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    Arwind, Encho, Cabagnot, Pingris not playing for Pampanga in MPBL - for now

    Before Lanterns fans get too excited
    Apr 11, 2023
    alex cabagnot, arwind santos, encho serrano, marc pingris

    A TOP official of the Pampanga Giant Lanterns said Arwind Santos, Encho Serrano, Alex Cabagnot, and retired player Marc Pingris will not play for the team in the MPBL.

    At least, not yet.

    Pampanga team official Alan Trinidad confirmed that Santos, Serrano, Cabagnot, and Pingris are in the team roster for the ongoing season of the MPBL, but will only play if they somehow become available during the course of the year - and eventually agree to sign with the ballclub.

    READ: Pampanga lists Arwind and Co. in MPBL roster

    Trinidad is aware that Santos, Serrano, and Cabagnot still have live contracts with their PBA ballclubs. Serrano, a contender for PBA Rookie of the Year, is still under contract with Phoenix until May 2023

    Meanwhile, Santos and Cabagnot signed new deals with NorthPort and Terrafirma, respectively, before the ongoing season which won't expire until August 2023.

    But there's a reason for their inclusion in the Lanterns' lineup.


    Since they are listed in the official line-up submitted to the MPBL, the three active players can later on play for Pampanga in the event they become either PBA free agents or released by their current teams.


      According to Trinidad, such practice is allowed in the MPBL, and the league doesn't allow a player to suit up in midseason if he is not part of the original roster submitted.

      “Nasa line-up sila in case na hindi ma-renew si Arwind, lalaro. Kapag si Encho, hindi na-renew sa May, lalaro,” Trinidad told SPIN.ph on Tuesday.

      “Okay lang,” said Trinidad, when asked if the MPBL allows the inclusion of players under contract with PBA teams.

      “Wala pa naman silang pinipirmahan sa amin. Hindi naman bawal ‘yun. Kapag hindi mo niline-up, kapag naging available sila, hindi mo mapapalaro,” Trinidad explained.

      Serrano, Pingris, Cabagnot, Santos

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      The Giant Lanterns' 25-man line-up created a buzz ahead of the start of their 2023 MPBL season campaign against Negros Muscavados on Thursday at the Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center in San Fernando.

      Santos and Serrano are from Pampanga and were once handled and played for Governor Dennis Pineda prior to making the jump to the PBA.

      A reunion could be in the offing for 41-year-old Santos and the 40-year-old Cabagnot at Pampanga after being former teammates at San Miguel.

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      But Trinidad made it clear that won't happen anytime soon.

      “Hindi pa,” said Trinidad, when asked Santos, Serrano, Cabagnot, and Pingris will play on Thursday.

      As for Pingris, Trinidad said they are still in talks with the former Magnolia and Gilas Pilipinas forward about a possible stint with Pampanga. Pingris, 41, retired from the PBA in 219 and recently resigned as commissioner of the Pilipinas Super League.

      “Si Pingris, nagbakasyon muna. Kakabalik lang kahapon. Sabi niya, tatawagan daw niya ako. Hindi pa kami nag-uusap,” said Trinidad.


      But Trinidad said one big name that will definitely suit up this season is Justine Baltazar, who was the Finals MVP when the core of the Giant Lanterns won the PSL title recently.

      Trinidad said even without the Santos and Co., his team will be very competitive in the MPBL season.

      “Kahit naman nung wala sila (Santos, Serrano, Cabagnot, Pingris), malakas kami nung naglaro ‘yung mga local players namin sa PSL. Ang mabigat sa amin si Justine Baltazar,” said Trinidad.

      Get more of the latest sports news & updates on SPIN.ph

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