By Adrian Stewart Co
Iloilo United Royals is making its Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) return as it competes in the 2021 Chooks-To-Go MPBL Invitational tournament being eyed for December in Metro Manila.
According to United Royals team owner JJ Javelosa, Eric Gonzales will be returning as the head coach of the Iloilo City-based ballclub along with assistant coach Ed Lorenz Dela Torre.
The United Royals will also have four holdovers from its 2019 MPBL roster in Ilonggo forward Michael Jay Javelosa and guard Aaron Jeruta and veterans John Mahari and Donald Gumaru.
“Coach Eric will still call the shots for us while four players who made an impact for the team in 2019 in Aaron, Jay, John, and Donald are returning,” Javelosa told Watchmen Daily Journal yesterday.
“The roster is close to being complete and we are just waiting for them to finish their prior commitment,” he added. “Rest assured that we will be fielding in a very respectable and competitive lineup.”
The United Royals had an impressive run in its debut season in the Lakan Cup as they finished the elimination round with 18-12 win-loss record. They were beaten in the quarterfinals by Basilan Steel.
The United Royals, which is backed by XYZ and More Power, will be one of the three Western Visayas-based basketball teams in the upcoming MPBL Invitational aside from Bacolod Master Sardines and newcomer Negros Muscovados.
Others who are competing in the 10-day MPBL tournament are Davao, Laguna, Caloocan, Sarangani, Bicol, Rizal, Nueva Ecija, Imus, Makati, General Santos, and Marikina.
“We joined this MPBL Invitational for us to assess the team that we will have and make some adjustments if necessary for the 2022 season of the MPBL,” said the Ilonggo owner.
The Chooks-To-Go MPBL Invitational will use a closed-circuit system instead of a bubble type while three areas in Caloocan City, Antipolo City and Santa Rosa, Laguna were being eyed for the venue of the matches./ASC, WDJ