The Davao Occidental Tigers came up with high hopes as the whole squad was presented yesterday at the weekly Davao Sportswriters Association (DSA) Forum held at the SM City Davao in preparation for the 2nd Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL).
The Tigers coached by Don Dulay will be among the 25 teams which will see action when the MPBL gets going this June 12 in Manila.
Dulay who is also a member of the PBA’s Rain Or Shine Elasto Painters coaching staff will be backed by assistants Rob Wainright, a former member of the PBA’s Coca-Cola Tigers and the MBA’s Cebu Gems alongside with local court legend Arvin Bonleon who strut his wares for the MBA’s Davao Eagles and the PBL’s Chowking Foodmasters back then.
“We are happy to be here in Davao for a series of tune-up games plus a possible basketball clinic for the kids to make our presence felt by local basketball fans. All of this will be part of our preparation for the league which will start next month,” Dulay said.
The Tigers which were eventual crown as pre-season champs recently will banner the Visayas and Mindanao squads in the league’s second season which also have the General Santos Warriors, Zamboanga, Cebu and Basilan. Also competing are first season champion Batangas City, runner-up Muntinlupa, Valenzuela, Paranaque, Quezon City, Bulacan, Navotas, Imus, Bataan and Caloocan. Completing this year’s cast are Makati, Manila, San Juan, Team Rizal, Laguna, Mandaluyong, Pampanga, Pasig, Pasay and Marikina.
Dulay’s wards will be bannered by local commercial cagers led by team captain Louie Medalla together with co-captain Eman Calo, Mikko Estrellante, Bob Ombecan, Don Adormeo, Jay Cabanog and Ronald Lamocha. The Ilonggo Superman Billy Ray Robles will also be suiting up for the Tigers along with Manuelito Osabel, Leo Paller, Paul Sharot, Edrian Lao, James Regalado, Bogs Raymundo, Joseph Terso and former PBA cager Leo Najorda.
“We did have a series of tryouts before forming this team. We showed other teams of what we are capable of doing by topping the pre-season games. We hope we could maintain our momentum going to the elimination round and a possible run in the semis,” Wainright added.