Marikina-GenSan battle kicks off MPBL Datu Cup

Mandaluyong and Muntinlupa, two teams which figured in a bitter tug-of-war for the services of highly touted Ray Parks, will square off in the Independence Day opening of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League at the Araneta Coliseum.

After winning the Parks sweepstakes, the El Tigre worked on tinkering their line up and this early, they are considered as among the early favorites in the tournament that will be known as the Datu Cup.

The two will battle it out at 9:30 p.m.

Marikina takes on General Santos City in the other game at 7:30 p.m.

The Shoemasters made Gerald Anderson as the face of their franchise. The popular movie and television personality was signed up by head coach Elvis Tolentino, who coached the celebrity baller in one of the recreational leagues several years ago.

But Anderson isn’t the only celebrity baller in the roster of players seeing action in the MPBL this season.

Xian Lim, another popular actor/model, will also play in the fastest growing regional cage league for the Muntinlupa Cagers.

On the eve of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Datu Cup kickoff at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, Team Davao Occidental-Cocolife Tigers held their motivational meeting at the Function Hall of team sponsor Cocolife yesterday in Makati City. The team, also backed by Global Power Power  and HNP [Hugpong na Pagbabago Party), was led by team owner Claudine Bautista [center], Cocolife President Elmo Nobleza, Vice President Maricor Mangulabnan, FVP Joseph Ronquillo [standing at center], AVP Rico Rona, AVP Rowena  Jael-Asnan, AVP Janus Dellava and Winfred Endozo. They were also joined by team manager Bhong Baribar, Assistant Ray Alao, head coach Don Dulay, assistant coaches Rob Wainwright, Arvin Bonleon, Manu Inigo, Nonoy Bonleon, Matt Makalintal and players Alex Asis, Arnol Adormeo, Billy Ray Robles, Bob Ombecan, Bogs Raymundo, Bonbon Custodio, Edrian Jao, Emanuel Calo, James Regalado, Jarold Cabanog, Joseph Terso, Leo Najorda, Led Paller, Louie Medalla, Mark Yee, Miko Estrollante, Paul John Siarot and Ronald Lamocha.  
A former varsity player himself, Lim will be joining a stacked El Tigre squad beefed up by ex-pros and top amateur players.

Parks, is no doubt, the star of the El Tigre. The son of seven-time PBA Best Import Bobby Sr., is fresh from a championship stint playing for Alab Pilipinas in the Asean Basketball League and will be joined in the line up by teammate JR Alabanza, former pros Mark Andaya and Jeff Javillonar, who were recruited from previous MPBL team Valenzuela Classic, ex-Quezon City Capitals forward Gian Abrigo, brothers Thomas and Axel Torres of La Salle, National University standout John Paul Cauillan, and collegiate star Rashleigh Paulo Rivero, among others.

But the El Tigre will be facing a team that is no pushover—the Cagers of Muntinlupa, which finished runner-up to Batangas City in the inaugural tournament of this league put up by Senator Manny Pacquiao with PBA legend and former MVP Kenneth Duremdes serving as commissioner.

Brief but colorful opening ceremonies, which will be highlighted by the parade of teams and their respective muses, will usher the start of the new league, whose participation has gone up to 26 teams from the original 10-member cast.

Throughout the activity, 26 motorbikes and a brand new car will be raffled off to lucky ticket holders.

Topics: Mandaluyong , Muntinlupa , Ray Parks , Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League , Gerald Anderson
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