Muntinlupa Cagers team owner Lito Alvarez took a gamble and won.
Whether he’ll stay lucky, remains to be seen.
Despite an advisory from Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League operations chief Zaldy Realubit for Muntinlupa to choose between Felix Apreku and Chester Saldua as the team’s lone “Fil-foreign” player, the Angelis Resort-backed Cagers decided to play both of them against Mandaluyong El Tigre.
The ploy worked to the advantage of the Cagers, who bested the Bobby Parks-led El Tigre, 86-74, in the opening day of the Datu Cup at Araneta Coliseum Tuesday night.
“Eh di kung napatunayan nila na hindi Pilipino si Apreku, willing kami na i-forfeit ‘yung panalo namin,” said Lito Alvarez, former chairman of the PBA.
As expected, Apreku and Saldua delivered. The 6-foot-4 Apreku tallied a double-double of 10 points and 16 rebounds, while Saldua also put up decent numbers off the bench.
According to Alvarez, the team has already secured a document, including a Department of Justice certificate that Apreku is a Filipino, which means only Saldua, who was born to a Lebanese mother, is Muntinlupa’s Fil-foreign player.
Realubit said the league will still look at Apreku’s documents to confirm.
Under MPBL rules, only one “Fil-foreigner” is allowed each team.
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