THE Visayas division of the country’s very first professional basketball league in the south—the Pilipinas VisMin Super League—will get a lot tougher with the entry of four new squads in the Bohol Mariners, the Siquijor Mystics and teams from Dumaguete and Tabogon.
The Tubigan-Bohol Mariners will be bannered by former Asean Basketball League (ABL) MVP Leo Avenido. Avenido has carved out an impressive international career, most notably in the ABL where he was named MVP during the 2012 season when he played for the San Miguel Beermen. He also had stints with the Brunei Barracudas, the Singapore Slingers and the Saigon Heat.
His incredible achievements in the ABL led the league to bestow him with a Lifetime Achievement Award. He also played in the PBA where he was the 10th pick in the 2002 PBA Draft, playing for Alaska and the then-named Kia.
He’ll be joined by Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) players James Mangahas who has played for Caloocan, Makati and Biñan, and Pari Llagas, who recently played for Sarangani.
The Mystics meanwhile, will be parading a team led by former Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles star Ryan Buenafe. The 6-foot-2 forward was the eighth pick by the Alaska Aces in the 2013 PBA Draft. He also played for the Meralco Bolts and has recently played for the Laguna Heroes and the Zamboanga Valientes in the MPBL.
Tabogon will have former NLEX forward Harold Arboleda who will be joined by bruiser Arvie Bringas and speedy guard Ryusei Koga, who shone for NCAA powerhouse San Beda in the NCAA before moving on to play for Batangas in the MPBL.
Dumaguete, on the other hand, will be bannered by guard Nikki Monteclaro, who used to play for the Pasig Pirates and the Parañaque Patriots in the MPBL.
The league’s secretary-general Chelito Caro said that they are still waiting for one more team—possibly from Iloilo—to join the league.
The three squads will be joining the MJAS Zenith-Talisay City Aquastars, the ARQ Builders-Lapu-Lapu City Heroes, and the KCS Computer Specialists-Mandaue City in the Visayas division of the country’s first professional basketball league in the south. (JNP)