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As soon as the tickets were released last week, the scheduled doubleheader between the Basilan Steel-Jumbo Plastic and the Nueva Ecija Vanguards and the Manila Stars and Imus Bandera were quickly sought after by local folks of the province.

Playing in their first home game of the season, the Steel were warmly welcomed by fans the moment they arrived here three days ago.

They were able to conduct a basketball clinic for young players and were greeted by the thousands of fans culled from different cities and municipalities.

“Expected na namin,” Sumisip Mayor and Basilan Steel team owner Julz Hataman told FOX Sports Philippines. “Pero marami pa ring nagabang sa labas. Yung iba, hindi na talaga nakapasok kasi hindi na natin ma-accommodate sa loob.”

The Steels are currently in the deep hunt for a possible top-four berth in the southern division of this tournament put up by Senator Manny Pacquiao with PBA legend and former MVP Kenneth Duremdes serving as commissioner.

Basilan is currently at no. 5 spot with a 12-8 record, just half a game behind fourth placer Batangas City Athletics with a 12-7 slate.

With Basilan having a good chance of making it to the playoffs, a possible return to its home floor is in the offing.