Batangas-Embassy Chill aims high in MPBL


BATANGAS City Embassy Chill is back in action in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) with head coach Cholo Villanueva leaving no room for complacency despite the team reaching the southern division finals last year.

The new season, Villanueva stressed, is a totally different ballgame.

“We start from the ground up. It’s back to zero, the former Green Archer said. “It doesn’t mean that because we were in the division finals last year, we’re guaranteed to be in it again this year.”

Villanueva said he wanted the team to develop keeping its composure down the stretch—especially when they lead by a big margin.

“Knowing how to execute and finish the game strong are things we need to improve on this year,” Villanueva said.

He also wants the team to have a quicker pace and, at the same time, continue with its  defensive identity of limiting bigger opponents.

The team kept its core of Rudy Lingganay, Jeckster Apinan, Cedrick Ablaza, John Rey Villanueva, and King Importante.

“After last year’s performance, we assessed the needs of the team and we added another guard, CJ Isit, who can help with our guard rotation,” team manager Jean Alabanza said. “We also added two versatile forwards Oneal Arum and Raffy Oktubre.”

Team Manager and Tanduay Distillery General Manager Gerry Tee, meanwhile, said that they are fortunate to have the unwavering support of Batangas City Rep. Mario Vittorio “Marvey” Mariño and Mayor Beverley Rose Dimacuha since they started in the league in 2018, when they emerged as champions.

“They share the same passion and commitment to grassroots sports development with Sir Lucio Tan,Jr.,” Tee said.

The late Tan is known for being a patron of sports development, particularly basketball.

Tee said that his former boss would always emphasize the importance of good health through sports and wanted to give talents from the barangay level the chance to make it in the bigger leagues.

“He would also remind us to make sure that discipline, sportsmanship, and camaraderie are in all our undertakings. He values winning and he sees losing as a lesson,” he said. “He used to say that it is only in losing that you can truly value success, whether in basketball or business, and he wanted our players to keep this in mind.”

Marc Ngo, Tanduay Senior Brand Manager and International Business Development Manager, said that through Tanduay Athletics, they “aim to promote sports by supporting and nurturing Filipino athletes to reach their maximum potential.”

“In order to do this, Tanduay Athletics will provide coaches in grassroots programs targeting the young Filipinos who are looking to develop their skills in their respective sports,” Ngo said.

“Tanduay Athletics will also sponsor and organize different sports leagues around the Philippines to provide an avenue for aspiring athletes to show off their skills for potential college and pro careers,” he added.

Ngo said that so far they are focusing more on basketballs—Batangas Embassy Chill, University of the East in the collegiate and high school leagues and Tanduay Jr. Athletics in the Chinese league.

“But we are also exploring supporting other sports as well and we already have some discussions to sponsor a volleyball team,” Ngo said. “In the next few years, we are hoping to have support in most of the sports in the country and globally and at different levels.”

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