by Brian Yalung
The Metro Manila Open Division kicks off this Sunday at the San Juan Gymnasium with three games on tap on April 7. Bacoor Strike Sa Serbisyo and the Pasig Pasiguenos will face off in the opening game starting at 1:00 p.m.
Usually open only to metro-based teams, Bacoor was given a special exception for the import-laced conference. And based on their official lineup, it looks like the Strike Sa Serbisy quintet is ready for the tough battles ahead.
Among the notable names in the roster include ex-PBA player Michael Mabulac, Paolo Castro, former FEU Tamaraw Prince Orizu and 6-foot-8 Matthew Aquino, the son of retired PBA cager Marlou Aquino. But perhaps the most eye-popping player in the mix is Chris Sumalinog.
Sumalinog originally joined the Bacoor Strikers in the MPBL but was on loan to Alab Pilipinas in the ASEAN Basketball League. However and with Alab already eliminated, the 29-year-old scorer can now rejoin his original team.
“Nagpaalam naman siya that he wants to play for Alab. Kami naman, as a team, we look out for the growth of our players. Kung may opportunity don, it’s ok for us,” said team owner Ray Anthony Uy.
Sumalinog’s addition should provide Bacoor a big boost, seeing how other teams have talent-filled rosters.
“He’s versatile, matangkad para sa guard and most of all napakabait na bata. He is really a good person,” he added.
Looking at the final rosters of opposing teams, Uy says that the Manila Stars are the team to beat. However, he believes that it all boils down to which team works hard to earn the victory.
“Kami as a team we always believe in hard work. We never underestimate any team because, at the end of the day, it’s basketball. The team that works hard always wins,” he ended.