The Davao Occidental Tigers continues to get better.
After falling short of winning the national championship last season, the Cocolife-backed Tigers brought in key pieces that could fit well with the team’s system.
On board the team this time are MPBL All-Star Marco Balagtas, Yvan Ludovice, Chester Saldua and Richard Albo, four players who turned out to become the new assets of the team in hope of another title drive.
In their debut game with their new squad, the four became key contributors for the Tigers.
Saldua finished with 15 points and seven rebounds. Balagtas ended up with 12 markers, four rebounds and four assists. Ludovice had 11 points and six assists and Albo contributed eight points and five boards.
Balagtas, a stretch four player, was picked up from the Rizal Crusaders, now known as the Golden Coolers, at the end of the season.
Last season, Balagtas averaged 13.08 points and 7.68 rebounds per game.
Ludovice nearly ended up on Davao Occidental last season, but instead saw himself playing for the Bataan Risers after being released by the Pasay Voyagers.
One of the spitfires of the squad, Ludovice is now finally on board Davao Occidental.
“He didn’t have time to practice for us because he had to wait for his release from Bataan,” head coach Don Dulay told FOX PH in an exclusive interview. “This is his first official game for us — be it in a scrimmage or a regular game with referees.”
Saldua is a potential 6-foot-5 player who was rarely utilized by his previous squad, Muntinlupa Cagers. He got the opportunity of a lifetime with Davao Occidental as he played the starting center’s role.
Then, there’s Albo, another stretch four player picked up from the Navotas Clutch.
For Dulay, putting these players altogether and making them a part of the system is his responsibility.
“You saw how we played last year. We tried to fit guys into our system. You see Balagtas, a fighter. Saldua, a fighter. That’s why when we started practice, you could tell they’re gonna come a long way together. They just need time. They understand what I want,” added Dulay.