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St. Benilde, San Beda headline PH contingent in AsiaBasket tourney

Southeast Asian basketball enthusiasts are in for a treat this Easter as the Sportsclick AsiaBasket International Championship tips off at the Malaysia Basketball Association (MABA) Stadium in Kuala Lumpur.

From April 9-18, 2023, 10 clubs, including two collegiate teams from the NCAA, will compete in this highly anticipated summer international tournament organized by Filbasket, led by President Jai Reyes, Dino Lee, and Patrick Edrozo.

Fans can expect a thrilling display of basketball skills and talent as the teams go head-to-head.

Among the participating teams are the Red Lions, coached by Yuri Escueta, who will rely on seniors Peter Alfaro, Damie Cuntapay, JV Gallego, and Clifford Jopia, and the Blazers, mentored by Charles Tiu, with Robi Nayve, Migs Oczon, Miggy Corteza, and Macoy Marcos leading the charge. The Blazers also welcome prized prospect Allen Liwag, who will make his debut after transferring from Emilio Aguinaldo College.

Fans should keep an eye out for the Shawarma Shack Pilipinas team, which will bring in 3×3 stars Ken Bono and Mike Nzeusseu, along with veterans James Martinez, Nikki Monteclaro, and RJ Deles.

Another team to watch out for is Th3rd Floor-KalosPH Cooly, with Gerald Anderson leading the way as an actor and former reality show star. The team has also signed up 6-foot-9 beanpole Ladis Lepalam for the AsiaBasket event.

Sanzar Pharmaceuticals has brought in Shaq Alanes, Jeremiah Taladua, and 6-foot-10 Cameroonian center Hamadou Laminou to lead its AsiaBasket team, along with Filipino-American guard Jameel McGill, listed as the team’s ASEAN heritage import.

MFT Fruitmasters, on the other hand, has former San Beda star Francis Abarcar, grizzled veterans Migs Castellano, Edzel Mag-isa, and Marlon Monte, and 6-foot-9 center San Ma Kong from Hong Kong with them. The team also made the most of the rule allowing two world imports by signing former Philippine Basketball Association imports Liam McMorrow and AZ Reid.

#ReadMore  Deguara overcomes early struggle as Alab Pilipinas outlast Singapore in OT

The BGC Builders, led by former ASEAN Basketball League stars JR Cawaling, Patrick Cabahug, and Gino Jumao-As, have also joined the fray, bringing in Canadian Kareem Huntley and Sierra Leonean Tosh Sesay as world imports.

Three clubs from Malaysia’s capital have also been called up to defend their home court, headlined by the Malaysian national team led by Ting Chun Hong.

Harimau Malaysia will be using the AsiaBasket event as part of its preparations for the Southeast Asian Games in Phnom Penh, Cambodia next month.

MBC Kirin will be parading Thai player Wutipong Dasom and American import William Vedder Freeman, while KL Aseel is bringing in Letran’s Louie Sangalang and American player Jalen Robinson.

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