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Physicality a byword in VisMin Cup

Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star) - April 8, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — There won’t be a shortage of physicality in the Visayas leg of the Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup which kicks off under strict bubble conditions in Alcantara, Cebu, tomorrow as league chief operating officer Rocky Chan guaranteed “exciting action every game” with six homegrown players a requirement in the rosters of the 16 participating teams. To give an opportunity for hometowners, at least one must be on the court at any time and none from either the PBA or ABL.

Chan said the league was formed “to generate jobs for players, coaches and utility, it’s as simple as that” in these difficult times. “It’s a sacrifice to be away from family but this is for their livelihood,” he said. The Visayas leg will gather seven teams to play a double round-robin elimination or 12 games each up to April 29 then the top six finishers advance to the playoffs until May 8. The Mindanao leg will involve nine teams, including late entries Tawi-Tawi and Ozamiz, to play in a similar bubble in Dipolog. The Visayas and Mindanao champions will dispute the inaugural crown in a best-of-three series. The VisMin Super Cup is under GAB supervision as a pro league.

VisMin Super Cup secretary-general Chelito Caro assured that “makapal ang tawagan,” meaning “hindi manipis” because it’s the trademark of Southern style basketball and “’yan ang gusto ng Pinoy” but stressed no tolerance for intent to hurt or dirty play. He said before the league was formed, several coaches had texted in a state of depression because of unemployment. Siquijor coach Joel Palapal admitted he became a delivery driver to make ends meet. So the VisMin Super Cup is a timely vehicle to bring coaches, players and staff back together. Chan said a budget cap of P1 million has been set for each team to include salaries and bonuses. A requirement is a UPC (uniform player’s contract). A team pays a franchise fee and a tournament fee to the league which uses the funds for TV coverage, referees and testing expenses.

Chan said a team may submit up to 20 players in a lineup with 15 to see action in a game. The six homegrown players are a combination of three from the team’s city and three from the VisMin region. Aside from the six hometowners, teams are allowed to recruit players from anywhere in the country.  Teams are mandated to enlist a safety officer who will make temperature readings twice a day and coordinate swab testing. Billeting is within a 10-minute drive from the playing venue in Alcantara. Among the ex-PBA players in the league are Paolo Hubalde, Val Acuna, Ryan Buenafe, Erick Rodriguez, Ping Exciminiano and Gryann Mendoza.  Favored is Talisay, coached by Aldrin Morante and featuring the nucleus of MPBL Valenzuela. Basilan, an MPBL semifinalist in the Lakan Cup, will play in the Mindanao leg. TNT coach Chot Reyes’ younger brother Mike, who is based in Cebu and piloted Southwestern to the CESAFI title in 2019, will call the shots for Mandaue.

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