Six teams from Visayas and six from Mindanao will vie for the inaugural championship of the Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup, the first professional basketball league based in the south.
The six Visayas teams will clash in a double round robin elimination starting April 9 in the municipality of Alcantara in Cebu.
The six teams from Mindanao will likewise play a double round robin elimination sometime in May with Zamboanga City or Zamboanga del Norte vying to host the bubble tournament.
The Visayas champion and the Mindanao champion will collide in a best-of-three duel for the first ever Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup crown.
“The Visayas leg will be a bubble type tournament for now dahil hindi talaga tayo papayagan ng IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) at ng Games and Amusements Board na magsagawa ng regular tournament,” said Super Cup CEO Rocky Chan at TOPS Usapang Sports online forum on Thursday. “The games were supposed to be played in Cebu City but since marami pang case ng Covid-19 sa city, we decided to move the games in the province and luckily, the mayor of Alcantara offered to host the tournament.”
Chan added that players, game officials and technical staff shall remain in the bubble and shall be subjected to a strict health and safety protocol for 20 to 25 days.
“Bawal talaga lumabas sa bubble. Kung may player na lalabag, may mga penalty tayo para diyan,” said Super Cup Secretary General Chelito “Carz” Caro. “Same thing with the Mindanao leg.”
Based on league rules, each team shall enlist at least six players born and raised from the municipality or city the team is representing. Veterans of the Philippine Basketball Association, Fil-foreigners whose parents are both Filipino citizens and Fil-foreigners already carrying Philippine passports are allowed to play in the league.
“To simplify, we have three goals for establishing the league,” said Chan. “First is to discover new talents from the Visayas and Mindanao regions. Second is to generate jobs for basketball players and also the referees. And third, to promote sports tourism in the region.”
Chan, however, admitted that the third goal may not be achieved right away since fans are not allowed to watch games live during their inaugural season but is confident basketball aficionados in the south will patronize the league and root for their own teams in the long run.
All Visayas leg games are to be played in Alcantara, a municipality located in the southern part of Cebu province while some of the teams shall be billeted in nearby Moalboal, a popular tourist destination.
Chan and Caro were joined at the weekly TOPS Usapang Sports by Alcantara Mayor Fritz Lastimoso and Super Cup ambassador Dondon Hontiveros.
Caro added that some of the competing teams are still looking for a partner local government unit but assured there will be six teams playing in the Visayas leg and another six playing in the Mindanao leg.
The champion team will receive a P500,000-purse while the runner-up gets P100,000.
FREDERICK M. NASIAD