Main sponsor Atkins Kroll will clash with The Game in the opening day of the Atkins Kroll Marianas International Basketball League this Saturday at the Marianas High School Gymnasium.
Eight other squads are entered in the competition, which is sanctioned by the Mariana Islands Basketball Federation and is being groomed as the new premier men’s league on island. Aqua Resort Club, IT&E, Saipan Vegas, Bridge Capital, Caravan’s, TanHoldings, MSV, and Mystique Snacks & BBQ are the other teams vying for the championship in the inaugural league.
“We are pleased to be the lead sponsor of this league. We are also fielding a team so that makes us even more excited to get this league going,” said Atkins Kroll vice president and general manager Clark Boswell during the league’s press launch yesterday at AK’s showroom in San Jose.
Boswell himself will suit up for the AK Wheelers, who also have Jeff Borja, Don Castillo, Rodney Catalla, George De Guzman, Vhoie Francia, Jonathan Guilas, Vince Igitol, Dior Jones, Keith Kintol, Jediael Manalo, Nelson Manangan, Lorenz Patola, Rayner Sekool, and Francis Sharry on their roster.
The Game, on the other hand, will be led by young guns Jun Fidelino, E.J. Abejo, Ted Vivero, Mikel Johnson, and Jun Javier. Completing the initial lineup are Bryan Bernardo, Kenta Castro, Jun Del Rosario, Jun Hernandez, Mak Mintak, Kristian Parulan, Jave and Joe Sablan, Paulo Sanguyo, and Keith Santos.
The AK Wheelers-The Game tiff is scheduled for the second game at 7:30pm, while teams seeing action in the first match at 6pm will be determined via raffle.
League commissioner Clint Albert said that although this is their pilot tournament, he anticipates a high-level competition, especially after some teams combined their players to form a formidable crew.
Saipan Vegas Aces are one of the squads considered as early favorites in the league, as they are bannered by former national players—Preston Basa, Dan Barcinas, Jack Lizama, and Douglas Schmidt—and also have youth national team members on their roster.
Co-commissioner Elias Rangamar said IT&E is one of the teams to watch, too with the veterans from the various leagues joining forces with some Sonics players. Old reliables Elmer Esdrelon, Ehroll Peredo, Darwin Barbo, and Junar Guiab will be playing with Sonics standouts Jack Aranda, Jarmark De Guzman, Sean Rabasto, Raulo Rafols, and Gerald Flores. Rounding out the IT&E lineup are Bart Demapan, Ivan Devero, Jason Palacios, Kevin Nuguid, Brendon Talania, and Marlon De Dios.
Two more teams—Bridge Capital and Caravan’s—are also on the contenders list of the inaugural league. Gunners Ernest Duenas and Fred Pelisamen are teaming up for Bridge Capital, while Caravan’s will have the core of the team that recently ruled the Civic Center caging, led by Ken Viray and Prince Factor.
Meanwhile, the league will have its opening ceremony at 5:30pm and Atkins Kroll will have giveaways for spectators.
“This league is a great way to bring back regular tournaments on island after we were hit by Super Typhoon Yutu and slowly, we will try to go to the level where we could really compete with our off-island rivals,” Rangamar said.