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Marikina starts title-defense against Manila in MBT caging

Games today
(Makati Coliseum)
11:00 am Makati vs. Paranaque
12:30 pm Manila vs. Marikina
2:00 p.m. QC vs. San Juan

Marikina starts its bid for back-to-back titles against Manila while Makati will have vengeance in its eyes when it battles 16-and-under runner-up Paranaque at the start Metropolitan Basketball Tournament (MBT) seniors division today at the Makati Coliseum.

The Shoelanders and the All-Stars tangle in the 12:30 pm second game while the Green Berets and the Skyscrapers mix it up in the 11:00 a.m. opener following the short 9 a.m. opening ceremony where MMDA chairman Danilo Lim and previous chairman Tim Orbos, under whose term the Metro Manila Sports Fest began, and PBA Commissioner Chito Narvasa have been invited.

Quezon City and San Juan play against each other in the 2 p.m. third game.

“Dahil nagchampion kami sa 16-and-under, parang may target na na nasa mga likod namin. But we’ll be ready,” said Marikina head coach Elvis Tolentino whose team will be up against a Manila team which will be handled this time around by PBA legend Philip Cezar.

Makati hopes to have learned from its lessons in the 16-and-under tournament where it swept its first seven games only to fall by the wayside, losing to Marikina in the semis and Manila in the battle for third place, for a disappointing finish at No. 4.

“Naging overconfident kami last tournament. Siguro dahil na din sa seven straight wins namin tapos nagkaroon pa noon ng barangay games. Akala namin kakayanin namin pareho. Hopefully this time we can concentrate more on this seniors division para makabawi,” said Makati head coach Benedict Gawat.

A total of 14 teams are participating in the two-month long Philippine Basketball Association (PBA)-backed tourney which has “Mobile App ng Bayan” Barangay 143 as co-presentor, Synergy 88 as main sponsor, Spalding as official ball and DZRH as radio partner.

Each team has 15 players on its roster to be composed of two players between 23-24 years old, two players between 21-22 years old and the remaining 11 players from the 16 to 20 years age range for the tournament which also has San Miguel Corporation, World Balance and Higer Bus as major sponsors.

This seniors tournament, which is also supported by Excellent Noodles, Nature’s Spring Water, 1-Pacman Partylist, Hopewell Sales Corp., Gatorade, Star Bread, Frabelle Foods, Regan Industrial Sales, Inc., Glitter.ph, Alcoplus, Primadonna and Archie’s Bespoke Bar + Grill, has Marikina, Valenzuela, San Juan, Quezon City, Navotas and Caloocan bracketed in the North Division while Paranaque, Makati, Mandaluyong, Taguig, Pateros and a team from host MMDA comprise the South Division.

Format calls for a single round-robin affair per division thus a total of six games per team in the classification phase. The top ranked team in both divisions will advance to the semifinals outright and will also have twice-to-beat advantage against its opponent.

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