PBL NAMES SEA GAMES TEAM MEMBERS
Manila, March 15, 2001 - Eighteen players were named by the PBL yesterday to compose the pool from whom the members of the national team that will see action in the 4th Southeast Asian Basketball Association men's championship scheduled April 2-9 in Manila will be picked.
The PBL selection takes over from the national team composed mostly of MBA standouts that was disbanded by BAP president Freddie Jalasco after it swore allegiance to the breakaway group of Tiny Literal last Monday.
"This will entail a lot of sacrifice for the league but we will do everything for the flag. I also thank the players for responding to the call to serve the country," said PBL commissioner Chino Trinidad.
Trinidad presented the team members and coaching staff in an impromptu press briefing at the RFM gym where the players had their first workout yesterday.
Also present to lend their support were Jalasco, PBA commissioner Jun Bernardino, BAP secretary-general Ricky Palou and Moying Martelino, former ABC secretary-general, who is the organizing committee chairman of the SEABA cagefest.
Named to the pool were Yancy de Ocampo, Jojo Manalo, Eugene Tan and Ren-Ren Ritualo of Welcoat; Shark's Chester Tolomia, Gilbert Malabanan, Rysal Castro, Michael Robinson and Warren Ybanez; Edwin Bacani, Eric dela Cuesta, Egay Billiones and Marlon Legaspi of Giv's Beauty Shop; Montana's Gilbert Lao and Jacques Gottenbos and Ateneo's Enrico Villanueva, Rainier Sison and Rich Alvarez.
Welcoat mentor Junel Baculi was appointed head coach while Shark's Leo Austria and Montana's Leo Isaac were tapped as assistant coaches.
Baculi, who steered Hapee Toothpaste to the ABC Champions' Cup title in 1996, said he is confident the Philippines would retain the title despite the short preparation.
"I believe we have a talented line-up. They are athletic and very qualified," said Baculi. "We aim to have a 'run-and-gun' team because of the zone defense."
He added the final roster will be known days before the tournament.
Trinidad said the PBL will adjust its schedule to free the players for the SEABA tourney.
"The five PBL teams that have players on the RP squad will have no games during the SEABA championship," said Trinidad.
"This is the biggest break yet for PBL players to serve the country in an international competition. We will try not to let our countrymen down," Trinidad added. (Bong Castro)
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