MJAS to bring Talisayâs storied basketball tradition to pro level
left, technical committee chief Rey Canete, Jeanneth Villagonzalo and Atty. Marc Bas of Talisay LGU, team consultant Wilson Villanueva, Vismin Super Cup ambassador Dondon Hontiveros, secretary-general coach Chelito Caro, and Deej Villanueva of Talisay LGU grace the formal launching of MJAS Zenith-Talisay City Aquastars basketball team on Thursday at San Remigio Pensionne Suites in Barangay Mabolo, Cebu City.
Manny Villaruel

MJAS to bring Talisay’s storied basketball tradition to pro level

Emmanuel B. Villaruel (The Freeman) - February 6, 2021 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  MJAS Zenith will try to bring Talisay City’s storied basketball tradition to the pro level as they banner the Aquastars’ campaign in the inaugural Pilipinas Vismin Super Cup set to take off on April 9 in bubble set-up under strict health and safety protocols.

The MJAS-Talisay Aquastars were formally launched in a simultaneous press conference held in Cebu and Manila last Thursday afternoon, with Vismin Cup secretary-general Chelito Caro, league ambassador Dondon Hontiveros, team consultant Wilson Villanueva, and Atty. Marc Bas, Deej Villanueva, and Jeanneth Villagonzalo of Talisay LGU gracing the Cebu event.

Led by team captain Paulo Hubalde,  MJAS-Talisay of team owners Samson and Arlene Lato is composed of former Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc. (CESAFI) standouts in Patrick Jan Cabahug and Tristan Albina (UV), Darell Shane Menina and Lugie Cuyos (UC),  Kevin Villafranca (USJ-R), and Joshua de la Cerna (CIT-U).

Completing the Aquastars’ lineup are Jaymar Gimpayan, Lord Casajeros, Egie Boy Mojica, Steven Cudal, Val Acuna, Allan Dominic Santos, Mel Francis Mabigat, and Jhaymo Eguilos.

Anchored on its tried and tested developmental basketball program that sprang to life when congressman Eduardo “Eddiegul” R. Gullas established the Gullas Cup, an inter-town/city tournament showcasing potential players from Cebu’s First District back in the ‘70s, Talisay has been known not only in winning championships but also in producing some of the country’s brightest hardcourt stars, most notable among them is 2017 PBA Rookie of the Year and three-time All-Star Roger Ray “RR” Pogoy of the TNT Tropang Giga.

And MJAS is bent on keeping up Talisay’s shining legacy in Cebu cagedom.

“We have high expectations for the team because of our competitive lineup. We really aspire to become the first champion in the league and make history,” said MJAS-Talisay team consultant Wilson Villanueva.”Hopefully we can come up with what we are aiming for.”

Deej Villanueva of Talisay LGU representing mayor Samsam Gullas said venturing in the pro ranks is a big boost to the city’s comprehensive basketball program, which is perhaps the best in the entire Cebu province, but gamely admitted that it entails a lot of challenge.

“It’s a big honor that our developmental program from the grassroots level now goes all the way to the pro,” said Villanueva. “This will inspire our homegrown talents to strive even harder and improve on their game knowing that they now have a direction to take in their career. After their collegiate experience, they have something to look forward to.”

“The stakes are higher this time though. It’s really a big challenge for us but we’re up to it,” he added.

MJAS-Talisay is one of the four teams that confirmed their entry in the Visayas Division of the country’s first ever professional basketball league based in southern provinces. The others the ARQ Builders/Lapu-Lapu City Heroes of Jason Arquisola, KCS-Mandaue City Megabytes of Ricky Verdida, and XUR Homes Realty-Eastern Samar of Jojo Gio Baquilod.

From Mindanao, set to see action are the Zamboanga Valientes of Rolando “Junnie” Navarro, the Pagadian Explorers of Mayor Samuel Co and Rene “Dodong” Pamaran, and two Zamboanga del Norte municipalities in Sindangan of Sonny Diaz and President Manuel A. Roxas of Mayor Jan Hendrick Vallecer.

A community-based league, the Vismin Super Cup aims to provide opportunity for aspiring ballers in the Vismin region to flaunt their talents and at the same time provide livelihood for all those involved in basketball especially during this pandemic.

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