MPBL: Familiar faces to look out for in the upcoming season

First of a series

PLAYERS come and go. Whether you’re a marquee player or a journeyman, you might find players being shipped from one team to another.

So don’t be surprise if you see familiar faces  playing for new teams in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League. Here at, we listed several names fans would love to see in the expanded season beginning June 12.

For our first series, we feature these teams that were able to acquire key players who can beef up their campaign in the coming season of the country’s fastest growing regional basketball league.

Manila Stars (Roger Yap, Joseph Yeo, Philip Cezar) — Fans are curious to see how Roger Yap could perform, especially after being idle for a few years in major basketball events.

One of the most prominent fixtures of the old Purefoods franchise, Yap was part of three championship teams of the Hotdogs, but found himself getting traded to Barako Bull when Tim Cone took over as head coach.

Yeo, on the other hand, is another player who has a championship experience, winning a title with Sta. Lucia in 2007-08 Philippine Cup and Petron in 2011 Governors Cup.

Their presence not only give the Manila Stars two players who can create, but people who also know how to win.

Speaking of winning, perhaps it’s only logical to include Philip Cezar, who won 15 championships as a player in the PBA. The league Hall of Famer, who also led San Juan to a championship in the MBA, is calling the shots for the Stars.

San Juan Knights (Mac Cardona, John Wilson) — For a team making a comeback, loading your team with scorers is the logical thing to do.

Mac Cardona, a two-time scoring champion who also won a championship in the 2008-09 season,  will definitely provide the firepower and along with Wilson, another outside sniper, they will give the Knights a 1-2 scoring punch.

Wilson, owner of the sexiest shot in the PBA, will also provide leadership to this team.

Marikina Shoelander (Warren Ybanez) — He’s a spitfire guard can knock down shots and provide stability in the backcourt. Warren Ybanez has provided those things to the teams he played for — be it with Barako Bull in the PBA or the AirAsia Philippine Patriots.

He won championships with both squads in the PBA and ABL, respectively and was named Finals MVP during the time the Patriots won the title.

The shoe as a court leader isn’t one to big to fill for this veteran player now playing for Marikina.

Team Rizal (Bonbon Custodio) —  A celebrated player when he burst into the college basketball scene for University of the East, Custodio became an instant journeyman in the PBA.

Despite his talent, his troublesome past left doubts on the teams he played for until he faded away from the pro league.

Now given a new lease in life playing for Team Rizal, the 5-foot-11 guard will play with a chip on his shoulder and will provide help to fellow ex-pro Kelvin Gregorio.

Laguna (Denok Miranda) — Talking about a player who knows how to win, Denok Miranda fits the bill – based from the time he was playing for Far Eastern University in the UAAP all the way to his stint in the PBA where he won championships. As a member of Sta. Lucia Realty, he won the 2007-08 Philippine Cup then became part of another champion squad, the Petron Blaze Boosters, in the 2011 Governors Cup.

In the MPBL, he is tasked to continue his winning ways with the Laguna Heroes.

Pampanga Lanterns (Jimbo Aquino) — He was considered a top gun in college while becoming a part of San Sebastian’s champion squad. He didn’t enjoy the same luck in the PBA, though, while playing for Barangay Ginebra, Barako Bull and TNT.

The 6-foot-2 gunner is giving it another try in the MPBL, and this time with neighboring province in Pampanga.

Valenzuela Classic (Jericho de Guzman) — You can’t teach height and that’s possibly the main reason why Valenzuela coach is fascinated by Jericho de Guzman, the 6-foot-11 project player of Barangay Ginebra.

Now De Guzman will finally get an opportunity to showcase his wares and unveil his potential in the regional basketball league.