PBA veterans power Pacquiao-backed Aguilas team in ABL
Manny Pacquiao and the Powervit Pilipinas Aguilas are putting together the strongest team possible in the Asean Basketball League.
The Filipino boxing icon will take a reserve role in his PBA ballclub to play for the Aguilas when the 2015 ABL season kicks off Oct. 29, according to Powervit Aguilas team manager Bien Orillo.
Dick Balajadia, owner of Powervit, said two-time PBA MVP Willie Miller, veterans Jondan Salvador, Val Acuna, Leo Najorda and imports Charles Mammie and Jamahr Warren would form the core of the team with Pacquiao.
Fresh from a stint in the Euroleague, the 6-foot-4 Warren played for Panama in the Fiba Americas in 2013 and 2011.
“We’re in the process of elimination right now. From as many as 60 aspirants, we’ve already pruned the list to 20,’’ said Powervit brand manager Roy Lava during Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum at Shakey’s Malate.
The Powervit Aguilas face Thailand in Davao City during the opener and Malaysia on Oct. 31 in Kuala Lumpur before tackling the Saigon Heat on Nov. 4 in General Santos City where Pacquiao is expected to suit up.
Zaldy Realubit, a former PBA star and many-time national team member, will call the shots for the Powervit Aguilas.
“When we conceptualized the plan, we were thinking of somebody who could personify the Powervit brand and no one else can best personify the word `power’ other than Manny Pacquiao,’’ said Balajadia.
Orillo also told the weekly forum backed by Accel, San Miguel Corporation and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation they would complete the 17-man roster before the league’s deadline on Oct. 15.
“We still have a month to prepare. We just want to build a competitive team with a never-say-die attitude,’’ said Orillo.
The Philippine Patriots and the San Miguel Beermen represented the country and won the ABL title in the previous seasons before the Philippines pulled out from the league last year.
“We will represent the country, so we have to form the strongest team possible,” said Balajadia.