MANILA, Philippines -- Iligan City's homegrown talents will have a chance to shine when they play for the Archangels in the 2021 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup's Mindanao Leg.
Twelve of the 13 players in the Archangels' roster are natives of Iligan City.
According to Iligan team manager Amador Baller, Mayor Celso Regencia made sure to have an all-homegrown squad so that the province's youth will be able to relate with the team.
"Iligan is very active in sports. It's part of our campaigns here that will encourage the youth to get into sports and not into drugs," said Baller, who is also the sports coordinator for the province.
"We also have programs for the grassroots. It's the point of the Mayor to help them not be involved in bad vices," he explained.
Headlining the team is 6-foot-2 swingman Jericho Montecalvo, who at just 20 years old will be the youngest player in the competition.
In 2019, Montecalvo powered Southern Philippines College of Cagayan de Oro to the Sweet 16 of the Chooks-to-Go NBTC National Finals. He transferred to University of the East afterward, posting averages of 8.92 points, 5.77 rebounds, and 1.23 assists during the UAAP Season 82 high school boys' basketball tournament.
Three other guest players were tapped by the Archangels in University of Cebu's Kyle Ordeniza, La Salle Academy's Algeroh Benitez, and Pasig-Sta. Lucia's Lester Tamayo.
Tamayo applied for a special guest license from the Games and Amusements Board (GAB), so that he can still keep his amateur status when he returns to the Realtors for the 2021 Chooks-to-Go MPBL Mumbaki Cup.
GAB allows teams to have amateur players with SGLs for as long as it will not be more than 33 percent (1/3) of the total number of players in the team. Moreover, all amateur players with SGL in a professional team shall not be allowed to play simultaneously in the court.
Completing the squad which has La Salle Iligan head coach Dane Lariosa as chief tactician are Edcor Marata, John Rabe, Roldan Piñas, Kenneth Ardiente, Dave Tagolimot, Philip Reyes, Harold Suarez, Magic Marata, and Johari Andor.
"We expect them to perform well in the upcoming tournament," said Baller.
"Some of our players played in the MPBL while others are varsity players in known universities. Almost the entire team is from Iligan. We got them so that the kids will look up to them."
Iligan has been training under a full bubble set-up at St. Michael College.