By: Lawrence Clark D. Fernandez
This was Coach Eric Gonzales’ promise when asked about the team’s identity during Iloilo United Royals’ official press conference held on June 8, 2019 at Hotel del Rio.
Team Iloilo conducted tryouts in Passi City and Iloilo City with the hopes of finding players to bolster their lineup for the upcoming Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL). Coach Gonzales said that the tryouts were not merely for formality and that they were really looking for players from Iloilo. “Iloilo has a lot of talent,” Coach Eric told the Daily Guardian after the scrimmage in Puerto Real. Though the tryouts were open to all players, the team is specifically looking for a big man to fill in the power forward-center spot in their rotation.
Nine players were selected from the tryouts and will vie for a slot in the final 22-man roster (15 to play) which will be announced June 10. The MPBL will kick off its third season June 12, 2019 while Team Iloilo’s first game will be June 19 against the Rizal Crusaders.
Team Owner JJ Javelosa was proud to announce that his team will field nine players from Iloilo, well above the league’s requirement of three homegrown players. Aaron Jeruta, Jay Javelosa, John Mahari, Paul Reguera, Ragnee Sinco, Jessiery Pedrosa, Gerry Abadiano, Andre Pantin, and Jason Li will represent the Ilonggos in the upcoming tournament.
Javelosa said the team’s moniker came from their vision of uniting the province of Iloilo in support of the team. They added Royals because Iloilo was then referred to as “the Royal City of the South” during the Spanish colonial period.