AFTER their successful stint in the global 3X3 tournaments, the Zamboanga Valientes will be testing the Southeast Asian waters when they compete in the Asean Basketball League Invitational Tournament Series 2023 starting January 2.
Team owner Rolando Junnie Navarro confirmed the team’s participation over the weekend, saying that the Zamboanga Valientes would be formed immediately to represent the Philippines in the ABL, which will be returning after a three-year hiatus.
“The Zamboanga Valientes are now getting ready to play in the ABL and they will give their best to win the crown,” said Navarro, noting that they are still in the process of getting a head coach and completing their roster. “We, the entire Filipino basketball fans, are excited to see our team play in the ABL.”
The Valientes, according to Navarro, will be having five homegrown players and three imports. They are eyeing to sign up University of the Philippines’ 6’7” Zav Lucero, former Barangay Ginebra Sol Mercado and one more competitive big man.
Also playing for the Zamboanga Valientes, owned by the Navarro family CEO Cory Navarro and Mike Venezuela of MLV Accounting, are homegrown Rudy Lingganay, Jeff Bernardo and 5’5” Denver Cadiz.
Niño Reji Natividad will be named Basketball Operations’ head while Anton Altamirano will be the team manager. Executive director is Joseph Romarate while the coaching staff will be Bobedick Delos Santos and RJ Argamino.
“This team will offer more young undiscovered and exciting new players. We will be an exciting and explosive team to watch,” said Navarro, whose Valientes have conquered the Champions League Basketball 3X3 Australia I and were second runners-up in Thailand 3×3 Super League.
The Zamboanga Valientes have produced a lot of players from their hometown team, like Jonathan Parreno, Gino Jumaoas of University of the East and Arouf Julkipli of Adamson, plus PBA players like Mark Barroca, Mike Tolomia and RR Garcia.
They also made history in their hometown during the MAVS’ Dayo Serye, which drew a capacity crowd of more than 15,000 spectators, not to mention the thousands watching through the Facebook live steam.
Founded by the late Lando Navarro in 2006, the Zamboanga Valientes also have sports programs that help their local athletes, like Tokyo Olympics’ gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz, Olympics bronze boxing medalist Eumir Felix Marcial and former world title challenger Jonas Sultan.