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Philippine Basketball Association

Barako Bull hopes to re-sign 4 key players with expiring contracts

August 26, 2011 8:33pm

Barako Bull (formerly Air21) hopes to re-sign four key players that include veterans Dondon Hontiveros and Danny Seigle as it hopes to strengthen its roster in time for the coming Philippine Basketball Association's (PBA) 37th season.

Seigle and Hontiveros, together with Paul Artadi and Leo Avenido, are four of the eight cagers with expiring contracts for the Energy Boosters.

The franchise, according to new team manager Raffy Casiao, is looking to make a big follow up to its semifinal stint in the last Commissioner's Cup.

"Remember that in the Commissioner's Cup, Air21 made it to the semifinals, and we're hoping to duplicate that in the Philippine Cup," said Casiao.

Reed Juntilla, Patrick Cabahug, Marcy Arellano and Lou Gatumbato also have expiring contracts.

Players who have existing deals are Dorian Pena, Leo Najorda, Wynne Arboleda, Elmer Espiritu, Carlo Sharma, Jondan Salvador and two-time MVP Willie Miller, acquired last conference in a trade with Ginebra for KG Canaleta.

"We have a good solid line-up that can compete against the top teams," Casiao said.

Also part of the team's new-found confidence is the recent naming of Junel Baculi as head coach, taking over Bong Ramos' post as the latter was gracious enough to slide down and serve as an assistant on the bench.

Both Baculi and Ramos were members of the Mapua Cardinals team that won the 1981 NCAA men's basketball championship.

The merging between the Energy Drink franchise and the Lina Group of Companies paved the way for Barako Bull executive George Chua to own 51 percent of the team, with the rest going to Air21 owner Bert Lina.

Lina also decided to keep the original Barako Bull franchise which it recently purchased and now carries the name of ShopPinas, with collegiate champion coach Franz Pumaren handling the team.

Barako Bull owns two first round picks in Sunday's Annual Rookie Draft, getting its turn at Nos. 3 and 10, respectively.

Baculi admitted he's looking to use the No. 3 pick in getting wingmen Chris Lutz, Marcio Lassiter or Mac Baracael—all Smart Gilas Pilipinas team members.

Then again, he said the team's option might change should top prospects Paul Lee and JV Casio remain available by the time they earn their first turn. — JVP, GMA News
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