Laguna Lakers

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Laguna Lakers
Laguna Lakers logo
Leagues Metropolitan Basketball Association
Founded 1998
History Laguna Lakers
1998-2001
FedEx-Laguna Lakers
2001
Arena San Luis Sports Complex
Location Laguna, Philippines
Team colors Purple and white

The Laguna Lakers (or the FedEx-Laguna Lakers) was a professional basketball team in the now-defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association from 1998 to 2001. The team was owned by Bert Lina, owner of the Federal Express franchise in the Philippines. The team moniker was taken as a reference for the province's numerous lakes, a similar action taken by the then-Minneapolis Lakers of the National Basketball Association. The team played its home games at the San Luis Sports Complex.

History[edit]

In 1998, the Metropolitan Basketball Association was formed as a regional-based professional league which also challenged the commercial Philippine Basketball Association. The Lakers were paraded by former University of Manila stars Biboy Simon and Jovy Sese, Manuel Luis Quezon University standout Wynne Arboleda and the former Letran Knights high-flying Mike Garcia, known for wearing different shoe colors and his dunks.

The Lakers went 14–8 in the inaugural year but failed to enter the Northern Conference Finals. Simon recorded an MBA record 54 points in one game, which remained until the league's closure. In 1999, the Lakers went 16–14 in the elimination round and made the playoffs for the second straight year. The team added fil-Americans Cris Clay and Rudy Hatfield to bolster their lineup. However, Laguna was eliminated by the Pampanga Dragons, in a hard-fought three-game Wildcard series which saw Dragons point guard Roel Bravo hitting a three-pointer to give Pampanga the win.

In 2000, Laguna made its only MBA finals appearance in the Crossover Conference tournament, losing to the San Juan Knights in the finals. The Lakers made it to the National Playoffs, only to be eliminated by the same Knights team, 2–0. Jeff Flowers joined the team to power the Lakers frontline.

Laguna was renamed as the FedEx-Laguna Lakers for the 2001 season but lost to San Juan in the playoffs for the third-straight time.

Departure[edit]

Main article: Barako Bull Energy

In 2001, the PBA's Tanduay Rhum Masters sold its team to the MBA's FedEx-Laguna franchise for a reported 60–75 million pesos. The development led to the Lina group's departure from the MBA to concentrate on their new PBA squad, which was named as the FedEx Express, and later, Air21 Express.

The MBA, as a result, lost its Laguna franchise and one of its biggest sponsors, FedEx, before closing shop at the middle of the 2002 season.

Home Arenas[edit]

  • San Luis Sports Complex (1998–2001)

Notable players[edit]

  • JC Borgs Bayabas
  • Rich Fernandez
  • Jovy Sese
  • Mike Garcia
  • Cris Clay
  • Rudy Hatfield
  • Jeff Flowers
  • Chris Nicdao
  • Don King Sasuman
  • Ryan Bernardo
  • Jasper Ocampo
  • Mon Regidor
  • Richard Melencio
  • Edgar "Egay" Ignacio
  • Junel Mendiola
  • Val Domingo
  • Rolly Basilides
  • Cris Bade
  • Wynne Arboleda
  • Alex Cainglet
  • Junel Mendiola
  • Jerome Barbosa
  • Sunny Margate
  • Alvin Teng
  • Melvin Taguines
  • Randy Alcantara
  • Peter Aguilar (father of current PBA player Japeth Aguilar)
  • Jomar Tierra

Trivia[edit]

  • The Lakers are so named because Laguna encloses Laguna de Bay, a lake. In addition, "Laguna" came from Spanish word lago, which means "lake."

See also[edit]