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Talisay, Mandaue start best-of-3 title showdown

John Bryan Ulanday (The Philippine Star) - May 7, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Unbeaten and well-rested MJAS Zenith Talisay looms as a heavy favorite when it troops to battle against KCS Mandaue in Game 1 of the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup Visayas leg finals today at the Alcantara Civic Center in Cebu.

Action begins at 7 p.m. with the Aquastars determined to draw first blood in the best-of-three series and move closer to being crowned as the Visayan kings of the inaugural VisMin league.

Talisay goes to the battlefield from an 11-day layoff after clinching an automatic finals seat with a 10-0 sweep of the elimination round including a 77-57 and 81-73 victories over No. 2 Mandaue.

But coach Aldrin Morante warned his wards against getting complacent, emphasizing that the championship is an entirely different game especially against a Mandaue side that rides a momentum.

“We’re back to 0-0. Forget about 10-0. This is the finals and we need to stay hungry and sharp,” said Morante, who will be banking on seasoned bets Val Acuña, Paolo Hubalde and Patrick Cabahug together with youngbloods Jaymar Gimpayan and Darrell Menina.

Mandaue will have Ping Exciminiano, Gryann Mendoza, Alfrancis Tamsi, Gileant Delator and skipper Joseph Nalos to lean on in a bid to give Talisay a run for its money.

“Talisay is stronger, faster and bigger but if we just play our game like there is no tomorrow and like how we played against Lapu-Lapu, I think we can do it,” said deputy mentor Jabby Bautista after their 74-64 clincher on Wedneday night.

Twice-to-beat Mandaue was forced to a decider by Lapu-Lapu after a 52-67 upset loss in Game 1.

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