By WAYLON GALVEZ
Manila, Philippines – Global Port owner Mikee Romero has this challenge to his players and coaching staff in their debut campaign in the PBA: Be the `Cinderella’ team.
This is what Romero revealed as Global Port the newest team in the PBA is preparing for its initial season in the pro league as Batang Pier play crowd favorite Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in the opener of the 38th PBA season on Sept. 30 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“It’s the challenge that I gave the players, the coaches, and management,“ said Romero in yesterday’s PSA Forum at Shakey’s in Roxas Blvd., Manila. “This is a hungry team, and as owner, ang ganda pakinggan that players and coaches are hungry to win.“
“We can only do it on our first year, after that we’ll just be a regular team. So that’s the big question: Will a Cinderella team come out of the PBA? This is our maiden season, but we’ll go for it, we will fight in every game.“
According to Romero, who purchased the Powerade franchise from Coca-Cola for R100 million, that team’s success will depend on how far his two superstars can go, referring to former two-time MVP Willie Miller and last season’s Philippine Cup Best Player Gary David.
Global Port obtained Miller, 35, in a trade with Ginebra (losing in the process incoming sophomore guard JVee Casio) to form a formidable backcourt with David, who was one of nine players retained by management from the original roster of Powerade.
“Hindi pa nagsasama si Gary and Willie even sa ensayo. Kaya dun pa lang sa game makikita kung talagang may silbi na pagsamahin sila,“ added Romero in jest.
Miller, who was also at the Forum together with teammates Rey Guevarra and Rabeh Al-Hussaini, coaches Glenn Capacio and Ricky Dandan, team manager BJ Manalo, and basketball operations chief Erick Arejola, said it’s a challenge not just for him but for the team.
“Of course, new team, new look, pero hindi na rin kasi bago yung iba gaya ko and ni Gary,“ said Miller, who had stints with Barako Bull, Talk ‘N Text, Alaska and Ginebra. “The important thing is chemistry, and if we have that, we have a good chance to make it to the playoffs.“
David is currently playing for Smart-Gilas Pilipinas II in the FIBA Asia Cup in Tokyo, Japan, and prior to that, was part of the champion team when the Nationals bagged the Jones Cup title in Taiwan, and for Capacio, it won’t be a problem as David is used to playing longer minutes.
Romero said that he would like to see his team compete, but if there’s a chance to win the championship in any of the three conferences, he will be happy just like when he won seven PBL title with Harbour Center and one in the ABL with the PH Patriots.
“Unlike when Rain or Shine started from scratch, which took them six years to win a title, baka naman ma-short cut namin because we took over a franchise that has players like Gary, and then we tweaked it to what we want when we got Willie, who is a leader,“ said Romero.
Also making it to the 15man lineup of Global Port are veterans Rommel Adducul, Will Antonio, Jondan Salvador, Alex Crisano, Josh Vanlandingham, Rudy Lingganay, Marvin Cruz, Angel Raymundo, as well as rookies Vic Manuel, Jayson Deutchmann and AJ Mandani.
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