MPBL: Stacked Mandaluyong squad among threats to the throne, says Batangas-Tanduay Athletics coach Mac Tan
ABS-CBN Sports on Jun 04, 2018 04:47 PM
“Experienced sila, experienced din kami. Limahan lang naman yan eh." - Batangas-Tanduay Athletics head coach Mac Tan
The Batangas-Tanduay Athletics’ run to the 2018 Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Anta Rajah Cup title was definitely a dominant one.
After posting an 8-1 record in the eliminations, good for the number one spot, the Athletics breezed through the quarterfinals and semifinals, before dispatching runners-up Muntinlupa Cagers in the Finals in just four games.
Obviously, being the league’s inaugural champions, Batangas has a bullseye on their back.
With the MPBL’s rapid expansion however, there are now even more teams looking to take Batangas down.
Beating out nine other teams is one thing, but now, the champs have to fight through 25 other teams if they want to hoist the 2018 MPBL Datu Cup Championship as well.
For Batangas-Tanduay head coach Mac Tan there are more than just a few teams to look out for in the upcoming tournament.
“Well of course, sa mga lumang teams, andiyan yung Muntinlupa, yung runners-up, and then yung Bulacan, and of course Valenzuela. Actually lahat naman, lumakas na.”
Muntinlupa, the Bulacan Kuyas, and the Valenzuela Classic all finished the 2018 Anta Rajah Cup elimination round with six wins and three losses each.
As for the 16 new squads, Coach Tan sees a couple of threats to the throne as well.
“Sa mga new teams, I think Bataan, San Juan, Mandaluyong, and Manila are tough teams also, sa nakita ko sa rosters nila.”
The Bataan Risers, led by head coach Jojo Lastimosa, will be led by former PBA star Gary David and former UAAP standout Arvie Bringas.
The revived San Juan Knights will parade the likes of former JRU star John Wilson, CEU’s Samboy De Leon, and Jam Cortes to name a few.
The Manila Stars are expected to field a handful of former PBA and UAAP stars such as Joseph Yeo and Roger Yap, as well as Marcy Arellano, Reil Cervantes, and Jerwin Gaco.
Arguably the most-talked about MPBL newcomer however, is the Mandaluyog El Tigre, led by multi-time UAAP and ABL MVP Bobby Ray Parks.
Joining Parks with the El Tigre are former DLSU Green Archers Prince Rivero and Thomas Torres, as well as Jeff Javillonar and JR Abalanza.
And while Mandaluyong has the potential to be a powerhouse in the MPBL, Coach Tan isn’t too fazed with the new guys.
“Experienced sila, experienced din kami. Limahan lang naman yan eh. Siguro para sa akin, deeper bench [kami], and mayroon naman kaming special assignment for Parks and whoever is the star player.”
For Tan, he adds that having had a deep championship run and a team bond is an advantage for them.
“Ang lamang ko is family kami, and yung team ko medyo may camaraderie na, lalo pa naming dadagdagan. For the new players, I’ll just ask them to work harder.”
The bigger the playing field, the more obstacles there are, and that rings true for Tan and the Batangas-Tanduay Athletics.
The champion coach remains confident however, as he assures that his Athletics will be ready and even more competitive for the upcoming tournament.
“Sabi ko nga, every game, we’re gonna prepare for that, rest assured yan.” Tan said. “Ang ma-expect sa Batangas is more exciting yung team, most hardworking, tsaka mas competitive pa kami, sigurado.”
The 2018 MPBL Datu Cup begins on June 12th at the Araneta Coliseum.