With the team’s core gone due to various reasons, Bacolod-Masters Sardines head coach Vic Ycasiano found diamonds in the rough to boost the team’s chances in the fourth season of the Chooks-to-Go Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL).
Gone from the team are Edgar Charcos, Ben Adamos, Yankee Haruna, and Ralph Tansingco, which paved the way for the signing of JK Casiño, Cyrus Tabi, Jeff Comia, and Jason Strait.
Ycasiano looks to pair up Tabi — the 18th overall pick in the 2018 PBA Draft — with Bacolod star Mac Tallo to form a formidable backcourt duo. The two will spearhead the Masters Sardines-backed squad’s second campaign in the Chooks-to-Go-sponsored league.
The former National University assistant coach has high hopes for Tabi. He believes that he can be one of the best guards in the league once he gets a grip of his untapped potential.
“I know Cyrus Tabi since college, nakikita ko na siya before. Magaling ‘yung bata, kaya niyang magdala ng team. With him there and Mac Tallo leading the team, our team will go places,” Ycasiano about the 5-foot-8 guard out of Rizal Technological University.
“I know he didn’t get much chance in the PBA, but I know he’s there already. He could really fit my system and be one of the best guards here in the MPBL.”
On the other hand, the 5-foot-10 Casiño — who started his stint in the pros with Rain or Shine before moving to TNT — will be a big boost in Bacolod’s guard rotation.
But the biggest revelation for him is New Era University stalwart Comia, who showed flashes of his brilliance during their practices prior to the implementation of enhanced community quarantine in Luzon.
“Ang maganda talaga ang pinakita para sa akin is si Comia, talagang future ng basketball. Maganda ‘yung ipinakita niya… Talagang grabe, hindi ko alam kung bakit hindi naglalaro ‘yung bata, pero sobrang galing pala nung batang ‘yon,” he said about the 6-foot Comia.
Bacolod also added former General Santos-Burlington marksman Jeramer Cabanag and Mindoro-JAC Liner big man Sandy Cenal in its arsenal, while retaining the likes of Simon Camacho and Jeff Javillonar.
The team, however, is still re-negotiating terms with homegrown star Pao Javelona.
“This team’s all about defense — our offense will be our defense. This will be a run-and-gun team just like my team in STI, it’s basically the same. ‘Yun ang itatakbo ko, it’s a young team that would excite MPBL fans,” said Ycasiano of his revamped roster.
“We’ll be there next season, definitely, this will be a team to be reckoned with. This will be a totally different Bacolod team. That’s the main thing. We’re eyeing for the playoffs next season. From there, we’ll see. But definitely that’s what we’re eyeing, to make it to the playoffs.”
Bacolod finished with an 11-19 record during the Chooks-to-Go Lakan Season, 11th in the Southern Division.
Story by Jonash Dannug