagefest gets going with a double-header at the Calasiao Sports Complex in Pangasinan.

After its successful staging of the Fifth Season concluding with the Pampanga Giant Lanterns running away with the crown, the league returns with a big bang with newcomers Pangasinan and Abra locking horns in the centerpiece game at 8 p.m.

The opener pits star-studded Zamboanga Master Sardines and ramped-up Valenzuela colliding at 6 p.m. following the 4 p.m. opening rites that will feature all 30 parading squads with their respective muses.

While they are competing for the first time, the Pangasinan Heatwaves and Abra Weavers are determined to make a lot of heads turn instead of being content with just being a part of the league by going on a massive recruitment spree.

Pangasinan got the services of multi-titled mentor Jerson Cabiltes to guide the Heatwaves, who will be bannered by Michael Mabulac, Mark Dyke, Hesed Gabo, JonJon Gabriel, Dennicve Villamor, Jerald Bautista, Ian Melencio, Jeff Javillonar, Jay-R Taganas, Vince Tolentino and Mark Poole.

Like their fellow newcomers, the Weavers first installed a solid foundation by tapping top coach Jonathan Banal and National Collegiate Athletic Association Season 99 Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year Clint Escamis.

Banal has a solid support cast to bank on with seasoned Cebu dribbler Mac Tallo joined by Prince Caperal, Jeepy Faundo, Felipe Chavez, Mark Mantuano, Jimboy Pasturan, Tonton Bringas and King Destacamento.

Back to call the shots for Zamboanga anew is former national mentor Louie Alas, who will be pinning his hopes on twins Jaycee and Jayvee Marcelino, Joseph Terso, Joseph Gabayni, Jayson Apolinario, John Mahari, Adrian Santos, Chito Jaime, Rey Publico, Jason Strait, Lorenzo Subido and Mark Omega.

Alas swears the team is shooting for the title even though he feels that going all the way to the top will require them to come up with super-human efforts given the equally-strong rosters of more than a dozen teams entered.

After failing to advance to the quarterfinal round last year, Valenzuela has bolstered its lineup with the acquisition of Dennis Santos, Orin Catacutan, Chris Dechavez, Val Chauca, Alfonso Gotladera and the 6-foot-9 Ladis Lepalam.

Pacquiao, who included basketball in his training regimen while revving up for big fights, will grace the opening ceremonies.

Also expected to be around are Pangasinan’s top leaders, including Gov. Ramon Guico III, Rep. Art Celeste, Alaminos Mayor Arth Bryan Celeste, Calasiao Mayor Kevin Roy Quinto Macanlalay and Heatwaves franchise owner Cezar Quiambao.

MPBL commissioner Kenneth Duremdes, chief executive officer Joe Ramos and head of operations Emmer Oreta will also be on hand for the inaugurals.

The league, whose fans pack venues not just in Metro Manila but also in the provinces all-season long owing to a sense of identity, will run for nine months.

Based on the rosters the participating teams submitted, it looks defending champion Pampanga — bannered by Justine Baltazar — will have to go the extra mile in its quest for a repeat.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like


SOCIAL MEDIAManny Pacquiao knows his time is up. This was the keen observation made by a longtime member of his training team who spent...


SOCIAL MEDIAThe dynamic duo of Johnmar “OhMyV33nus” Villaluna and Danerie James “Wise” del Rosario is back with a bang after leading Blacklist International to...


SOCIAL MEDIAThe University Athletic Association of the Philippines will have a full calendar of sports events for Season 85 starting 1 October. UAAP President...


SOCIAL MEDIAECHO has revealed its roster for the upcoming M4 Mobile Legends World Championship to be held 1-15 January 2023 in Jakarta, Indonesia. The...


SOCIAL MEDIAIt’s going to be business as usual as the Philippine Basketball Association will not stop its on-court activities when it gives way for...


SOCIAL MEDIAIt doesn’t look as if newly-crowned Melvin Jerusalem will get the luxury of defending his minimumweight crown against a handpicked rival after the...


Mitchell, meanwhile, is a six-foot shooting guard frowm Hartford University.


SOCIAL MEDIALegendary boxing referee Carlos ‘Sonny’ Padilla was recently inducted into the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame. Famous for serving as the third man...