MANILA, Philippines?As the only marquee player left in Hapee Toothpaste, Jervy Cruz expects a tougher campaign in the 2009 PBL PG Flex Linoleum Cup.
Yet new coach Gee Abanilla prefers a balanced charge amid expectations that the former UAAP Most Valuable Player will largely carry the load.
?I want everybody to deliver not only Jervy,? said Abanilla. ?So for us to perform well, we have to be fast and quick. Spacing is also important, so that each player will have a chance to score.?
The Complete Protectors are reeling from the departure of Filipino-Amercian sensation Gabe Norwood and three other key players to the Philippine Basketball Association.
?It?s a tough task but we?ll be ready each game,? said team manager Bernard Yang, whose squad also lost Mark Borboran, Larry Rodriguez and Reed Juntilla. ?We have a tradition to live.?
Since bagging the championship in the 2003-2004 season, Hapee has secured a Finals berth in three of the last four conferences.
The league fires off on Nov. 8 at the Ynares Sports Center in Pasig City.
Pharex and Harbour Centre square off at 2 p.m. while Nutri-C-Ateneo faces Sunkist-La Salle
?I?m happy with the way the players accepted my system,? said Abanilla.
Abanilla hopes the experience of Anthony Espiritu, Dino Daa, Roel Hugnatan, Alfie Grijaldo, Earn Saguindel and Jim Viray will keep the team steady, while rookies Lance Covento, Joshua Vanlandingham, Ely Olarte, Jeff Morial and Dave Najorda will provide added spunk.