‘Munti’ vs ‘Manda’ in opener

By Jerome Lagunzad

Games Tuesday
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
7 p.m. – Parade of teams
7:30 p.m. – Marikina
vs General Santos City
9:30 p.m. – Muntinlupa
vs Mandaluyong

After figuring in a tug of war for the services of two-time UAAP league MVP Ray Parks in the off-season, Muntinlupa and expansion Mandaluyong collide in a blockbuster opening day showdown of the 2018 Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Anta Datu Cup that gets going on Tuesday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

The Cagers, the bridesmaid to inaugural season champion Batangas City Athletics, are expected to come in with added motivation as they go up against the 6-foot-3 Parks and the El Tigre in the main match set at 9:30 p.m.

Although they failed to lure Parks, a back-to-back ASEAN Basketball League Local MVP winner, the Cagers still made some big moves by acquiring bruising Quezon City forward Gian Abrigo, journeyman Chester Saldua and former National University stalwart JP Cauilan.

The Cagers are also set to bring in brothers Tomas and Axel Torres plus celebrity baller Xian Lim to join the likes of key holdovers Allan Mangahas, Chito Jaime, Pari Llagas, Dave Moralde, Dhon Reverente, and Felix Apreku.

Muntinlupa has also enlisted four-time PBA slam dunk king Rey Guevarra but the Cagers team management is still awaiting for his official release from his mother club, the Phoenix Fuel Masters.

Out to lend some prestige to the opening day which will also feature an intriguing encounter between Marikina and General Santos City at 7:30 p.m. is Bong Go, the special assistant to President Rodrigo Duterte who is also included in the 20-man lineup of the Cagers handled by coach Aldrin Morante.