FERN-C took NCAA Most Valuable Player (MVP) winner John Wilson of Jose Rizal University plus several collegiate stars on the second draft of the PBL PG Flex-UK Derm Open Cup held recently in Robinsons Mandaluyong City.

The team that will be coached by former Ginebra star Bal David also tapped the services of University of the East star Hans Thiele, La Salle center Kish Co, Arellano’s Jerry Miranda, University of Santo Tomas’ Clark Bautista, Letran’s Jaypee Belencion, San Sebastian’s Raymond Maconocido, National University’s Mervin Baloran, Russell Yaya of Emilio Aguinaldo College, and Filipino-American Jeffrey Salazar.

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La Salle’s forward Joshua Webb and Filipino-American Marcio Lassiter was taken by Cobra Energy Drink – one of two teams fielded by Asia Brewery.

The other new teams of the league, which opens on February 13 are Admix, Excelcoil and Agri Nurture Inc. (ANI).

Pascual Laboratories and Asia Brewery will field a second team each in Ascof Lagundi and Cossack Vodka, respectively, following the leave of absence of pioneer member San Miguel Corp., Harbour Centre, Hapee Toothpaste and Toyota Otis.

“It’s going to be a fresh new PBL and we’re glad that our regular members and our new teams showed their full support despite these tough times,” said commissioner Chino Trinidad.

Slots for provincial teams

Meanwhile, PBL Commissioner Chino Trinidad opened the possibility of opening provincial franchises.

“We’re now working the groundwork of opening franchises for the provinces. Coaches Joe Lipa and Eric Altamirano are helping me with that,” Trinidad said over a radio interview.

But Trinidad said his immediate concern is to keep the PBL’s “survival."

With several teams on leave, the league regarded as the breeding ground of future superstars in the professional level, has been struggling lately in terms of participants.

Then Philippine Amateur Basketball League (PABL) had talented teams from the South like Mama’s Love, Lhuillier Jewelry, and later Montana Pawnshop of Davao.

Professional ballers like Jojo Lastimosa, Samboy Lim, Al Solis, Alex Compton, and Gary David started their careers on these provincial teams. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)