By Adrian Stewart Co
Negrense Robby Celiz will be among the new additions for Cocolife-Davao Occidental Tigers ahead of their title defense in the 2021 Chooks-to-Go Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Mumbaki Cup.
Tigers head coach Donald Dulay confirmed the acquisition of the Cadiz City, Negros Occidental-native forward as the team went on a massive roster overhaul this offseason.
Davao Occidental will be the former National University Bulldogs player’s third squad in the MPBL after previously suiting up for the Bataan Risers and General Santos Warriors.
Celiz also had wide experience as a cager having played before in the PBA for TNT Tropang Giga, Blackwater Elite and NorthPort Batang Pier as well as with Alab Pilipinas in the ASEAN Basketball League, where he won a championship in 2017.
Celiz will become the third Western Visayas-based player in the Davao Occidental’s roster aside from Sagay City, Negros Occidental-native Mark Yee and Ilonggo guard Billy Ray Robles.
Aside from Celiz, the Tigers also came to terms with former San Miguel Beermen guard Keith Agovida and Jose Mari Presbitero, who was left unsigned by the NLEX Road Warriors.
Completing Davao Occidental’s free agent acquisitions were former Bacolod Master Sardines player Chris Lalata, Alwin Alday, Irvin Palencia, Chris Dumapig, Gabriel Dagangon, and Dariel Bayla.
The nine new acquisitions took over the spots of Jerwin Gaco, Richard Albo, Yvan Ludovice, Kenneth Mocon, Harry Dumagan, Angelus Raymundo, Jeck Desabille, Mario Bonleon, and Don Adormeo, who were all not offered contract extensions.
“It was a hard decision. We talked about it with management but we needed to change our homegrowns and also get younger,” said Dulay. “We are competing for a back-to-back so we needed to be quicker on the defensive end and help us on the offensive end.”/ASC, WDJ