MPBL: Ahead of 1st home stand, Abra lets go of Prince Caperal, 2 more

Former PBA Most Improved Player Prince Caperal is now a free agent. MPBL (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Despite being one of the hottest teams right now, Abra suddenly let go of three players as the expansion team braces for its first-ever MPBL home game.

The league announced on Thursday night that the Weavers waived Prince Caperal, Mark Montuano, and Marion Magat.

The most interesting among the releases is the case of Caperal, the 2020 PBA Most Improved Player who was supposed to be their main man inside the paint.

However, in 10 games out of 12 this season, the six-foot-seven center was a shade of his younger self, only averaging 5.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.0 assists, and 0.3 blocks an outing even as he mainly came off the bench before the waiver.

He only had four points, three rebounds, two assists, and one block on Friday night when they drubbed the Sarangani Marlins, 82-60.

Another ex-PBA veteran who found his way out of Abra was Magat, another six-foot-seven center who also struggled in form MPBL-wise this year, averaging just 3.3 points, 3.0 rebounds, 0.4 assists, 0.1 blocks, and 0.8 steals per ball game in nine appearances this season, coming off the bench most of the time.

And then there's Montuano, the longtime Bacoor City Strikers star who found his way up north with the Weavers following his old club's decision to take a leave of absence this season despite winning the South Division championship last year.

The six-foot-two winger, though, only tallied 0.2 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 0.4 assists in barely eight minutes of action per game in five outings, although he proved to be a solid contributor on defense despite the limited minutes with 1.2 steals per game.

The development means the three players will not see action anymore for Abra beginning on Saturday night when the team, currently on a four-game winning streak, hosts Rizal at the University of Abra-Bangued Gymnasium.

The match is interestingly coach Tan-Tan Banal's first game against his former team.

Meanwhile, Paranaque also sent shockwaves in the waiver wire as the team suddenly sent Mark Yee to free agency.

The veteran forward was said to be among the key players as to why the Patriots suddenly became title contenders early into the season after years of mediocrity.

Yee started in all 11 games he played for the Myk Saguiguit-coached club, averaging 7.7 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.6 blocks, and 0.5 steals per game.

Yee might be dearly missed when Paranaque messes up with Nueva Ecija's solid big-man rotation led by Will McAloney and Jay Collado when they clash at 6 p.m. Saturday night right before Abra's home stand at 8 p.m.

South Cotabato let go of John Wilson in another shock waiver.

Already a solid contributor for the Warriors last year, the gunner is curiously their leading scorer this year, averaging 11.9 points per game in nine outings on a solid 36.2 percent shooting from three-point range alongside 4.9 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 0.9 steals, and 0.1 blocks.

This easily makes Wilson and Yee, both former MPBL champs, the two hottest free agents right now in the league's midseason transfer window.

However, rumors are circulating that Yee might make the trip to Bangued on Saturday but as a Weaver, as he was seen in Abra's recent practice.

In other news, Valenzuela bid goodbye to former Gilas cadet Fonzo Gotladera, while Mindoro announced the release of two players, namely Ralf Olivarez and Decoy Lopez.

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