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Tiebreaker Times
Quezon Gov. Helen Tan presents the members of the Quezon Huskers who will see action in the fifth season of the MPBL starting this Saturday at rhe Quezon Convention Center.


Quezon Huskers aim for playoffs in maiden MPBL campaign

Making it to the playoffs will be the main goal when the Quezon Huskers make their debut in the fifth season of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League starting this Saturday at the Quezon Convention Center in Lucena City.

Huskers coach Eric Gonzales said they are determined to make it all the way to the post-season despite having a very limited preparation.

In fact, the Huskers were assembled only last month with team manager Atty. Donn Rico Kapunan, assistant team manager Magnum Membrere, and consultant Patrick Gregorio working hard to enlist the best young talent available.

Leading the charge will be reigning National Collegiate Athletic Association Most Valuable Player Will Gozum, who will make his professional debut after securing a Special Guest License from the Games and Amusement Board.

Also in the roster are AJ Madrigal, Brix Ramos, and CJ Catapusan, who won a University Athletic Association of the Philippines title with University of the Philippines in 2021 as well as other collegiate standouts like Allan Beltran from University of the East; Thomas Torres from De La Salle University; Ximone Sandagon, Al Francis Tamsi, Rodel Gravera, and Ken Holmsqvist from Far Eastern University; and RJ Minerva from National University.

The Huskers also enlisted former University of Santo Tomas star Jeric Teng and MPBL veteran Mark Pangilinan to infuse stability, maturity and leadership on the floor while former UP standout Jaggie Gregorio will serve as playing assistant manager.

Still, Gonzales set a modest goal, saying that all they are looking at right now is to advance to the playoffs of the prestigious regional tournament founded by Sen. Manny Pacquiao with Philippine Basketball Association legend Kenneth Duremdes as commissioner.

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“My concern is that the time we spent in forming a solid team was so short,” said Gonzales during the press launch graced by team owners Quezon Rep. Keith Micah Tan and San Andres, Quezon Mayor Ralph Edward Lim as well as Quezon Governor Helen Tan on Wednesday.

“But I’m hoping and praying to make it to the playoffs.”

Tan said she hopes that their participation in the MPBL will help Quezon Province get recognized not just in sports but in other aspects like tourism, commerce and infrastructure as well.

“This is the first time for us to participate in a national league like the MPBL. We’re very thankful to be given the opportunity and we hope that we will make the Quezonians proud,” she said.

“We hope that our participation in the MPBL will give us a chance to be known and recognized, not just in sports through basketball, but also in other aspects beyond competition as well.”

Rounding up the roster of the team – sponsored by JAC Liner, Inc. and Queen Margarette Hotel with Tubong Quezon as the official outfitter – are homegrown players Paeng Salonga and Topeng Lagrama from Lucena City, Bryant Placino from Lucban, Quezon and Arjay Paul Dongog from Atimonan, Quezon.

Lucena City Mayor Mark Alcala, who played high school ball at De La Salle Zobel before cracking the Team B of the Green Archers, was also tapped and declared readiness to bang bodies with the big boys of the league.

“As for my players, I believe in their ability,” Gonzales said.

“I can see that they are serious and very determined to make an impact and represent Quezon Province.”

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