THIS doesn't look like an excursion for the visiting teams of Liga Pilipinas. This looms like a war.
"Every team vowed to go all out to win this one, the teams committed to play all out," said Bong Go, executive assistant to the Mayor and head of the sports committee of this year's Araw ng Dabaw festivities.
All four squads--Cebu's M. Lhuillier Kwarta Padala, Gen. Santos City's MP Pacman, Laguna's Team Bida and hometeam Montana Pawnshop--bring to town their formidable line-ups and impressive records. These teams dispute the Mayor Rody-Inday Sara 73rd Araw ng Dabaw Invitational basketball tournament which gets going this Sunday at the Almendras Gym.
Although the teams' final line-ups will not be known until Saturday when they check in on the eve of the tournament, it looks like the cast is all square at this point. Montana Pawnshop for sure will enjoy the hometown edge and a big crowd rooting for them, but even that is no assurance that the local franchise has the tactical edge.
Manny Pacquiao's MP Pacman will be hoping to ride the crest of their chief backer’s glory most especially if the Filipino world pound-for-pound champ wins his fight also this Sunday against Joshua Clottey. That should rub intensity to the team whose pride will be put to a severe test.
The Cebuanos, as usual, are expected to flaunt their physical game which has been their trademark. Coach Yayoy Alcoseba’s charges could well enjoy the advantage in experience having been consistently taking part in various tournaments in and out of Cebu.
But focus will be on Team Bida. The Laguna-based franchise may yet fly in with an intriguing line-up formed out of a vast pool of basketball talent in Luzon.
Even then, no team enjoys a distinct advantage over the other and this should make the tournament more exciting. Gamedates will be from March 14 to 17 and will be free to the public courtesy of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Vice Mayor Inday Sara Duterte.
The tournament is organized by the CMO-Sports Development Division and sanctioned by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP)-Region XI. (NJB)