27 May 2019
CEBU CITY—With a souped-up roster, the Casino Ethyl Alcohol Cebu Sharks are gunning for a better showing in the upcoming Lakandula Cup of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL).
Head coach Titing Manalili said hopes are high for the team after the Sharks were able to beef up their roster following a series of tryouts.
“We were able to get quality players. Plus, we have ample time to prepare now unlike in the previous season where we hastily assembled the team,” said Manalili in a press conference Monday, May 27, at the conference room of the International Pharmaceuticals Inc. (IPI) Compound here.
For the upcoming Lakandula Cup, which will start on June 12, the Sharks will parade nine new players and 11 old reliables.
One of the most notable additions is former PBA player Eliud Poligrates.
“I will do my best to help the team. The team reached the quarterfinals in the previous conference but our goal for the upcoming Lakandula Cup is to make it all the way to the finals,” said Poligrates.
Aside from Poligrates, other new recruits are Michael Cenita Jr., Antonio Coronel, Christian Paul Pamulaklakin, John Reel Saycon, Nichole John Ubalde, Jan Philip Villaver, Kraniel Villoria and Fletcher Criss Galves.
Leading the holdovers is sharp-shooter Patrick Jan Cabahug, who is eager to share quarter-backing chores with Poligrates.
“Eliud is a huge addition. He gives us more threat and his PBA experience will be a great help for us,” said Cabahug.
Other holdovers are William Mcaloney, Raffy Octubre, Edrian Lao, Gayford Rodriguez, JB Mantilla, Bong Nunez, Joel Lee Yu, RJ Dinolan, Kevin Villafranca and Harold Cortez.
“This is a team that can play not just offense but also defense. We are going to be more versatile,” said Manalili.
The Sharks also added Bryan Ilad, who will serve as the team’s big man coach.
“Last conference, we rely more on our perimeter shooting but this time, we will also have production in the paint. We will complement our outside shooters with our big men,” said Ilad.
The Sharks started slow in the Datu Cup and lost their first four games. The team picked up the pace in the latter part of the tournament and reached the quarterfinal round.
The Sharks, however, got ambushed in the quarters where they were swept by the eventual runner-up finishers Davao Agilas, 0-2.
“The slow start was expected, there was really no chemistry. But for the upcoming tournament, expect a different Cebu Sharks team. The team is stronger and more cohesive,” said assistant team manager Kyle Miguel Wong.
The Sharks actually carried Cebu City in the Datu Cup but in the Lakandula Cup, it will already represent the entire Cebu Province.
“Negotiations are underway for our partnership with the Cebu provincial government. There had been initial talks but a new administration is set to take over so there is going to be fresh negotiations,” said Jerome Calatrava, vice president of the Omega Pro Sports International.
The Sharks are looking to host at least three home games in the upcoming tournament. The home games will be hosted by interested local government units in Cebu.
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