The Zamboanga Valientes have formed a formidable crew as it wages war against some of the bests in the region in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) Invitational 2023 which is set to fire off in Jan. 2 at the OCBC Arena in Singapore.
Bannering the Philippine representatives are former San Beda star James Kwekuteye along with former Gilas Pilipinas standout Kemark Carino and former Terrafirma Dyip import Antonio Hester.
Also in the crew are ex-PBA pros JR Cawaling and Rudy Lingganay and controversial JRU forward John Amores who after an unceremonious exit from the collegiate ranks will have another shot at proving his worth with the Valientes in the ABL.
“Amores will be part of our team in the ABL in Singapore leg. This is a chance for redemption and we are hoping Amores will give his best,” Zamboanga team owner Junnie Navarro said.
“At the same time, this is a good opportunity for every Zamboanga player to excel,” he added.
Looking to take their share of the spotlight are the Valientes very own homegrown talent led by former UE guard Gino Jumao-as, Jeff Bernardo, Das Esa, Jojo Belorio and 5-foot-fpur catquick guard Denver Cadiz from Zamboanga City.
Backing up Hester, on other hand, are fellow imports Will Deng and Ryan Smith.
The team is set to fly to Singapore on Sunday, Jan. 1 for the opening ceremony the day after before formally opening the tournament against Louvre Indonesia on Jan. 3 – making Zamboanga as the very first city to represent the country in the ABL.
Founded in 2006 by late Lando Navarro and currently owned by his wife, Cory, the Valientes look to continue their winning tradition in the ABL, having won numerous titles in local and international tournaments both on the 5v5 and 3×3 play.
They started in the NBC Preseason, MVBA Christmas Cup and Liga Pilipinas in 2008 and won NBA Philippines 3×3 in 2011, NBL Christmas HUSTLE in Canberra Australia and Champions League Basketball 3×3 Australia.