CEBU, Philippines — History beckons as the first ever season of the Pilipinas Vismin Super Cup, featuring a tantalizing blend of former collegiate stars, commercial veterans and ex-PBA cagers across the archipelago, formally opens today at the Alcantara Civic Center in Alcantara town southeast of Cebu.
Seven teams will be seeing action in the Visayas bubble play of the country’s first professional basketball league based in southern provinces that will be staged behind closed doors under strict health and safety protocols for at least 25 days.
The contenders for the coveted crown are the MJAS Zenith-Talisay City Aquastars, ARQ Builders/Lapu-Lapu City Heroes, KCS-Mandaue City Computer Specialists, Tabogon-Cebu Voyagers, Tubigon-Bohol Mariners, Dumaguete Warriors, and Siquijor Mystics.
Before the hardcourt hostilities break out, a simple but meaningful opening ceremony will be done starting at 3 pm. Expected to grace the momentous affair are Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia and Alcantara Mayor Fritz Lastimoso among other invited luminaries.
“Overall we’re very excited. We’re relieved that governor Gwen Garcia has given her go signal for the Super Cup. She is proud and happy that a very historic basketball tournament will take place here in the province of Cebu. She has been very supportive of our league and hopefully we will have her (in the opening),” said Super Cup COO Rocky Chan.
“As for our opening, we have a pre-recorded show para naman matuwa yung mga players at iba pang manonood,” said Vismin Super Cup COO Rocky Chan. “We will also be having the traditional parade of teams but only two to three representatives per team to observe maximum social distancing.”
Chan reiterated that in establishing the Super Cup, they are not competing with other leagues. All that they yearned for is to discover talents, provide opportunities for players in the provinces, and most importantly extend a helping hand to those who are in need in the basketball world during these tough times.
“We stick for what we believe in at this time of the pandemic. What we want is to generate jobs. The players, the coaches and everyone else are sacrificing for their families just to earn a livelihood. We’re looking at the bigger picture here,” emphasized Chan.
On the other hand, Chan said they have closely coordinated with the LGUs of Alcantara and Moalboal to put all safety measures and contingency plans in place for the welfare of all inside the bubble in the course of their month-long tilt. While Alcantara is the main host, all those involved in the league are billeted in various hotel resorts in the neighboring town of Moalboal.
“We are leaving no stones unturned as far as our health protocols and safety measures are concerned,” assured Chan. “Violators will be dealt with strictly. Anyone who commit a breach of any of our guidelines will be kicked out of the bubble immediately while the team concerned will be fined P50,000.”
Meanwhile, the Talisay Aquastars will take on the Tubigon-Bohol Mariners in the first ever game of the Super Cup set at 4 p.m. today. After a thorough disinfection of the venue, the Mandaue Computer Specialists will go up against the Siquijor Mystics in the main match at 7 p.m.
Games are scheduled daily including a heavy load of triple-headers but players will enjoy a two-day ceasefire per week on April 11-12, 18-19, and 25-26.
The tournament follows a double round robin format. The top two teams will gain automatic semifinal berths and will wait for the winners of the knockout playoffs between teams No.3 vs No.6 and No.4 vs No.5 on May 1. The best-of-three championship series is set to begin May 6.
After the Visayas leg wraps up, the Mindanao bubble will get going in Dipolog City with eight teams competing in Basilan Peace Riders, Cagayan de Oro Rafters, Ozamiz City Cotta, Pagadian Explorers, Roxas Vanguards, Sindangan Saints, Zamboanga City Los Valientes, and Tawi-Tawi.