Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League teams rise to 10 as Quezon City, Imus make last-minute entry

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Councilor Onyx Crisologo (third from right) of the Quezon City Capitals, and MPBL Commissioner Kenneth Duremdes (right) show the signed documents that would make the squad the newest member of the league. -- REY JOBLE

QUEZON CITY and Imus have become the latest inclusion in the growing Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) family, becoming the ninth and 10th member, respectively.

Their entry was formalized when they signed a contract just recently.

Quezon City was headed by Councilor Onyx Crisologo, a staunch supporter of the city’s sports program while Imus was represented by Mayor Emmanuel Maliksi.

“Quezon City is a late entry and I would like to thank Commissioner Kenneth (Duremdes). We prepared for this for two weeks. Our squad is composed of ex-pros, but most of our players will be coming from the collegiate ranks. We were not able to join the pre-season, but Quezon City has been joining many leagues. We’re very competitive,” said Mr. Crisologo.

Coaching Quezon City Capitals is Vis Valencia.

Speaking on behalf of Imus, former PBA player Nandy Garcia told BusinessWorld that they’re surprised to be included in the MPBL.

“We’re surprised and that’s what we intend to do as well in the coming MPBL, to surprise the other teams,” said Mr. Garcia, who played for Ginebra San Miguel, Sarsi and Alaska in the PBA.

These two teams will join Batangas Athletics-Tanduay, Bulacan Kuyas, Caloocan Supremos, Muntinlupa Cagers, Navotas Clutch, Parañaque Patriots, Valenzuela Classics and Bataan Defenders.

The inclusion of these two new members nearly overshadowed the announcement made by Bulacan and Bataan on the return to action of two of Philippine basketball’s all-time greats.

Bulacan coach Ogie Gumatay confirmed the participation of Marlou Aquino, the 6-foot-9 center, former PBA Rookie of the Year and three-time champion. Messrs. Aquino and Gumatay played together with the Sta. Lucia Realtors in the PBA.

Bataan also revealed that Gary David had also confirmed to join the Defenders in the coming MPBL season.

Chris Gavina, who just stepped down as coach of the Kia Picanto in the PBA, will also join the MPBL as head coach of Valenzuela.

“I’m really honored to become the head coach of Valenzuela. Regarding the preparation, I was just called a few days ago. But I’m really excited of the passion and the hard work of the players we put in. They reached the finals of the pre-season, so there’s high expectations. But it’s all come down to the level of our commitment and hopefully this translates to success,” added Mr. Gavina.

Mr. Gavina’s team has a core of ex-pros composed of Paolo Hubalde, Ford Ruaya, Jaymar Gimpayan and Jomar Soriano. — Rey Joble