The Iligan City Archangels will be taking a different path when they compete in the Mindanao leg of the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup later this month.
While most teams are stocking up on well-known players, either from the PBA, the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League, or the NCAA, Iligan City will be parading a squad composed mainly of homegrown players. In fact, 12 of the 13 players so far are from the “City of Waterfalls.”
According to Iligan team manager Amador Baller, Mayor Celso Regencia made sure to have an all-homegrown squad so that the province's youth would be able to connect with the team.
"Iligan is very active in sports. It's part of our campaigns here that will encourage the youth to get into sports and not into drugs," said Baller, who is also the sports coordinator for the province.
"We also have programs for the grassroots. It's the point of mayor to help them not be involved in bad vices."
Three of these players are products of the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (CESAFI). These are Magic Marata who was a Cesafi All-Star while playing for the University of San Carlos Warriors, ex-University of Cebu point guard Kyle Ordeniza and Edcor Marata, who used to play for the University of the Visayas Baby Lancers.
Also on the squad is 6-foot-2 swingman Jericho Montecalvo, who at just 20 years old will be the youngest player in the competition. Back in 2019, Montecalvo powered Southern Philippines College of Cagayan de Oro to the Sweet 16 of the Chooks-to-Go NBTC National Finals. He later transferred to the University of the East afterward, posting averages of 8.92 points, 5.77 rebounds, and 1.23 assists during the UAAP Season 82 High School Boys' Basketball tournament.
With him obtaining a special guest license (SGL) from the Games and Amusements Board, he will no longer be eligible to play in the UAAP.
Also getting SGLs were Ordeniza, La Salle Academy's Algeroh Benitez, and Pasig-Sta. Lucia's Lester Tamayo.
Tamayo applied for an SGL so that he can still keep his amateur status when he returns to the Realtors for the 2021 Chooks-to-Go MPBL Mumbaki Cup.
GAB allows teams to have amateur players with SGLs for as long as it will not be more than 33-percent (1/3) of the total number of players in the team. Moreover, all amateur players with SGL in a professional team shall not be allowed to play simultaneously in the court.
Completing the squad which has La Salle Academy head coach Dane Lariosa as chief mentor are John Rabe, Roldan Piñas, Kenneth Ardiente, Dave Tagolimot, Philip Reyes, Harold Suarez and Johari Andor.
"We expect them to perform well in the upcoming tournament," said Baller.
"Some of our players played in the MPBL while others are varsity players in known universities. Almost the entire team are from Iligan. We got them so that the kids will look up to them." (JNP)