Malacanang Kamao is sixth team in Araw hoops

Malacanang Kamao will be the sixth team in the 80th Araw ng Davao Inter-Commercial Basketball League which gets going on Thursday.

With the men from the Palace joining the expanded league, the cast of six teams is now complete.

Team coordinator Rico Biliran has yet to provide the line up of the Malacanang Kamao although tournament director Cholo Elegino has confirmed the participation of the Palace squad.

Defending champion The Royal Mandaya Hotel-CMO De La Salle University Green Archers will be the top favorite with tough challenge coming from UAAP squads University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons and National University Bulldogs, Montana Pawnshop of Davao and Pacman Warriors of Gen. Santos City.

Elegino earlier extended invitations to Ateneo de Manila University, University of Sto. Tomas and Adamson University but all three declined at the last minute despite showing interest in coming over to play.

DLSU, the reigning UAAP champions are arriving on Tuesday, two days before the start of the tournament to be held at the Davao City Recreation Center.

There are some changes in the line-up of the Green Archers. Top scorer Jeron Teng, son of Dabawenyo PBA legend Alvin Teng, will not be around as he has graduated. Likewise, Thomas Torres, another DLSU graduate, is out of the squad.

However, coach Aldin Ayo is not fazed. He has some new faces who are out to fill the void left out by the two mainstays.

Aljun Melecio and brothers Prince and Ricci Rivero are expected to fill in the shoes of Teng and Torres. Fiery Cameroonian slotman Ben Mbala will also be back in the fold.

Former Ateneo de Davao coach Miggy Solitaria has also joined the bench and will officially serve as one of Ayo’s regular assistants.

The tournament will have two groups playing single round robin. The top teams after the eliminations square off for the championship.

The tournament is sanctioned by the Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas 11 under SBP Board of Trustee member and Presidential Assistant for Sports Glenn Escandor.