MJAS Zenith Talisay top officials Jhon Santos and Michael Aldover expressed confidence that the team has the right materials to win the inaugural Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup next month.
Santos, the team manager of Talisay, said Tuesday that when the opportunity arrived to join the fledgling league, team owners Samson and Arlene Lato grabbed it with the goal of winning the title.
“Para sa akin kakaiba yung set up ngayon, kasi first time magkakaron ng professional basketball in Visayas and Mindanao (For me this is a unique setup, because this is the first time that there will be a professional basketball in Visayas and Mindanao),” said Santos at the weekly online PSA Forum.
“The goal is to win the championship kasi history yan, first ka mag-champion sa VisMin Super Cup.”
Aldover, also the senior manager for sales marketing and operations of PUMA, which backs the ball club, said that he is actually putting pressure on the players since this is the first time their company has sponsored a team.
“It’s a very competitive team, the blend and relationship. At the same time, I’m putting pressure on them. This is the first time (as a marketing strategy) to support a basketball team,” he said.
“I think they have good potential and the line up is balanced. I believe they can be the first champion team in the VisMin Super Cup.”
Paolo Hubalde, a former PBA player, is one of the key players and veteran leaders with ex-pros Val Acaña and Patrick Cabahug, and he too knows they have the right pieces to contend for the title.
Under coach Aldrin Morante and team consultant Bong Alvarez, the team also includes Kevin Rey Villafranca, Darrell Shane Menina, Jaymar Gimpayan, Howler Casajeros, Egie Boy Mojica, Steven Zyron Cudal, Allan Dominic Santos, Mel Francis Mabigat, Jhaymo Eguilos, Joshua Dela Cerna and Lugie Cuyos.
“We’re very excited. We can win the championship,” said Hubalde, who played 11 seasons in the PBA.
“Kaya naman tayo sumasali sa mga leagues is to win championship, and itong team na-bond na kami ng panahon, since last year pa, and yung chemistry namin andun na (The reason why we join leagues is to win the championship, and this team has bonded over time, since last year, and the chemistry is there already).”
Santos said the team is set to leave for Cebu on March 16 to start preparing for the tournament, which will be played starting April 9 with 12 teams – six each from the Visayas and Mindanao – in a bubble set up in Cebu City.