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MPBL: Pangasinan, Abra eye impact; Tarlac keeps buildup under wraps

MANILA, Philippines – The Pangasinan Heatwaves and the Abra Weavers may be newcomers, but they wouldn't be pushovers in the 6th MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) Season starting on April 6 at the Calasiao Sports Complex.

Pangasinan bared its intent to contend right away in the country's top regional league when it tapped multi-titled coach Jerson Cabiltes to steer the Heatwaves against the rest of the 30-team field in the nine-month tournament.

Cabiltes brought along Hesed Gabo, Michael Mabulac and Jay-R Taganas from the Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards and have enlisted the services of Ian Melencio, Ed Daquioag, Mark Dyke, Mark Poole, Vince Tolentino, Jeff Javillonar and Jonjon Gabriel.

Not to be outdone, Abra tapped youthful and capable coach Jonathan Banal to steer the Weavers past the elimination round.

The Weavers will be led by Mac Tallo, NCAA Season 99 MVP Clint Escamis, crack guard Felipe Chavez and veteran bigs Prince Caperal and Jeepy Faundo.

Pangasinan and Abra will test each other's mettle at 8 p.m. on April 6, following the inaugural game pitting Zamboanga Family's Brand Sardines against Valenzuela at 6 p.m.

Limited info has come from Tarlac United Force, the third newcomer, although it has been posted that Marlon Gomez, Gab Reyes and Robert Bartolo have been signed up.

One thing going for Tarlac is it won't be playing until April 18, when it tangles with Caloocan at the Caloocan Sports Complex.