There will be four players from the recently-crowned ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) champions San Miguel Alab Pilipinas who will be joining head coach Mac Cuan in the expansion team Mandaluyong El Tigre in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL).
“Bobby Ray Parks Jr., Lawrence Domingo, JR Alabanza, and Oping Sumalinog will join us at Mandaluyong,” revealed Cuan, who also added there were a few more names considered but didn’t pan out.
“Pao (Javelona) was just signed by GlobalPort, and Josh (Urbiztondo) wants to rest and recover coz of the long ABL season. He wanted to make sure his injury will be fully healed.”
Cuan, who flanked rookie head coach Jimmy Alapag in the Alab Pilipinas bench this past season also served as the team’s head coach during their first year in the ABL, expects the guys to bring the championship mentality and experience to this new squad.
The two-time ABL Local Most Valuable Player Parks is expected to bring his A-game and continue his dominance as he will be heavily relied upon by Cuan in the local semi-professional league. Sumalinog will help space the floor because of his outside stroke, while JR Alabanza and the relentless Lawrence Domingo should provide an inside presence and rebounding.
“They will be a huge help to the the team, and even to the league. To have someone of Ray’s caliber to play in a new league like MPBL is huge. They also bring the winning attitude that can rub off to the other players especially the homegrown players of Mandaluyong,” adds Cuan.
While the core guys of Alab Pilipinas are excited to immediately contend for a championship in the upstart Filipino league, Cuan is wary and careful not to go into the tournament overconfident because of the much improved competition.
“Just like our season with Alab Pilipinas, our goal is to work hard and contend for a championship. Its not gonna be easy because there are strong teams in the MPBL now but we will be up to the challenge.”