ABL Season 3 replete with PH standouts
MANILA, Philippines—A fourteen-year PBA veteran leads at least eight Filipino cagers, who will suit up as imports in Season 3 of the Asean Basketball League (ABL).
Nic Belasco—the multi-titled 6-foot-6 forward who last saw action with Sta. Lucia in the pro league—will beef up the Westports Malaysia Dragons along with two Filipino guards.
Former NCAA coach Ariel Vanguardia will also mentor the Dragons, who tapped Chris Pacana, another ex-PBA cager, and former Adamson shooter Patrick Cabahug.
The home-and-away regional league allows teams to tap a maximum of three Asean and two non-Asean reinforcements.
“The key to winning it all is playing disciplined and consistent defense,” Vanguardia said in a recent interview after attending a coaching clinic in the United States.
Jerick Cañada, who helped tow Adamson to the UAAP Final Four this season, will also fuel the Indonesia Warriors along with Harold Sta. Cruz and Ricky Ricafuente.
The Singapore Slingers, who lost guard Al Vergara to the Philippine Patriots, signed up another former PBA guard, Donald Dulay, and ex-Mapua standout Ian Mazo.
The AirAsia Philippine Patriots and the San Miguel Beermen, though, remain as the favored squads when the eight-team tournament unfolds on Jan. 14.
One of three debuting teams this season, San Miguel built a formidable lineup that may just go all the way after scoring a
recruitment coup with 6-foot-10 Cebuano star Junemar Fajardo and Filipino-Italian guard Chris Banchero. The Beermen lived up to their billing by ruling a recent preseason tournament in Bangkok.