CEBU City just might be getting what it has been clamoring for as the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) is looking to add more home games for the Casino Ethyl Alcohol-Cebu City Sharks.
This was revealed by the league’s head of operations, Zaldy Realubit, himself no stranger to the local basketball scene after suiting up for the University of San Jose-Recoletos and Mama’s Love in his heyday.
“According to the initial agreement, only one home game will be given this season to the teams from the south. However, a lot of teams have already approached me and let me know of their intentions to travel to and play in Cebu City if the opportunity presents itself,” said the native of Nasipit, Agusan.
“So we might be looking at an additional two more home games for Cebu City. I will talk to Senator Manny (Pacquiao) about this when I get back to Manila,” Realubit added.
Realubit was in town for the official launch of the Sharks. Also gracing the festivities were MPBL assistant commissioner, Satar Macantal, Cebu City councilor Jerry Guardo, Cebu City Sharks team manager Mark Castillo, team consultant Jesus Yuson and IPI head of innovations Kyle Wong.
The Sharks’ 18-man team is a mix of veteras and up-and-coming locals led by former pros Cesar Catli, Jondan Salvador, Erick Rodriguez and Patrick Cabahug, who has apparently changed his mind and is indeed playing for his hometown after initially committing to play for Zamboanga.
Also in the lineup are former Adamson Falcon Mark Abadia, Francisco Arong Jr., Alfred Codilla, Harold Cortes, Enrico John Llanto, John Lloyd Luz Jr., William Bill McCaloney Jr., Victor Nunez, Rhaffy Octobre, Ceasar Ian Ortega, Garciano Puerto Jr., John Abad, Iron Suano and Kevin Villafranca.
Head coach, Gilbert Castillo said his squad is slowly rounding into form heading to its first tune-up game on Wednesday morning against the USJ-R Jaguars.
“I can assure you, this team is going to be very competitive,” said the former San Miguel forward. The team is looking to have some more tune-up games against local squads here before moving their training camp to Manila on May 28.
“I have already lined up several tune-up games there against Muntinlupa and Pasay. It’s important to keep on going up against tough teams. This is to keep the players grounded. Alam ko na 'yan eh. Player din ako dati. Kapag nananalo ng tune-up, yung iba, masyadong mataas na ang kumpyansa,” said Castillo who credited Rodriguez and Salvador for meshing well with the locals.
“Yung mga ex-pros ko, sila yung mga leader dapat. Especially when we get to Manila, they have to be the big brothers of the team and guide the players. So far naman, they have lived up to that responsibility,” Castillo added.