MPBL reaches Sweet 16 as Makati enters as latest expansion ball club

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Make that Sweet 16 for the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League.

On Tuesday night, the MPBL family welcomed the inclusion of Makati, the business capital of the Philippines, as the newest member of the fledgling regional basketball league.

Representatives of the squad headed by team owners Paolo Orbeta and Paolo Pineda and team manager Martin Arenas signed the contract that made Makati the sixth expansion club, joining fellow newcomers Pasig, San Juan, Laguna, Team Rizal and Manila.

They were joined by MPBL officials headed by commissioner Kenneth Duremdes, assistant commissioner Satar Macantal, and operations head Zaldy Realubit.

“In behalf of Mayora Abby Binay, Vice Mayor Monique Lagdameo and Congressman Luis Campos, we’re inviting everybody to participate in the tryouts.The selection process is really difficult. We have our upcoming tryout on April 14 and 15 at the Barangay San Isidro and Makati Sports Complex, 12 noon to 3 p.m.,” said Pineda.

According to Arenas, Makati is looking to field in a team composed mostly of citizens of Makati to be reinforced by five ex-pros.

“Mas maganda kung karamihan sa team talagang taga-Makati. Iba kasi na kapag naglalaro ka, makikita mo yung magchi-cheer sa iyo mga taga-Makati. Pero syempre, i-explain rin natin sa kanila ang composition ng MPBL. Mayroon tayong 5 professionals, may amateur and then homegrown. We have to take advantage of that,” added Arenas.

To be coached by former La Salle stalwart Cholo Villanueva, Makati vowed to come up with a competitive team and give the mainstays a run for their money.

“Siguro ang masasabi namin ang susunod na season ay mas magiging exciting. Abangan natin kasi may ginagawa tayong preparation. But we’ll form a competitive squad. Bahala dyan si Coach Cholo,” said Arenas.