Let’s take a look at Pacquiao Powervit Aguilas Pilipinas in the ABL!
The ASEAN Basketball League starts in a few days, so I think that it’s time that we started discussing in details about all of the teams now that each team has started filling in their Imports quotas.
The league will consist of six teams from 5 countries (Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, and the Philippines). Each team will play each other 4 times to make a 20 game season. The top 4 teams advance to the Playoffs where they will play best out of 3 series to determine the champion.
Team rosters are consisted of 16 players.
Two slots in that roster can be used on “World Imports”. World Imports can basically be any player from anywhere in the world. Teams usually use this quota on American Imports who played close to the basket.
Another two slots in the roster can be allocated to ASEAN/Heritage Imports. Here is my understanding of the import ruling:
An ASEAN Import is any player with either
- full ASEAN Nationality of a different country that the country that the team resides in
- has a parent that has full ASEAN Nationality of a different country which the team resides in but was born and raised outside of the ASEAN Countries.
For example, the Singapore Slingers (the team resides in Singapore) could have used one of their ASEAN Import quota to sign me (a Full Thai Citizen) to their roster. Instead, they signed Kris Rosales (a Filipino-American).
A Heritage import is any player who
- has a parent that has full Nationality of the country which the team resides in but was born and raised outside of the ASEAN Countries.
Last year, we saw the Saigon Heat exercise the Heritage Import on David Viet Arnold (mother is full Vietnamese). It worked so well for them that they used the quota on him again this year. In addition to the Saigon Heat, Hitech Bangkok City of Thailand also used the Heritage Import quota by signing Half-Thais Freddie Goldstein and Tyler Lamb.
The wordings of the qualifications for the quotas might be a bit more complicated in the official terms of the ABL, but the main idea is there.
We started out preview with the Singapore Slingers, Westports Malaysia Dragons, and the Saigon Heat. Enough with the old, let’s get to know some new teams! After the Mono Vampires, let’s move on to the preview for Pacquiao Powervit Pilipinas Aguilas!
The Philippines are the probably the most basketball crazed country per capita. They have Asia’s oldest running commercial league with the Philippines Basketball Association.
Their participation and dominance in the ASEAN Basketball League has been constant. In the inaugural ABL season, the Philippines representative (Philippines Patriots) won the championship. They made the Finals in the second year but lost to the Chang Thai Slammers. The Philippines would a dd the San Miguel Beermen as a second team in Season 3. The Patriots would pull out of the league in the 4th ABL season, but the Philippines would still be represented by the San Miguel Beermen. The Beermen would lose in the Finals in their maiden season, but would get their revenge in the following year by winning it all.
The Philippines would be without a represented team in ABL Season 5, but the league still had plenty of Filipino pride in the form of ASEAN imports as it has had in the preceding seasons.
ABL Season 6 started out with a bang for the Filipino society with the announcement of not one, but two Philippines based teams after Manny Pacquiao-owned Mindanao Aguilas and Racal Motors both stated their intention to enter the league.
Racal Motors would eventually pull out of the ABL, leaving Aguilas as the only team and was later renamed to Pacquiao Powervit Pilipinas Aguilas. Hence the birth of the Philippines Eagles.
ABL Season 6 Insight
It’s a pretty safe bet that any ABL that the Philippines send will be loaded. Ever since it was official, the team waited no time to release that one of their main players would be Willie Miller (who you can read more about here). Also among players who were announced early in the offseason was Charles Mammie (read more about him here) who will be one of their world imports.
The buzz for Aguilas died down after that a bit until a recent Spin.PH article dropped a bomb announcing that recent PBA Best Import, AZ Reid, would be the second Aguilas World Import (which is explained in detail here). Also in that article mentioned the signing of Fil-Ams Alli Austria (details here) and Jerramy King (details here). These two Fil-Ams along with pint-sized ADMU fan favorite, Nico Elorde, would be the young core of Aguilas.
The rest of the roster contains for ex-PBA players, most notably Val Acuna (who played for Blackwater last season and has played in various seasons of the ABL), Sunday Salvacion (who also played for Blackwater last season), and Jondan Salvador (who played for Barako Bull last season). The other players, Leo Najorda and Carlo Sharma, have been a season away from PBA Action.
The most recent action we have is their tune up game against the Saigon Heat where they won the game 117-83.
It is a sin to consider a team or a player based on reputation. We should play based on information and collected statistics that we have. With that said though, you should never doubt a Philippines basketball team. Basketball is their way of life. For some, basketball is even larger than life itself. For that reason, Filipinos tend to play at a higher gear than other teams which will be to their advantage at some moments.
These Filipino players and the imports have been playing legitimate professional basketball from the start of their careers. I respect what all the other ABL teams have been doing to professionalize the sport, but we have to admit that the level of professionalism of Philippines Basketball is significantly higher than in other countries. The players, the coaching staff, and the team management among others know how to manage what they do.
Okay, the aura of being a “Filipino” team might be at their advantage at times, but in another sense, it might also place a huge target on their backs. Everyone wants to be that team that beats the Philippines team. Everyone wants to be that player that lights the Filipino players up. Everyone wants that tag placed on them.
Being Aguilas will light a fire up in their opponents and it will make them have to work harder to take those challengers down.
Modern basketball emphasizes on small ball as of late, but size still matters. Andrew Bogut wasn’t just there for show on last year’s championship Golden State Warriors squad.
Aguilas will have Charles Mammie as their tallest player at 6’7” and he’ll have to clash with the likes of Chris Charles, Steve Thomas, Justin Howard, Reggie Johnson, Lenny Daniel, Anthony McClain, Quincy Okolie, and Calvin Godfrey. Not exactly easy work to do.
With their combination of speed, experience, physicality and technique, I see them sitting among the top tier of the ABL right now. They are not completely unbeatable, but they will be hard to beat.
I see a 14-15 win season for them up ahead.
Check out our complete list of previews: