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Muntinlupa Cagers to rebuild from scratch under new coach Louie Gonzalez

By Ivan Saldajeno

MAKATI--Muntinlupa will usher in a new era in its MPBL campaign as it tapped Louie Gonzalez to replace Chico Tirona as head coach for the upcoming Season 4.

Once contenders for the championship in the first two seasons, the Cagers crashed out of playoff contention in the Lakan Season with a dismal 7-23 record.

With that said, Gonzalez, the concurrent coach of JRU in the NCAA, looks to rebuild Muntinlupa from scratch to regain the respect from the other clubs.

"We need to create a team that's a little of everything," Gonzalez said in a press conference introducing him as the Cagers' new gaffer at Romulo Cafe here on Tuesday night.

Jemina Sy, Muntinlupa's team owner, then bared that the decision to essentially disband its lineup was a management decision.

But giving the club a major makeover is easier said than done.

"That is the big challenge," Gonzalez continued.

Apart from that, the Cagers are part of the South Division, which has become tougher with the resurgence of the GenSan Warriors and the Basilan Steel and the arrival of new squads Iloilo United Royals and Bicol Volcanoes to give perennial powerhouses Davao Occidental Tigers and Bacoor City Strikers a run for at least the South title.

That is why even before his formal introduction, he already began reshuffling his roster.

"Advantage din yung we've been around for quite some time," Gonzalez further said.

He then added that he is already bracing for shakeups in the lineups of all the teams which could either make them better or weaker.

"After the year, there will be movements. Some of their players, magpo-pro na tapos yung ibang players, ma-offeran ng ibang mga teams," Gonzalez added.

But his focus remains on building the team that he thinks can compete for at least a deep playoff run next year.

"Ang mahalaga sa amin is to take this time para mabuo yung team namin," Gonzalez quipped.

He bared that he may bare the Cagers linejup for next season later this month.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno