Davao Occidental first MPBL southern team to sign as expansion club

THE Tigers of Davao Occidental will be the first team to sign up in the southern division of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League.

Representatives of Davao Occidental headed by Ms Claudine Bautista confirmed to FoxSports.ph that their group is scheduled to sign as the first expansion squad coming from the south on Labor Day, May 1, 7 p.m. in General Santos City.

According to Ms Bautista, the Tigers are happy to participate in the fastest growing regional basketball league put up by Senator Manny Pacquiao with former PBA MVP and all-time great Kenneth Duremdes serving as commissioner.

“We brought in the players here, some of them coming from Manila and some of them coming from Cebu,” said Ms. Bautista in a telephone interview.

To be coached by former Rain or Shine guard Don Dulay and assisted by fellow ex-pro Rob Wainwright and Arvin Bonleon, the Tigers will be headed by their key players Bogs Raymundo, Billy Robles, Joseph Celso, AJ Asis, Edsel Mag-Isa, James Regalado and Emmanuel Calo among others.

Team manager is Bhong Baribar.

Raymundo, a 6-foot-6- frontliner, played for the Kia Picanto and one among the early batch of players along with Senator Pacquiao to play in its PBA squad.

Robles, the inaugural staging MVP of the short-lived Pilipinas Commercial Basketball League, also played for the Elasto Painters in the PBA.

Celso was a point guard who played in the  PCBL and D-League while Asis previously saw action for the Imus Bandera during the inaugural MPBL-Anta Rajah Cup.

Another MPBL player was Mag-Isa, who was plucked out by Davao Occidental from Caloocan.

Calo is a native of Cebu and a resident star while Regalado is also a D-League veteran.

“We intend to form a competitive team right from the get-go kasi malalakas yung mga kasaling teams. We want to make a good impression dahil dala-dala namin ang pangalan ng lugar namin,” added Baribar in a telephone interview.

Davao Occidental’s participation will open up floodgates to teams seeking to join the regional basketball league, whose member squads had now reached 21.