Zamboanga Valientes joining ABL, eye Mercado, UP star

Zamboanga Valientes joining ABL, eye Mercado, UP star

After their successful stint in various 3X3 competitions abroad, the Zamboanga Valientes will be testing the Southeast Asian waters when they compete in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) Invitational Tournament Series 2023 starting Jan. 2.

Team owner Rolando Junnie Navarro confirmed the team’s participation over the weekend, saying the Zamboanga Valientes are forming a formidable squad to represent the country in the regional tournament.

The league took a break for almost three years due to Covid pandemic.

 “Zamboanga Valientes are now getting ready to play in the ABL and we will give our best to win the crown,” said Navarro, noting that they are still in the process of getting a head coach.

The Valientes, according to Navarro, will have five homegrown players and three imports to play for them and they are eyeing to sign up University of the Philippines 6-foot-7 Zav Lucero, former Barangay Ginebra star Sol Mercado and one big man.

Also playing for Zamboanga Valientes, which is owned by the Navarro family – CEO Cory Navarro and Mike Venezuela of MLV Accounting – are homegrown talents Rudy Lingganay, Jeff Bernardo and the 5-foot-5 Denver Cadiz.

Niño Reji Natividad is Basketball Operations head, Anton Altamirano will be the team manager, Joseph Romarate as executive director, and coaching staff will be Bobedick Delos Santos and RJ Argamino.

The Valientes shot to fame after ruling the Champions League Basketball 3X3 Australia I and finished second in Thailand 3×3 Super League.

Zamboanga is home to several stars, including Olympic gold winner Hidilyn Diaz and silver medal winners Eumir Marcial.

Other basketball players who came from Zamboanga are Mark Barroca, Mike Tolomia and RR Garcia.

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