Star-studded Hapee sets D-League norm
AS HAPEE marks its return to amateur basketball, it made sure to assemble a star-studded cast not just on the hardcourt but also at the sidelines.
Hapee has taken over the franchise of six-time champion NLEX in the PBA D-League. And the Fresh Fighters may just match the dominance of the Road Warriors when the tournament unfolds on Oct. 27.
PBA legends will call the shots for the Fresh Fighters with Ronnie Magsanoc as head coach and Benjie Paras as his assistant. They will be assisted by former University of the Philippines stalwart Xavi Nunag.
And after scoring a recruitment coup, the Fresh Fighters are instant favorites with two-time UAAP MVP Ray Parks, UAAP Mythical Team member Chris Newsome of Ateneo, La Salle’s standout center Arnold Van Opstal, NCAA MVP leader Earl Thompson of Perpetual Help, former D-League MVP Garvo Lanete and the core of NCAA champion San Beda led by Ola Adeogun and Baser Amer.
But Dr. Cecilio Pedro, the president and CEO of Lamoiyan Corp., the maker of Hapee, said the company’s return after a five-year hiatus won’t be all about winning.
“I think [basketball] still needs a lot of support in order for the country to be at par with leading countries,” said Pedro.
Hapee’s powerhouse squads in the defunct Philippine Basketball League included players like Gabe Norwood, Jayson Castro, LA Tenorio and Larry Fonacier. Jasmine W. Payo