The inaugural season of the Community Basketball Association Pilipinas Cup will come to a fitting conclusion with National Capital Region champion San Juan and Bicol titlist Naga battling for the coveted Founder’s Cup and the whopping P1-million cash prize on Monday.
CBA founding president Carlo Maceda said the winner-take-all encounter between the Knights Exile and the Water Borne will provide a fitting finish to the three-month long, community-based tournament held in different parts of the country.
“We expect a good fight between San Juan and Naga for the bragging rights to become the first-ever CBA national champion and the P1-million prize,” said Maceda during the 30th “Usapang Sports” by the Tabloids Organization in Philippine Sports at the National Press Club in Intramuros, Manila.
“This is the product of all the hard work of the CBA and the men and women behind it, as well as the team owners, coaches and players and their respective LGUS and sponsors,” added Maceda during the weekly sports forum sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission, National Press Club, PAGCOR, CBA and HG Guyabano Tea Leaf Drinks.
San Juan first assistant coach Yong Garcia said the Knights are confident of winning the title with the championship game to be played starting at 5 p.m. on Monday at the San Juan gym.
“In basketball, home-court advantage is a big factor. Iba ‘yung maglalaro ka sa harap ng mga fans at taga-suporta mo,” said Garcia, who represented head coach Randy Alcantara in the forum shown on Facebook live via Glitter Livestream.
Garcia, however, admitted Naga remains a mystery to them.
“I’m sure they have already scouted our team and they know most of our players. Pero sila hindi namin kabisado,” added Garcia, also head coach of the Marinerong Pilipino in the PBA D-League.
San Juan team governor Chris Conwi said the team is prepared to do its best against Naga in front of an expected big home crowd.
“We’re not taking any chances. We’re bringing back at least five players from our San Juan team which topped the recent MPBL Cup,” said Conwi, who also attended the forum along with top player Jhonard Clarito.
“Since the MBA days, San Juan has maintained a positive image in basketball. Laging nananalo. We did it in the MPBL. We’ll try to do it again in the CBA.”
Clarito, who also played for De Ocampo Memorial Colleges in the NAASACU, vowed to do his best to lead the Knights to another championship.
“Sisikapin namin na mag-champion uli. Matagal na din naman ang pinag-samahan ng team at tiwala kami sa coaching staff,” said Clarito, who hopes to create a good impression before applying for the PBA Rookie Draft next year.