MANILA - The Philippine Patriots are aiming to retain their title when the 2010 Asean Basketball League kicks off in October in Malaysia.

Harbour Center president and CEO Dr. Mikee Romero and businessman Tonyboy Cojuangco, co-owners of the lone Filipino team in the Asean professional league, said they will not settle for anything less than the crown in the second season.

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The other teams are Indonesia’s Muda Britama, the Singapore Slingers, Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur Dragons, Thailand Cobras and Brunei Barracudas.

“We’re definitely going for back-to-back titles,” Romero said during the PSA forum.

The Philippine Patriots, led by imports Gabe Freeman and Jason Dixon, Nonoy Baclao, Elmer Espiritu, Khazim Mirza and Bal Acuna, swept Indonesia in the finals of the regional league.

“We hope to be able to assemble a squad that will overwhelm the other teams. Last year, we were the favorites, and we won. I leave it all to Mikee, Eric and our coaches. I know Mikee hates losing,” said Cojuangco.

But the departure of Baclao, Espiritu, Mirza and Acuna—who were picked in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) annual rookie draft—means this year’s lineup will be drastically different.

Arejola said they conducted try-outs to look for possible replacements for the Pinoys and they are also scouting for imports.