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Bombers raring to go

  • Written by A. Andaya
  • Published in Basketball
  • Read: 176

IF long-time cage   experts are to be believed,  Jose  Rizal University will be one of the teams to watch  in the  PBA D-League, 

Although   one  of  four  new teams,  the   Heavy  Bombers are capable  of  pulling  off  major   surprises when  the league  kicks off  on  Jan. 18 at the Ynares Sports Center in Pasig City.

One of  the  main  reasons for the  Heavy Bombers’ high rating  in  their  first appearance in  the  league  is the  fact that  the team is one of  the few school-based  squads  fielding in majority of  its players from the NCAA. 
   
Experts  claimed  that  with  10  JRU  players   and  four  reinforcements  making  up the team,   chemistry will not be a problem  for  former   PBA MVP-turned-coach  Vergel  Meneses.
     
Meneses,one of the PBA’s “25 Greatest Players,  will rely on  old reliables  John Ervin Grospe, high-scoring guard Bernabe Teodoro Jr., Darius Duane Estrella,  Gio Nicolo and 6-8 Cameroonian recruit Abdoulatif Poutouochi.
   
The 6-4 Grospe  is expected to   provide the leadership for the Mandaluyong-based team.
   
“I think  he (Grospe) is now ready,” said Meneses, nicknamed  “Aerial Voyager” during his playing days.
 
“I  will push  him  hard  this year  and   give him a good exposure  in time for  the  next  NCAA  season.”
   
Teodoro, another senior player, emerged  as the Heavy Bombers’ leading scorer last season.
   
Lasquety is a  5-11 defensive  guard  while  Estrella is   a 6-0   former  NCAA junior MVP.
   
The  other Heavy Bombers on the   fold  are Kristian James Astilla,  Mark Justin Dela Virgen and  newcomers   Ivan Agustine Mate, Karl Aaron Bordon and Abdul Wadud Sawat.
   
“We decided to join the tournament to  give our players the much-needed exposure. They will surely  gain  valuable experience  playing againsr more seasoned opponents,” added  Meneses, who will be   assisted by  Vic Escudero, Anthony Sangco, Vic Lazaro and George Ella.
   
“Win or lose,  we will give our best and  hope that our players will learn  in   every game   playing   against battle-tested  opponents.”
   
Reinforcing  the  team   are two  former JRU standouts --  John Paolo Pontejos and John Derico Lopez -- along with   Krenz Carlos and MacLean Sabellina.
   
The 5-9 Pontejos,  who was drafted   by KIA  Mahindra  in the PBA,  once formed  JRU’s 1-2 punch  together  with Bernabe.
   
Lopez,  a  6-4  forward  who  played for several D-League  teams,  will  provide a veteran  presence in the middle.
   
Meneses  also   tapped  former national player  Romulo  “Mulong” Orillosa  as defensive  coach.
   
Meneses expressed  his gra- titude  to Paul  Supan  and   the  JRU  alumni  community,  headed by Cora Rodrigo, for their support.