MPBL 2023 – Pampanga Hopes for Greats in Line Up

Apr 25, 2023

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Arwind, Encho, Cabagnot, and Pingris aren’t currently participating for Pampanga in the MPBL. For now, but we’ll see.

MANILA, Philippines – Arwind Santos, Encho Serrano, Alex Cabagnot, and retiring player Marc Pingris, according to a top official of the Pampanga Giant Lanterns, will not compete for the squad in the MPBL. For the meantime, not yet.

Santos, Serrano, Cabagnot, and Pingris are listed on the Pampanga squad roster for the current MPBL season, according to team administrator Alan Trinidad. However, they won’t play unless they somehow become available throughout the year and ultimately choose to sign with the ballclub.

Santos, Serrano, and Cabagnot still have active contracts with their PBA ball clubs, as Trinidad is aware. The PBA Rookie of the Year candidate Serrano is still under contract with Phoenix through May 2023.

Prior to the current season, Santos and Cabagnot, with NorthPort and Terrafirma, respectively, signed new contracts that won’t expire until August 2023.

However, there is a rationale behind their inclusion in the roster of Lanterns.

The three active players can later compete for Pampanga if they become PBA free agents or are released by their current teams because they are included in the official line-up presented to the MPBL.

According to Trinidad, the MPBL permits such activity, and the league forbids a player from suiting up in the middle of the season if he was not listed on the initial roster presented.

“If it so happens that Arwind Santos’ contract will not be renewed, it’s fine, let’s play. If Encho’s contract is also not renewed come month of May, it’s fine let’s play,” Trinidad said in the open.

When asked whether the MPBL permits the inclusion of players under contract with PBA teams, Trinidad responded, “it is fine.”

“They haven’t signed anything with us yet. That’s not illegal. If you don’t line-up, when they become available, you won’t be able to play,” Trinidad said.

Prior to their 2023 MPBL season opener against Negros Muscavados on Thursday at the Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center in San Fernando, the Giant Lanterns’ 25-man lineup generated attention.

Santos and Serrano, who are both from Pampanga, used to work with and play for Governor Dennis Pineda before switching to the PBA.

After having been partners at San Miguel, 41-year-old Santos and 40-year-old Cabagnot may get together in Pampanga.

Trinidad, though, emphasized that won’t be the case soon. When asked if Santos, Serrano, Cabagnot, and Pingris would play, Trinidad responded, “Not yet.

Regarding Pingris, Trinidad claimed that discussions about a potential stay with Pampanga are still ongoing with the former forward for Magnolia and Gilas Pilipinas. Pingris, 41, stepped down as commissioner of the Pilipinas Super League only lately after retiring from the PBA in 2019.

However, Trinidad claimed that Justine Baltazar, who was the Finals MVP when the Giant Lanterns’ core team just won the PSL championship, is one prominent player who will undoubtedly suit up this season.

Trinidad claimed that his club would still be very competitive during the MPBL season even without Santos and Company.

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