MANILA, Philippines – Reigning NCAA Most Valuable Player Will Gozum of the College of St. Benilde Blazers will put his basketball skills to the test when he competes in the upcoming Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) as part of the debuting Quezon Huskers.
“This will be a big learning experience for me,” Gozum told Rappler on Saturday, February 25.
“Of course I’ll be with pros, ex-pros, and veterans here. I’m very willing to learn from them and this will help me develop my growth as a basketball player.”
Gozum, a former University of the Philippines cager, will suit up alongside some friends from the Fighting Maroons like Jun Manzo and Jaggie Gregorio.
The 23-year-old Gozum will play under veteran head coach Eric Gonzales.
The team will also have UE Red Warriors Allan Beltran and Jose Antiporda, and former collegiate standouts AJ Madrigal, CJ Catapusan, Brix Ramos, and RJ Minerva.
Gozum’s decision to go to the MPBL doesn’t necessarily mean his tenure with the Blazers has come to an end.
The mobile big man will be able to play in the MPBL during the collegiate offseason as GAB grants student-athletes a Special Guest License as long as they secure a certificate of approval from their respective schools and leagues.
Sources told Rappler that CSB will grant Gozum permission to play in the MPBL as the competition could enhance his overall game.
After averaging close to 17 points and 10 rebounds a contest on nearly 54% shooting from the field in Season 98, Gozum plans to play his final season with the Blazers in 2023.
He will also continue practicing with CSB and participate in preseason games leading up to his final campaign in addition to his responsibilities with the Quezon squad.
The Huskers – owned by Quezon Representative Keith Micah Tan and San Andres, Quezon Mayor Ralph Edward Lim – are currently preparing for the season at UP’s Epsilon Chi Center under the direction of team manager Donn Kapunan and consultant Patrick Gregorio.
Gozum finalized his deal to join the Huskers over the weekend at The University Hotel according to his agent AC Ong of Frolic Athletes.
The NCAA hotshot shared that he found a “comfort zone” with the Huskers given the presence of old friends and how they all share a common goal of winning the MPBL title.
He is considered the face of the new MPBL franchise that will play in the second game of the league’s opening day schedule against Negros on March 11 at the Quezon Convention Center.
“That’s what we have in mind for Will,” Kapunan told Rappler about having Gozum as the team’s headliner.
“I know Will has big plans and what I told him is we are aligned with his plans and we will support him all the way.” – Rappler.com
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