Angeles, Pampanga—After earning a national team pool call-up, Batangas-Tanduay player Rey Suerte plans to prove his worth to the squad in the on-going 2019-20 Chooks-to-Go MPBL Lakan Season.
Suerte, one of the first five to enter the pool via a PBA special Gilas Pilipinas draft alongside Isaac Go, Allyn Bulanadi, Mike Nieto and Matt Nieto, vows to be the player the national team needs him to be.
“Gagawin ko lahat ng makakaya ko, magiging role player ako, defensive stopper or kahit ano, basta laging puso lang sa laro,” said the University of the East standout, who averaged 17.69 points and 6.79 rebounds in his one and only year with the Red Warriors.
“Malaking bagay ang MPBL para sa improvement ko as a player dahil semi-pro league ito at marami ring mga beterano dito kaya makakatulong ito para sa pag-akyat ko sa Gilas,” said Suerte.
In the MPBL, the two-time CESAFI MVP is posting norms of 10.7 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.5 steals in six outings for the Tanduay-backed Athletics.
Meanwhile, Batangas teammate Jaydee Tungcab was called-up alongside Thirdy Ravena. He wants to prove that he was no fluke and he can bring the same tenacity on defense he brought to the University of the Philippines.
“Hindi ko naman talaga ine-expect na masasama ako sa pool ng Gilas pero kung ano yung nakita nila sa akin, ibibigay ko lang ulit sa practice – yung depensa ko, yung buong loob sa laro – dadalhin ko hanggang sa Gilas,” said the 6-foot-3 wingman, who hails from Sta. Rosa, Laguna.
In his MPBL debut last Thursday at the AUF Gym, Tungcab only managed six points on 2-of-6 shooting, a rebound, a steal, and an assist against three turnovers, admitting that he is yet to adjust in his new team
It was not the ideal debut for the 6-foot-3 Tungcab as Batangas-Tanduay lost a heartbreaker to Pampanga in overtime, 79-82, that dropped the Athletics to a 14-11 slate in the Southern Division—a full-game behind seventh running Iloilo.
“Nag-aadjust pa rin ako sa MPBL dahil first game ko ngayon. Pero makakatulong ang MPBL para sa personal growth ko as a player,” said Tungcab, who only trained with the team last Wednesday.
“Mas mahahasa ako dito para pagdating sa Gilas, ready na ready na ako.”
But Batangas head coach Woody Co believes that Tungcab will eventually become one of the key pieces for the squad, it’s just a matter of jelling with his new teammates.
“Jaydee is a great addition to the team because he can play multiple positions and that helps a lot on our rotation. He brings versatility and intensity on both offense and defense. Hopefully, he blends well with his teammates,” said the youthful mentor, who is a product of UP.