Tigers, Valientes clash in MPBL opener today
John Bryan Ulanday (The Philippine Star) - June 12, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Last season’s runner-up Davao Occidental begins its redemption tour when it clashes with Zamboanga in a battle of South Division teams highlighting the inaugurals of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) Season 3 today at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Tip-off is at 8 p.m. with the Cocolife-backed Tigers seeking a good start on their revenge season with a core featuring ex-PBA players Bonbon Custodio, Leo Najorda and Mark Yee.

In the curtain raiser at 6 p.m., expansion team Bicol will be tested by Basilan which retooled its roster this season in a bid to go deep in the playoffs following an early exit in the Datu Cup. 

Out to provide support to the Custodio-Najorda-Yee triumvirate are key additions Marco Balagtas, Richard Albo, Chester Saldua and Yvan Ludovice in Davao’s mission to improve on its bridesmaid finish last season.

The Tigers suffered a stinging 86-87 Game 5 loss to eventual champion San Juan Knights last season, making them an even hungrier team in the new tourney where their first test is Zamboanga.

The Family Sardines-supported Zamboanga Valientes have Harold Arboleda and Reed Juntilla to banner the squad.

Much attention, however, could well be on Bicol which is making its MPBL debut as one of the six expansion teams in this 31-team regional amateur league.

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