PBA D-League a stepping stone for Cesafi products, Cebuano cagers

By JONAS PANERIO |February 15,2019 - 08:33 PM

Former Ateneo de Cebu standout Joshua Sinclair is making his debut in the PBA D-League for SMDC-National University. | photo from Sinclair’s Facebook page

Cebu City, Philippines – The PBA D-League raised the curtains on a brand new season on Thursday, February 14, 2019, with a total of 19 players that have either played in the Cesafi or come from Cebu.

Of the 19, eight are making their debuts in arguably, the country’s toughest basketball league not named the PBA.

These are Franz Diaz and Travis Mantua, who are playing for Centro Escolar University and Cha Dao Tea Place, respectively; Joshua Sinclair and John Galinato who are suiting up for SMDC-National University; Ain Obenza and Alex Visser who are playing for Metropac-San Beda; Ammar Cosari who is donning the colors of Valencia City-San Sebastian and Dave Ando, who is playing for the University of Santo Tomas.

Visser, the Filipino-Dutch big man who used to play for Ateneo de Cebu, is highly appreciative of the fact that he is already playing against the big boys in just his sophomore season.

“It’s a great feeling that I was chosen to be part of the D-League team this early, especially as a Cebuano who, just a year before never even imagined of having this experience. It’s a really important stepping stone, and getting the chance to play against not only school based teams, but even the other D-League teams,” Visser said.

“I think it’s important to make the most if the opportunity and try to absorb anything and everything I can from this tournament, because it will help me develop into a better player,” he added.

Another former Magis Eagles standout, Joshua Sinclair, is relishing the chance to compete against PBA-ready talent.

“I feel like it’s a good opportunity for me to play PBA ready opponents. I’ll make the most out of the opportunity I’ve been given. It’s really important. It is my first semi-pro league and is a stepping stone to my long term goal to one day play in the PBA,” the lanky and talented Fil-Australian shared.

The two also asserted their hope that Cesafi teams or players would be allowed to play in the D-League one day. Currently, Cesafi rules stipulate that players cannot compete in the D-League or any other commercial league for that matter.

“Yes I feel like there should be Cesafi teams fielded in the D-League. I understand it would be really hard to possibly stay in Manila for an extended period of time or fly to Manila for every game but from what I’ve seen I definitely think they could compete,” Sinclair said.

Visser also remarked that he is confident that Cesafi players can more than hold their own in the D-League.

“We all know that a lot of players and even teams in Cebu are very talented and can compete against teams in Manila. But having a chance to join prestigious leagues such as these would be a great help to Cebuano basketball, for experience and exposure. I hope that the support will come in order to have teams in Cebu play in the D-League and show what Cebu basketball is all about.” /bmjo

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