PAGADIAN, ZAMBOANGA DEL SUR — Jumbo Plastic-Basilan revamped their roster before the start of the 2021 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup.
Only having nine leftovers from their previous squad that played in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League, the top brass of the Peace Riders signed highly-talented cagers.
To name a few, Basilan inked bruisers JR Taganas, Michael Mabulac, and Stephen Siruma; as well as capable scorers in Chris Bitoon, Jong Baloria, and Michael Juico.
With a deep lineup, all the way to the last man, Peace Riders head coach Jerson Cabiltes they will have an advantage.
“Sa very short league na ganito na isang buwan lang, advantage ito,” said Cabiltes.
“If you’re gonna be lucky na makapunta sa Finals, kailangan fresh legs lagi, kailangan deep bench.”
The league’s schedule is pretty compact, to say the least. From July 17, the league will have games daily, all the way to the best-of-five Mindanao finals.
Then the eventual leg champions will only have a one-day rest before facing Visayas titlist KCS Mandaue in the National Finals.
Moreover, the Peace Riders also have two back-to-backs left in their elimination schedule.
That’s why Cabiltes feels happy to have these new players who are already making names for themselves.
In their 82-48 victory over ALZA Alayon last July 7, it was Mabulac who was adjudged as the Manok ng Bayan player of the game. He had a dominant statline of 16 points on 8-of-9 shooting, 11 rebounds, three assists, and two steals.
Last Saturday, it was Bitoon’s time to shine as he led Basilan to an 83-77 verdict over Iligan.
The 5-foot-8 marksman unleashed 23 points on an efficient clip of 9-of-14. He also sank four triples in the match.
“Very happy kami sa new acquisitions namin kasi they easily adapted to the system.”