South teams favored in MPBL

By Jerome Lagunzad

As far as Commissioner Kenneth Duremdes is concerned, teams from the South have nowhere to go but up since they will field formidable lineups which could make an immediate impact in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Anta Datu Cup.

Duremdes, a one-time pro league MVP and a member of the PBA’s 25 Greatest Players, sure knows where he is coming from after he witnessed first-hand how Davao Occidental and Cebu stacked up their respective rosters.

“They’re no pushovers, especially Davao Occidental and Cebu,” said Duremdes, who was in Polomolok, South Cotabato last month when the Davao Occcidental Tigers ruled the four-team pre-season tournament.

The Tigers acquired solid pieces recently in former pros Leo Najorda and Mark Yee plus talented guard Bonbon Custodio to join the likes of veteran big man Bogs Raymundo and shifty guard Billy Ray Robles.

The Cebu Sharks, handled by former San Miguel Beer stalwart Gilbert Castillo, are also eager to make some big splash behind two-time PBA champion Jondan Salvador, Frederick Rodriguez, Cesar Catli and Patrick Jan Cabahug.

Three more teams from Mindanao—the Zamboanga Valientes, the General Santos City Warriors and the Basilan Steel—are also determined to prove they truly belong in the expanded 26-team tourney.

The Valientes will bring in ex-Barako Bull guard Reed Juntilla, journeyman Leo Avenido, former Purefoods player Rob Sanz, and comebacking players Jonathan Parreno and Noy Javier.

The Zamboanga-based squad will also have Von Lanete, brother of Garvo and Chico, who are now both playing in the PBA, and former Imus Bandera center Arden Guiyab.