At 11-8, of all the expansion teams this season, the Iloilo Royals have done well by putting together a roster culled from various clubs. 
Iloilo Royals look to continue win streak vs Pasig in MPBL
Rick Olivares (Philstar.com) - November 13, 2019 - 10:41am

MANILA, Philippines – When the Iloilo United Royals take on the Bacolod Master’s Sardines on Monday, November 18, in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Lakan Season, the team hopes that once and for all, they can put on a win streak that will catapult them from 17th spot in the 31-team league and upward where the difference lies in a won match or two.

At 11-8, of all the expansion teams this season, they have done well by putting together a roster culled from various clubs. 

Despite losing leading scorer Samboy de Leon to Talk ‘n Text in the PBA, the team has kept on moving forward. They are led by Richard Escoto (14.4 points and 7.6 rebounds) and Alfrancis Tamsi (10.1 points and 3.2 rebounds) with support from another former CEU player in Aaron Jeruta, Donald Gumaru, Rey Publico, Ryan Arambulo, JR Parker and Jay Javelosa, who has given the Royals a rim protector and is one of the MPBL’s best shotblockers (he has a total of 26 swats in 19 matches so far).

With a highly experienced coaching staff led by head tactician Eric Gonzales along with team consultant Nash Racela, assistants Ed de la Torre, and Allan and Jonathan Albano (along with managers BJ Manalo and Fran Javelosa and sponsors XYZ Balikbayan Boxes, Iron Claw, More Power, Rgies and Butterscotch), they have surpassed expectations while staying to the league rules in terms of salaries and operations.

“We still have a lot of things to improve on given the very short notice we had when putting up the team,” said Gonzales. “So far the journey of this team, we are grateful that Samboy de Leon was signed by TNT through the help of the Iloilo team. Grabe yung angat ng laro niya. Of course, nag-struggle kami to replace him, but pakonti-konti pinupunuan ng bawat isa sa team. That is what makes this relationship amongst ourselves special. It is about trust, responsibility, and accountability.”

The United Royals’ matches have been exciting so to speak. They average 74.9 points and surrender 73.5. They are a team that wins by the skin of their teeth. The majority of their matches go down the wire and are decided either in the very last play or in the final minute. 

Up against them this Monday at the Makati Coliseum is Pasig-Sta. Lucia that totes a 13-7 slate. Both Pasig and Iloilo are on a two-match win streak and something will have to give after their 6:45 p.m. clash.

Unfortunately for the Royals, they will be without Jay Javelosa who fractured his hand in their last game — an 89-81 win over Bacolod Master’s Sardines — and will be out for six to eight weeks. Left to man that middle slot is public and Eric Rodriguez.

Javelosa, a former Ateneo Blue Eagle, believes that the Royals can make a serious run at the title despite their lack of a tall frontline and the injury to himself. “Honestly, we can go all the way if our team trusts the system and is on the same page every game. We beat some top teams and stayed close in other games to the top squads. We just had some lapses in between, but we can go all the way.”

Summed up Gonzales, “We prepare for Pasig like every other game. We respect them and will have to device plans to counter their strengths and tendencies.”

BASKETBALL MPBL
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