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Hobe five opens door to ex-pros

MANILA, Philippines — There’s hope for PBA players who bounced in and out of the PBA.

For players like Ronjay Buenafe, Sunday Salvacion, Chito Jaime, Bonbon Custodio, Mac Andaya and Al Vergara, Hobe Macway, one of the teams competing in the Marikina City Basketball League, is a sanctuary for ex-pros looking for a right opportunity to prove their worth that they can still be an asset.  

Team owner Bobby Co wants to give these ex-pros a home where they could shine and perform.

One of the players vying for a spot with the NLEX Road Warriors in the PBA, Buenafe is using the MCBL as a way to sharpen up.

“Right now, the important thing is makundisyon ako. Wala pang desisyon kung makakalaro ako sa NLEX sa PBA, pero kailangan nasa kundisyo ako para ready ako kung tatawagin ako ng NLEX,” said Buenafe, who won a championship while playing for Yeng Guiao with the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.

For Buenafe, playing in the MCBL is a good way to keep himself on top of his game as he’s facing ex-PBA players, top amateur players and collegiate standouts, including imports.

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“The quality of competition is high. This is one way of keeping me sharp and on top of my game. We have the top amateur players competing, we also have imports here,” he added. “This is a good league because you’re going to learn a lot.”

Jaime is another old player of Guiao and after his last stint with Kia, he found himself as a free agent again.

“Sana mabigyan pa ng tsansa. Iba pa rin ang buhay sa PBA,” added Jaime.

For Salvacion, Vergara and Andaya, playing for Hobe Macway in the MCBL is not only a sanctuary for ex-PBA players. It also provides the most important thing – food for the family.

“Kailangan nating maghanapbuhay eh,” said Salvacion, who last played for Mighty Sports, which won the championship in the William Jones Cup last year. He made his return to the PBA with GlobalPort, but was cut short by an injury.

Vergara, a point guard who played briefly in the PBA before strutting his wares with the Singapore Slingers in the NBL in Australia, is thankful that he’s still being given a chance to play.

“I’m thankful to be given an opportunity playing for Hobe Macway in the MCBL. If you’ll look closely, the MCBL is like the ABL as you have imports playing at the same time,” added Vergara.


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