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    Baloria, Taganas, Bitoon, Mabulac, Siruma beef up Basilan for VisMin Cup

    Apr 4, 2021
    PHOTO: Dante Peralta

    BASILAN Peace Riders isn't done beefing up its roster.

    The Jumbo Plastic-backed squad has enlisted Chris Bitoon, Jay-R Taganas, Michael Mabulac, Jong Baloria, and Stephen Siruma to its squad ahead of the maiden season of the Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup.

    Basilan unveiled the new additions on its social media accounts ahead of the scheduled April 9 opening in Alcantara, Cebu.

    The 5-foot-8 Bitoon was a stud in his time with Manila Stars in the MPBL, earning his place in the All-MPBL First Team in the 2019 Datu Cup that led to Blackwater taking him in the third round of the 2019 PBA Rookie Draft.

    He averaged 12.5 points on 31-percent from threes, alongside 4.5 rebounds, and 5.7 assists, and 1.8 steals in 25.2 minutes in his last season with Manila.


      Taganas, 33, is an undersized 6-foot-3 center who has proven his worth for the Bulacan Kuyas in the recent MPBL Lakan Cup, where he posted 5.7 points on 44-percent shooting, together with 10.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 22.6 minutes.

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      Mabulac, 29, is a 6-foot-4 banger from Jose Rizal University who spent three seasons with San Miguel, before heading to the MPBL and norming 9.7 points on 50-percent clip, on top of 8.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game in 21.7 minutes for the Bacoor City Strikers.

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      Baloria, 30, previously played for NLEX in the PBA and was a key part of Makati Super Crunch in the Lakan Cup, where the 5-foot-11 sniper averaging 12.2 points on 31-percent shooting from deep, to go with 4.0 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 21.8 minutes as they made it to the semifinals.

      Siruma also was solid in his time with Bulacan, garnering 8.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 3.1 assists in 23.4 minutes last season with the Kuyas.

      Basilan is obviously banking on familiarity as it enlists players familiar with the system of coach Jerson Cabiltes and team consultant Stevenson Tiu.


        Bitoon was teammates with Taganas and Siruma in Che'Lu Bar and Grill when the Revellers finished as runner-ups in the 2018 PBA D-League Foundation Cup.

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        Mabulac is also a former teammate of Taganas and Siruma in Bulacan back in the MPBL Datu Cup.

        The quintet are expected to be big additions for the Peace Riders, which are parading the core of the Basilan Steel team in the MPBL led by Hesed Gabo and Jhaps Bautista.

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        PHOTO: Dante Peralta
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