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Gab Banal, Bacoor Strikers challenge San Juan Knights tonight

by Jim Lemuel Wilson, June 14, 2019 10:16am

Datu Cup Most Valuable Player Gab Banal looks to lead the retooled Bacoor City Strikers as they host last season’s champions San Juan Knights tonights in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) Lakan Cup at the STRIKE Gymnasium.

The Strikers are among the early favorites to win it all this season after adding some big names to their lineup. After almost single-handedly leading the team to the South Division Semifinals, Banal will now be playing with Michale Mabulac, Paolo Castro, Ian Melencio, Josh Wee, and Michael Cañete.

Also returning for the Strikers are veteran center Marlou Aquino, Rocky Acidre, Mark Montuano, Oping Sumalinog, King Destacamento, Eric Acuña, and Mark Pangilinan. Now, they look to catch a big fish in their very first game of the season against the Knights.

San Juan has kept their lineup pretty much intact, with Finals MVP Mike Ayonayon; veterans John Wilson, Mac Cardona, and Larry Rodriguez; and young stars Orlan Wamar and CJ Isit. But the Knights have also added Andoy Estrella, who is expected to make an instant impact for the team.

Bacoor coach Chris Gavina is making a comeback in the MPBL while San Juan coach Randy Alcantara is looking to add another championship to his long list of achievements.

Game time is set at 9 pm, following the 7 pm collision between the Cebu Sharks and the Bulacan Kuyas.

Coach Titing Manalili added Eloy Poligrates to his squad while retaining their core of Will McAloney, Patrick Cabahug, and Jaybie Mantilla, this time representing the whole province of Cebu. The Sharks are looking to make it to the past the South Division Quarterfinals.

Coach Britt Reroma, too, got Stephen Siruma, Shaq Taganas, Jovit dela Cruz, Wowie Escosio, and Rev Diputado. Gwynne Capacio, Jun Bonsubre, and JR Alabanza are also coming to Bulacan as they try to improve on a North Division Quarterfinals finish in the Datu Cup.

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