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Cholo Villanueva not allowing complacency for Batangas City ahead of MPBL return

By Dugout Philippines

MANILA—There is no room for complacency for coach Cholo Villanueva’s Batangas City Embassy Chill in the upcoming Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL).

While his team reached the Southern Division Finals last year, he said that the new season is a totally different ballgame. 

“We start from the ground up. It’s back to zero. It doesn’t mean that because we were in the division finals last year, we’re guaranteed to be in it again this year,” the former Green Archer pointed out. 

Among the things that Villanueva wants the team to build on is their composure down the stretch, especially when they have a big margin. 

“Knowing how to execute and finish the game strong are things we need to improve on this year,” Villanueva shared. 

He also wants the team to have a quicker pace and, at the same time, continue with its defensive identity of limiting bigger opponents. 

Batangas City Embassy Chill still has its core players—Rudy Lingganay, Jeckster Apinan, Cedrick Ablaza, John Rey Villanueva, and King Importante—and they are beefing up their lineup with new firepower.

“After last year’s performance, we assessed the needs of the team. We added another guard  CJ Isit, who can help with our guard rotation. We also added two versatile forwards, Oneal Arum and Raffy Octubre. Overall, we should be better than last year with these additions. They can also help us achieve what coach Cholo wants to develop, that is playing at our own pace,” said Batangas City Embassy Chill team manager Jean Alabanza.

Villanueva added, “Last year, we were number two in our division. We want to be number one this year, so we can’t give games away. If we have a chance to win every game, we’ll make sure to win it.

The team will be playing its first game this March 14 at its home court, the Batangas City Coliseum, against Pasay. 

Continuing Lucio Tan, Jr.’s legacy 

Team manager and Tanduay Distillery general manager Gerry Tee shared that they are fortunate to have the unwavering support of Batangas City representative Mario Vittorio “Marvey” MariƱo and Mayor Beverly Rose Dimacuha since they started in the league in 2018, where they emerged as champions. 

“They share the same passion and commitment to grassroots sports development with Sir Lucio Tan, Jr.,” he said. 

The late Tan is known for being a patron of sports development, particularly basketball. Tee shared that his former boss would always emphasize the importance of good health through sports and wanted to give talents from the barangay level the chance to make it in the bigger leagues. 

“He would also remind us to make sure that discipline, sportsmanship, and camaraderie are in all our undertakings. He values winning and he sees losing as a lesson. He used to say that it is only in losing that you can truly value success, whether in basketball or business, and he wanted our players to keep this in mind,” Tee said. 

Promoting grassroots sports development through Tanduay Athletics

Marc Ngo, Tanduay senior brand manager and international business development manager, said that through Tanduay Athletics, they “aim to promote sports by supporting and nurturing Filipino athletes to reach their maximum potential.”

“In order to do this, Tanduay Athletics will provide coaches in grassroots programs targeting the young Filipinos who are looking to develop their skills in their respective sports. Tanduay Athletics will also sponsor and organize different sports leagues around the Philippines to provide an avenue for aspiring athletes to show off their skills for potential college and pro careers,” he said.

Ngo shared that so far they are focusing more on basketball. From only the semi-pro team, Batangas Embassy Chill, they are now supporting the University of the East at the collegiate level, the Tanduay Jr. Athletics in the Chinese League, and the University of the East Juniors at the high school level.

“But we are also exploring supporting other sports as well and we already have some discussions to sponsor a volleyball team. In the next few years, we are hoping to have support in most of the sports in the country and globally, and at different levels. Hopefully some of the semi-pro and young players that we are sponsoring will already be on the top level of their respective sports,” he concluded.

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