Harvey Pagsanjan turns pro, joins MPBL champs NE Rice Vanguards

Nueva Ecija coach Jerson Cabiltes, team manager Ivan Cuevas, and team consultant Stevenson Tiu formally welcomed Harvey Pagsanjan to the reigning MPBL champs. From the Rice Vanguards' Facebook page
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Nueva Ecija has retained the core of its 2022 MPBL champion team.

Almost everyone from the Rice Vanguards, led by key players Jonathan Uyloan, Renz Palma, Byron Villarias, Jay Collado, Michael Mabulac, Pamboy Raymundo, Michael Juico, Philip Manalang, and Chris Bitoon, are coming back for another year as they try to go two-in-a-row in the regional league's fifth season, which will start on March 10.

Homegrown players John Arenas, JP Sarao, and Clark Derige have also re-signed with the team.

However, Nueva Ecija probably hit the jackpot in the offseason transfer window as the team also secured the services of Harvey Pagsanjan.

The Rice Vanguards revealed that the former Batang Gilas standout will join them for the upcoming MPBL year.

With the UAAP not honoring a special guest license from the Games and Amusements Board that would have kept the student-athlete's amateur status despite playing in a professional league, the 24-year-old Pagsanjan has essentially turned pro and also forgone his final year at University of the East.

Pagsanjan will have a reunion with fellow ex-Red Warrior Manalang and coach Jerson Cabiltes, who was his coach at Hope Christian High School.

Cabiltes along with the rest of his coaching staff was also renewed for another season as he looks to pick up from where the team left off, a historic 2022 campaign that saw them win a Philippine record-breaking 25 straight games to start the season en route to the championship.

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