PBA teams eager to showcase newly released Gilas standouts in Governors’ Cup resumption | Inquirer Sports
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Shot in the arm

PBA teams eager to showcase newly released Gilas standouts in Governors’ Cup resumption

/ 04:03 AM February 07, 2022

Matt Nieto  —PHOTO COURTESY OF FIBA

A couple of ball clubs are set to bring more than refreshed outlooks and well-rested bodies when the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) reopens this week.

Blackwater, Rain or Shine, Alaska and NLEX are set to boost their rosters—either immediately or in the near future—when the Governors’ Cup resumes this Friday, thanks to the national federation’s release of young talents.

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The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) released national pool members Rey Suerte, Mike Nieto, Allyn Bulanadi and Matt Nieto, although sources in the PBA have separately told the Inquirer that the five have agreements with their squads that they will be free to join the Philippine team if they are needed.

In the meantime, their mother clubs are excited adding them to their rosters.

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“His experience in Gilas has helped him evolve his game and it will give us an opportunity to showcase him in different ways,” Painters coach Chris Gavina said of versatile 6-foot-2 forward Mike Nieto.

No guarantees

“As anyone else on our team, they understand that minutes aren’t guaranteed, you have to earn it at practice. But knowing Mike and his competitive nature he’ll come into practice knowing he has to outwork the guys who’s been here,” he went on.

Among the lot, Suerte easily draws the most attention, as he joins a Bossing crew looking to arrest a 0-5 slide in the tournament and tab its first win in nearly two years. The franchise has been saddled with 24 straight losses, a notorious league record.

Suerte has been known as a scorer in collegiate leagues in Cebu and Manila and will plug a glaring hole for Blackwater.

“[Rey’s] been with us the whole week,” Blackwater coach Ariel Vanguardia said of his new ward. “He brings new blood to our team. He can shoot and he plays composed.”

The 3-2 (win-loss) Aces have yet to log Bulanadi in their official roster, but player-agent Danny Espiritu told the Inquirer that all that’s left is to make the paperwork official. The crafty scorer should be a welcome addition for the franchise that is looking to get a streak going once the hostilities resume.

“We’re hoping Allyn can join us soon,” said Alaska coach Jeffrey Cariaso.

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Nieto’s twin brother Matt has yet to officially join the 4-1 Road Warriors, but mentor and general manager Yeng Guiao said he is in no rush to reel the former Ateneo playmaker in.

Lost chance

“We have a complete 15-man roster, so that’s why we’re not on a rush to sign up Matt,” Guiao said in an interview in the team’s website. “But if ever he signs up, we’ll make room for him and possibly relegate somebody to the reserve list. We’ll just cross the bridge when we get there.”

Terrafirma lost a chance for a roster upgrade when its national team loan Isaac Go opted to look for opportunities elsewhere.

These youngsters’ arrival not only brings a timely boost for their respective teams, but also to the league that is looking to get back on its feet after being stalled by the pandemic for a month.

The PBA said it intends to crown a champion around the Holy Week break, setting itself up for the new season, which PBA commissioner Willie Marcial hopes to take the lid off right before midyear. INQ

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