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 Philippine Patriots aim for back-to-back crown in Asean league

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Magic Man13
Magic Man13

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PostSubject: Philippine Patriots aim for back-to-back crown in Asean league   Philippine Patriots aim for back-to-back crown in Asean league I_icon_minitimeFri Sep 03, 2010 9:17 am

Philippine Patriots aim for back-to-back crown in Asean league Images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQ55U9pw_A2DPQfj3y3UKx0eeCffSjXUBXnCHP0Rt6a0pPYMGQ&t=1&usg=__vAg19_mqPLa_RO2smnn8u8Qf0BQ=

The Philippine Patriots will go all out to retain the crown in the 2010 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Basketball League slated October 2 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Harbour Center President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Mikee Romero and businessman Tonyboy Cojuangco, co-owner of the lone Filipino team in the only Asean professional league, said they will not settle for less but the crown in the second season also participated in by Indonesia’s Muda Britama, Singapore Slingers, Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur Dragons, Thailand Cobras and Brunei Barracudas.

“Definitely, we’re going for back-to-back titles,” chorused Romero and Cojuangco during Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at the Shakeys in UN Ave.

Also joining Romero and Cojuangco in the weekly forum were team manager Eric Arejola, head coach Loiue Alas, assistant coach Glenn Capacio and Air Asia Country Manager Maan Hontiveros.

The Philippine Patriots led by imports Gabe Freeman and Jason Dixon, Nonoy Baclao, Elmer Espiritu, Khazim Mirza and Bal Acuña swept Indonesia in the best-of-five finals of the home-and-away format of the regional league.

“We hope to be able to assemble a squad that will overwhelm the other teams. Last year we were the favorites, and we won. I leave it all to Mikee, Eric and our coaches. I know Mikee hates losing,” said Cojuangco.

But the departure of Baca, Espiritu, Mirza and Acuña, who were picked by the Philippine Basketball Association in its annual rookie draft on Sunday, brought a lot of changes from last year’s line-up, which Arejola said prompted them to hold a try-out to look for possible replacements.

“There will be major changes in the team,” said Arejola, who saw Fil-American and US NCAA [National Collegiate Athletic Association] Division 1 standout Mark Jeffries as strong potential to join veterans Jerwin Gaco and Warren Ibanez in the team.

The reported contract of the 6’6” Freeman and Dixon with the European league, somehow forced them to scout for better imports, who could jibe well with the Filipino talents, according to coach Arejola.

“We’re still looking for imports because I don’t think Freeman and Dixon will be available this time,” said Arejola.

Alas said they still have enough time to prepare for their scheduled opening game against Brunei on October 3 at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig, City.

“We will form a very competitive team. We have more than enough talents here,” Alas stressed.

Former PBA players Alex Crisano is also being eyed for the team to provide more muscles inside the paint if the 6’8” former Barako Bull stalwart is physically and mentally shape.

“Well if he’s willing to sacrifice for the team then he’s welcome,” said Capacio.

Hontiveros also revealed that other Asean countries like Vietnam and Cambodia signified their intention to join the league along with a second team from the Philippines, which was reported to be bankrolled by Smart Communication Chairman Manny Pangilinan.

“The team owners, however, decided to just stick with the six-team roster, but maybe next year there will be expansion,” said Hontiveros.

Frank Calapre, Manila Times
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