|The Davao Occidental Tigers pose together with officials of Cocolife. Ivan Saldajeno|
By Ivan Saldajeno
MAKATI--Entering the previous MPBL season, there were modest expectations on Davao Occidental.
But the team overachieved as the season went along, and it came just a win shy of winning the national title, only losing to San Juan on a last-second basket by Jhonard Clarito.
And now that the expectations are high on them, the Tigers' chief backers gave them a huge goal for the ongoing season.
"I hope this [season], we will bring us the championship, finally," said Jose Martin Loon, the president of Cocolife, DavOcc's primary sponsor.
Team owner Claudine Bautista added, "To the Davao Occidental Tigers, I'm addressing you. Let us take this as a challenge."
Save for Leo Najorda, who has since transferred to the Bataan Risers, the core of the Tigers from last season led by former PBA player Mark Yee remains intact.
Add to that the signing of high-flying wingman James Forrester.
No wonder Loon is all the more bullish about their chances.
"I'm very optimistic when I see all of you full of energy and the passion for the game, and I'm sure that we will be performing so much better this [season]," he further said.
On Friday, Cocolife renewed its commitment as DavOcc's primary backer at the insurance company's office.
Loon hinted that this partnership will now be a long-term one.
"As long as I'm president, I can assure that it will continue," he said.
Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno