The Zamboanga Valientes get their first real test when they tangle with Ray Parks Jr. and the Mandaluyong El Tigre in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Datu Cup at Imus City Sports Complex Saturday.
Tip-off is at 7 p.m., followed by the General Santos City Warriors and Imus Bandera at 9 p.m.
A valiant effort gave the Valientes an 86-80 victory over Laguna Krah on June 14, but they must play better to beat El Tigre and gain a share of the South division lead with the Muntinlupa Cagers (2-0).
The Valientes, owned by Yacob Ati and supported by Family’s Brand Sardines, will again depend on former pro and PBL MVP Reed Juntilla, former KIA player Jonathan Parreno and JV Orera in their bid to hand the powerhouse El Tigre a second straight defeat.
With Parks at the helm, El Tigre are expected to bounce back from an 86-74 setback dealt them by the Cagers during the opener.
Though he was not fielded against Laguna, Tausug local hero Das Hajri Esa may yet be given playing time by Zamboanga coach Ednie Morones to give him the opportunity to play against Parks.
Esa stands 5-foot-10, but is also a 2-way guard like the 6-foot-4 Parks.
Like the Bandera, who bowed to the Davao Occidental Tigers (71-75) on June 14, the Warriors also dropped their opening game against the Marikina Shoemasters, 88-81.
Bandera will be powered by homegrown Jeff Tajonera and former pros Orly Daroya, Ian Melencio and board crashers Jerwin Gaco and Andre Paras.
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