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Ariel Vanguardia bares iECO’s plans to venture in ABL

Will there be two Philippine ball clubs in the ASEAN Basketball League?

That might be happening, as coach Ariel Vanguardia revealed that newly-formed team iECO Green Warriors are already thinking of entering the ASEAN Basketball League.

Should they go on, iECO will be representing the country along with incoming third year organization San Miguel Alab Pilipinas, the reigning and defending ABL champions.

“Our iECO team is trying to join the ABL. So hopefully, another Philippine team in the ABL,” said Vanguardia, the head coach of iECO for the Asia League’s Terrific 12 in Macau next week.

“We had a meeting with Jericho (Ilagan, ABL chief executive officer) last Thursday. It was positive naman, we just have to go through the numbers. Hopefully.”

If ever this will materialize, history will repeat itself.

Back in 2011, the country found itself with two flag-bearers in the regional pro league, as the San Miguel Beermen decided to join the tourney along with the AirAsia Philippine Patriots.

Both club teams reached the pinnacle of success in the ABL. The Patriots emerged as the inaugural champions in 2009-10, while the Beermen won the crown in 2013.

Vanguardia himself is no stranger to the league. The tactician, just like the two former Filipino teams, also tasted winning a title when he led Westports Malaysia Dragons to the gold in 2016.

So for Vanguardia, he’s keen on helping the Green Warriors perform well in the six-day basketball spectacle, so that their hopes of making it into the nine-year-old league will come true.

“If we do well here in this tournament, maybe Boss Dio (Dioceldo Sy, iECO and Blackwater Elite owner) will be more willing to finance the team for us to be able to play in the ABL.”

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Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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