Alab Pilipinas is ready to make its debut in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) that will begin November 27 at the OBC Arena in Singapore.
The team, owned by Charlie Dy will face Singapore in its first match in the ABL.
The other two Philippine teams that have seen action in the tournaments are the Philippine Patriots and San Miguel Beermen.
“Definitely, there is pressure on us because they will be expecting a lot from our team. Although a Philippine contingent did not do well last year, it will really be a challenge for us to play well,” Dy told The Manila Times.
He added that it would mean more pressure for them if the Philippines hosts an ABL game.
“Most especially if we are playing here at home. We really want everyone to cheer for the team and support the team. This is a bunch of pretty young players but they are very committed to represent the country,” Dy said.
Dy added that Alab Pilipinas is composed of rising stars and former professional players.
“This team, who is really committed, will definitely have a better showing. Like what I’ve said, we are hoping to make it to the finals, with the Philippines one of the most competitive basketball nations in the region.”
The team’s initial roster includes ex-PBA players JR Cawaling, Jens Knuttel, Robby Celiz, Val Acuña, Paolo Hubalde together with Igee King, Jovit Mendoza, Anthony Gavieres, and Lawrence Domingo.
Dy said that one more Filipino player would be added to the final lineup while negotiations for imports are still ongoing.
Alab Pilipinas also aims to boost grassroots basketball development in the country.
“We really want to promote grassroots basketball because what we will be doing before our games is that we will conduct free basketball clinics to the community.”
Dy is also looking forward to a more sustainable team in the future.
“It was hard. We are not used to the club concept that’s why we had some hitches along the way. We are so used to having one company sponsoring a team. Sustainability was the main reason why we thought of the club concept because we know that a lot of the Filipinos really love basketball so with the club concept, we expect them to really come and support us.”