MANILA, Philippines – The Zamboanga Valientes MLV clashes with Orange Buckets Australia in the opener of their campaign in the 3×3 Christmas Street Hustle tournament on Saturday, December 12, at the Belconnen 3×3 outdoor courts in Canberra, Australia.
Also to be pitted against the Zamboanga Valientes are the White Buckets Australia, the Black Team, and a team composed of Australia-based Africans.
"This is our first international foray. And Filipinos here, including other Asians, are supporting the Valientes because they have homegrown players and are proven fighters," said Junnie Navarro, the son of businesswoman/philanthropist Cory Navarro, owner of the Zamboanga Valientes.
Veterans Eric Miraflores and Chris Concepcion, 18-year-old prospect Adam Compton, and Sudanese-Australian Duom Dawan make up the Zamboanga Valientes, backed by MLV Group CEO Mike Venezuela, considered the dark horse in the Open division of the annual 3×3 event.
The 5-foot-10 Miraflores played for University of the East Team B and Feati University, respectively, while the 5-9 Concepcion saw action for St. Francis of Assissi and made the mythical team of the NCRAA.
Compton, who traces his roots from the Philippines, stands 6-foot-6, while the Sydney-born Dawan towers at 6-10.
"We want to give the Valientes the experience and exposure playing against the Australians who are among the world's best," added Navarro. "This is just the start of our international journey."
While admitting the Valientes are in for a rough ride, Navarro said they're capable of springing surprises as shown by their victory over a Sudanese team recently.
Fielding an all-Zamboangueno team, the Zamboanga Peninsula Valientes earned the admiration of fans when they advanced to the semifinals of the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 President's Cup.
Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League players Rudy Lingganay, Gino Jumao-as, Medd Salim, RR de Leon and Jonjon Rebollos composed the Valientes then.
Jumao-as and Das Era, another MPBL player, failed to secure their visas in time for one of Australia's top 3×3 events.
The Zamboanga Valientes, being supported by Zamboanga City Mayor Beng Climaco, also competed in the National Basketball League which turned pro this year.
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