BASILAN and Zamboanga, two teams from the Mindanao region, had started to build up ahead of the coming season of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL).
The Basilan Steel had done massive changes in their lineup, acquiring key players from different teams to beef up their roster. They’ve surrounded the team with star players anchored on MPBL All-Star Jay Collado and fellow ex-Quezon City Capitals Hesed Gabo.
Mr. Collado has averaged close to 15 points and eight rebounds per game while his teammate, Mr. Gabo, tallied nearly 12 points and seven assists per outing.
Basilan also picked up ex-pros Jonathan Uyloan and Tonton Bringas, swingman Gab Dagangon, who was released by the Bataan Risers, Pasay Voyagers stalwarts Bobby Balucanag, Jett Vidal and Shaq Alanes and Navotas big man Michole Sorrela.
“I think we’ve started to put up a competitive team. These players one way or another have become my players, so adjustment in my system won’t be much of a problem. Still, the outcome would still depend on how we perform on the court and not on paper,” said Jerson Cabiltes, head coach of the Steel.
While Basilan was busy shopping around for players within or outside the MPBL, the Family’s Brand Sardines-backed Zamboanga squad opted to keep Robin Roño and Reed Juntilla, two of the team’s top guns in the season just passed.
One of the top three-point shooters in the recent MPBL Datu Cup, Mr. Roño has averaged 17.13 points per game and shot 34% from beyond the arc. His backcourt partner, Mr. Juntilla, a grizzled veteran who played for Barako Bull in the PBA, managed to average 16.75 points per game.
Also re-signed by the team is guard Joseph Nalos.
Zamboanga also recruited homegrown Gino Jumao-as, who previously played for the Navotas Clutch, and Leo de Vera, a frontliner from the Bacoor Strikers. — Rey Joble