Iligan City will showcase its homegrown talents in the 2021 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup’s Mindanao Leg.
12 of the 13 players whom the Archangels are fielding are natives of Iligan.
According to Iligan team manager Amador Baller, Mayor Celso Regencia made sure to have an all-homegrown squad so that the province’s youth can relate with the team.
“Iligan is very active in sports. It’s part of our campaigns here that encourages the youth to get into sports and not into drugs,” said Baller, who is also the sports coordinator for the province.
“We also have programs for the grassroots. It’s the point of Mayor to help them not be involved in bad vices.”
Headlining the team is 6-foot-2 swingman Jericho Montecalvo — who, at just 20 years young, will be the youngest player in the competition.
Back in 2019, Montecalvo powered Southern Philippines College of Cagayan de Oro to the Sweet 16 of the Chooks-to-Go NBTC National Finals. He would then transfer to University of the East afterward, posting averages of 8.92 points, 5.77 rebounds, and 1.23 assists during the UAAP Season 82 High School Boys’ Basketball tournament.
Having obtained a special guest license (SGL) from the Games and Amusements Board, Montecalvo will no longer be eligible to play in the UAAP.
Three other guest players tapped by the Archangels include University of Cebu’s Kyle Ordeniza; La Salle Academy’s Algeroh Benitez; and Pasig-Sta. Lucia’s Lester Tamayo — the only “import” of the team.
Tamayo applied for an SGL so that he can still keep his amateur status when he returns to the Realtors for the 2021 Chooks-to-Go MPBL Mumbaki Cup.
GAB allows teams to have amateur players with SGLs as long as they will not be more than 33-percent (1/3) of the total number of players in the team. Moreover, all amateur players with SGL in a professional team are forbidden from playing simultaneously in the court.
Completing the squad — which has La Salle Iligan head coach Dane Lariosa as chief tactician — are Edcor Marata, John Rabe, Roldan Piñas, Kenneth Ardiente, Dave Tagolimot, Philip Reyes, Harold Suarez, Magic Marata, and Johari Andor.
“We expect them to perform well in the upcoming tournament,” said Baller.
“Some of our players played in the MPBL, while others are varsity players in known universities. Almost the entire team is from Iligan. We got them so that the kids will look up to them.”
Iligan has been training under a full bubble set-up at St. Michael College.