The long lull is over for the Davao Occidental Cocolife Tigers.
Finally, the most awaited go signal from Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases was granted to the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League to get back into hardcourt action.
The non-professional cage league will resume its Chooks-to-Go Lakan Cup playoffs starting March 10 at the Subic bubble, with the backing of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.
Four teams, the Davao Occidental Cocolife Tigers and Basilan Steel from the south, and the Makati Super Crunch and San Juan Knights from north, will face off in a do-or-die Game 3 division finals, which were halted a year ago due to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.
The Tigers of team owner Rep. Claudine Bautista of Davao Occidental, supported by Cocolife President Atty. Jose Martin Loon, SVP Joseph Ronquillo, VP Rowena Asnan and EVP Franz Joie Araque, are raring to roar at the bubble in pursuit of their mission of finally clinching the national championship in the league organized by Senator Manny Pacquiao.
But the powerhouse team from Mindanao, led by veteran and tested hardcourt warriors Mark Yee, Bonbon Custodio Emman Calo, Bogs Raymundo, Jerwin Gaco, JosephTerso, Ronald Lamocha and Harry Bonleon, with young bloods Yvan Ludovice, Richard Albo, Chester Saldua, Kenneth Mocon and Marco Balagtas at the helm, must first clear a dangerous obstacle along the way, another Mindanaoan team in Basilan in their ‘win-or-go-home’ rubbermatch.
A victory will advance the Tigers to the national championship, where they will go up in a best-of-five championship series against the winner of the north division (San Juan-Makati), for the Lakan Cup title.
“Our Tigers are 100% fit and prepared for the Subic hardcourt action, armed with a mission of winning no less than a national championship. They’re raring to roar at the bubble,” said team manager Dinko Bautista, who acknowledged the comprehensive efforts of deputy manager Ray Alao, basketball operation head Bong Baribar and the coaching staff in keeping their players in top physical condition via virtual training and through backyard workouts during the community quarantine and lockdowns.
The crowd-drawer Tigers will play in a different atmosphere minus an audience as a strict compliance of the health protocols set by the IATF.
A 22-man Davao squad will arrive today in Subic, Olongapo for swab testing and a one-night quarantine, before proceeding to their hotel, followed by four days of training before getting ready to play in the division finals against Basilan.
The best-of-five Lakan Cup championship game is set on March 12.