SOUTH COTABATO – Inaugural staging scoring leader Gary David will play for the Bataan again in the coming season of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League.
This was confirmed by Borgie Hermida, team administrator to FOX Sports Philippines.
The team will now be known as The Risers and David, who led the league in scoring after averaging nearly 21 points per game will once again assume his role as the squad’s top gun.
“We have chosen Risers kasi nga dati nagkaroon sila ng phrase na ‘Bataan has fallen.’ We have chosen Risers because hindi lang naman yung name ang gusto naming ibangon, but we also want to rise our MPBL team,” Hermida said in a telephone interview.
The team is being supported by Congresswoman Geraldine Roman of the first district of the province and also by the provincial government led by Governor Abet Garcia and Congressman Joet Garcia of the second district of the province.
Aside from David, the new team, which was created in a partnership between Zetapro Athletics, headed by chief executive officer Anthony Zubiri and the previous management, BaiShipping, the franchise owner, also tapped several players from Alab Pilipinas like Pamboy Raymundo, Ryan Batino, and Toto Villarias. The team also has John Gorrospe, Achie Iñigo, AJ Vitug and Mark Pangilinan.
But the team also made key acquisitions, adding Gilas Cadet stalwart Jayjay Alejandro, Fil-Canadian Vince Tolentino, shooter Gab Dagangon, who previously played for Parañaque and Abu Tratter, also of Gilas Cadets.
Tratter’s eligibility, however, is still subject for screening by the MPBL Commissioner’s Office.
“Tratter is subject for screening. He’s overmatch with the locals and the homegrown players,” wrote Duremdes in a text message. “If you noticed, maliliit talaga mga big men ng mga teams sa MPBL.”
Duremdes is basing his judgment on Maika Usita, the 6-foot-9 player who was denied from joining the Valenzuela Classic to keep the balance competition among teams and give the players an equal chance competing.
Tratter is a 6-foot-7 standout included in the Gilas “23-for-23”, program of coach Chot Reyes for the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
Bataan also retained homegrown players Francis Edibag and Gio Espuelas and tapped an 18—year-old standout from the province who was named MVP in a local league – Julius Garcia.
Not only did Bataan shore up its player roster, the coaching staff headed by Jojo Lastimosa, was also retooled. Joining the cage legend are fellow PBA stars Vic Pablo and Andy de Guzman.