Ballout toughens up MPBL squads

Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League squads are using the upcoming season of Ballout Hoops as their launching pad for their respective campaigns.

Marikina, University of Makati and Rizal have all confirmed their participations in the Ballout Hoops Season 2 set to unwrap at the Marikina Sports Complex on 21 January.

The Shoemasters will be a force to be reckoned with as they will enjoy a homecourt advantage while University of Makati made a deep run in the Final Four in the inaugural staging and is poised to go all out as it parades an intact squad.

The core of the Herons used to represent the Makati squad in the MPBL with explosive guard Kenz Diokno, Christian Jake Agoncillo, Janlourd Nepomuceno and Enzo Montecastro at the attack zone.

With several MPBL teams taking part now in Ballout, University of Makati coach Vic Valencia expects a stiffer competition.

“They’re using it as their preseason, so our young guys will definitely have our hands full,” Valencia said.

“On our part, we don’t have a regular tournament. We’ve been on a leave of absence from the National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities and we need to find our own pocket tournaments, so we’re happy that Ballout is giving us this opportunity.”

Rizal, which will be handled by second generation coach Jonathan Banal, is also gearing up for the MPBL and sees Ballout as a fitting platform to prepare his squad.

Banal is the son of multi-titled collegiate coach and former Philippine Basketball Association assistant mentor Koy Banal.

Former national youth standout Jonas Tibayan will shore up the front court of the Golden Coolers as he will be among the new additions in the team and join forces with Jordan Rios.

Aside from Marikina, University of Makati and Rizal Xentro Mall, other teams competing are the KalosPh squad, Antipolo City, Philippine Navy-Go-For-Gold, M7-RPBY East Dental Clinic, Game Changer Novaliches, AMA Online Education and Pampanga Royce.

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