MPBL: Valenzuela taps Esplana as head coach, seeks better showing
ABS-CBN Sports on Jun 01, 2019 04:12 PM
Seasoned coach Gerry Esplana looks to guide Valenzuela to the playoffs.
Bringing in a good mix of veterans and young guns under a seasoned coach, Valenzuela is looking at a better showing at the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) Lakandula Cup.
Valenzuela tapped its city’s sports director ex-PBA player and former Emilio Aguinaldo College mentor Gerry Esplana to call the shot for the squad, which has a new backer in SPVTOP Marketplace, for the third season on the league which will open in June 12.
Team owners Samson Lato and Jess Zurbito are confident that Valenzuela will go all the way and will run smoothly compared to their campaign last year that saw the team make multiple coaching changes in the Datu Cup, replacing Chris Gavina with Eric Samson, who was then replaced by Juven Formacil.
“Asahan nyo na ang team ng Valenzuela ay tatakbo ng maayos kahit maraming mga pagbabago,” said Zurbito on Friday during the team’s press launch.
Lato has high hopes with their squad.
"I think we will make good (strides) this coming season. Pumasok lang kami sa quarterfinals this coming season, we've already overachieved, but we won't be contented with that. We're going big," Lato said.
The coaching changes and playing under different systems took its toll on Valenzuela last year, with the then Classic closing their campaign with a losing 10-15 record to land at 10th place in the North Division.
With Esplana at the helm, team captain Paolo Hubalde sees a great run for Valenzuela this season.
“It's a matter of believing the system for it to work we have to believe. Last season three head coaches so, hopefully, he will stick with us from start to end,” said Hubalde. “Di lang quarterfinals but championship ang goal ko since dati pa.”
Center Mac Andaya returns to his original team after spending some time suiting up for Mandaluyong and Pasig.
Also back for Valenzuela are Ford Ruaya, Hans Thiele, and brothers Chris and Carlo de Chavez, Jerome Ortega, Jaymar Gimpayan, Marlon Kalaw, Carlo Velasco, Joshua Alcober, JR Rosales, Kido Cabrera, Raydman Lacamento and Mel Mabigat.
New faces in the team are Jason Varilla, King Esplana, Rob Ricafort and veteran Erwin Sta. Maria.
Catch the action-packed and passion-fueled games of the MPBL on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant, overseas via TFC.tv.