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Pasig to continue search for homegrown gems

MANILA, Philippines — Pasig City MCW Sports may have fallen short of advancing to the next stage but the unheralded squad succeeded in achieving one of its visions for Philippine basketball – to discover homegrown talents.

The team of Buddy Encarnado succumbed by a whisker against Caloocan in three games of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) North Division quarterfinals but the road certainly does not end there for his wards.

If anything, the young Tropang Pasig has just started in championing a long-term cause also shared by its sponsor MCW Sports after unearthing and showcasing the potential of unheralded talents.

“Our team is only a new one but we exceeded expectations. We may lack star power with a bevy of homegrown talents but we fought until the end. After all, that’s our vision,” said Encarnado as Pasig absorbed a tough 68-60 loss in the deciding Game 3 against Caloocan.

With Jason Ballesteros and Josan Nimes as the only PBA veterans on deck, Pasig defied the odds against MPBL opposition bannered by ex-pros and rising stars, finishing fifth in the North Division.

Some of the revelations for Pasig were Kenny Roger Rocacurva from Camotes Islands and Michael Maestre from Eastern Samar, who complemented ace guards Robbie Manalang and Ryan Costelo in helping Pasig prove its worth under the watch of decorated mentor Boyet Fernandez.

Fernandez, who’s also a champion coach of the Sta. Lucia team managed by Encarnado during their heydays in the PBA, cultivated a winning culture for the young, inexperienced Pasig squad in reaching the playoffs.

As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” and so expect Pasig to grow and develop into a formidable squad next MPBL season – hopefully with additional homegrown talents just waiting for their golden opportunity.