With rookie coach and ex-pros, Alab Pilipinas out to prove itself in ABL | Inquirer Sports
Close  

With rookie coach and ex-pros, Alab Pilipinas out to prove itself in ABL

By: - Reporter / @MarkGiongcoINQ
/ 03:52 AM November 15, 2016
Members of Alab Pilipinas during the 2017 ABL Season press conference at Solaire Resort and Casino. Mark Giongco/INQUIRER.net

Members of Alab Pilipinas during the 2017 ABL Season press conference at Solaire Resort and Casino. Mark Giongco/INQUIRER.net

Jeric Fortuna and Jens Knuttel were drafted in the PBA three years ago. Fortuna was selected early in the second round, Knuttel was called four rounds later and nearly went undrafted.

Despite having solid collegiate and amateur careers, Fortuna and Knuttel, who was the third to the last player selected, knew they still had a lot to prove.

ADVERTISEMENT

But it didn’t take long for the two point guards to be left without a PBA team and three years later, their basketball narrative remains the same as they play for Alab Pilipinas in the Asean Basketball League.

“This is an opportunity for everybody. If you can see the players, most of them came from the PBA, but they weren’t given breaks,” said Alab Pilipinas head coach Mac Cuan of his players.

FEATURED STORIES

“They were 10th, 11th men, but it doesn’t mean they’re not talented, they just didn’t get the break, the opportunity they feel they deserved.”

The 24-year-old Fortuna has bounced around from one team to another since being drafted by Barako Bull in 2013. He played for three other teams and last saw action for GlobalPort last season before failing to make the final lineup for the new season.

Knuttel was picked by Barangay Ginebra before getting traded to GlobalPort and Phoenix and barely had any playing time.

Both, however, are determined to show their worth and use their experience in the ABL to get another crack at the PBA.

“I’m just glad to have an opportunity to show my talent,” said Knuttel.

“Everyone in the team has this opportunity and we want to maximize that chance,” Fortuna said. “In the PBA, there are a lot of players and this is our chance to show that we can play. And hopefully, with how we play and our positive attitude can win another championship for the Philippines.”

Other ex-pros part of Alab Pilipinas are Val Acuña, Robby Celiz and Paolo Hubalde, who is the captain of the team.

ADVERTISEMENT

Cuan is confident the group of guys he and the management were able to put a group of guys capable of winning it all as long as they play together and keep on working hard.

The 38-year-old Cuan also said that like his players, he is also looking to make a name for himself as a first time head coach.

“Same with me, I’ve been in coaching for almost four, five years. I’ve been praying, but I wasn’t expecting an opportunity this quick,” said Cuan, whose younger brother Japs is also part of the Alab coaching staff along with Paolo Rivero. “The team is waiting for this opportunity, same with me. We’re all excited and we’re all ready to prove ourselves.”

“It’s gonna be a tall task, but I know my players also, we’re not gonna beat everybody with talent, we’re gonna beat them with execution, ball movement, player movement.”

Get the hottest sports news straight into your inbox

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.
Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: 2017 ABL Season, ABL, Alab Pilipinas, Jens Knuttel, Jeric Fortuna, Mac Cuan, Paolo Hubalde, PBA, Rob Celiz, Val Acuna
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

Subscribe to our sports news

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and
acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.



© Copyright 1997-2021 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.