LINGAYEN, PANGASINAN— Homegrown cagers from different towns in Pangasinan who comprised the province’s “Pangasinan Heat,” will debut in the 2024 season of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) which opens on March 16.
MPBL Commissioner Kenneth Duremdes welcomed the team by signing the franchise agreement with the franchise owner, former Bayambang Mayor Dr. Cezar T. Quiambao on February 7 at the Urduja House, here.
As the solar power capital of the country, the name “Pangasinan Heat” was derived to symbolize the thriving solar power industry in the province.
In his statement during a press conference, Dr. Quiambao stated that he will support all projects of Governor Ramon V. Guico III that are geared to shape the future of Pangasinense youth as he added that the sports project could also be the tool to market the province of Pangasinan.
Alaminos City Mayor Arth Bryan C. Celeste, also the team manager, disclosed that most of the cagers are homegrown notably from the cities of Urdaneta and the towns of Sual and Sto. Tomas. He mentioned the possibility of scouting cagers from outside the province to form a formidable team.
Pangasinan Heat’s roster of coaching staff include former pro-basketball players Jun Marzan, Jr., Cris Calaguio, Lordy Tugade, and collegiate basketball coach Sonny de Jesus. Basketball icons Marlou Aquino and Danny Ildefonso will serve as team consultants.
Governor Ramon V., Guico III cleared that since it’s a franchise, no government fund will be used. However, he disclosed that as Pangasinense he will extend whatever support the team needs.
MPBL is a men’s basketball professional league founded by Senator Manny Pacquiao on August 29, 2017 with 10 Luzon-based teams in its inaugural season in 2018.
Since then, the teams increased to 26 and eventually changed every season from 31 in 2019-2020, 22 in 2022, and 29 in 2023. Pangasinan Heat will be included as the newest expansion team along with Abra this 2024.
The Pampanga Giant Lanterns is the current defending champion.
(Ruby R. Bernardino/PIMRO)