‘Future Mark Barroca’: Zamboanga sees promising guards on VisMin Cup roster

Rey Joble

Posted at Mar 04 2022 06:50 AM

Jeff Bernardo may have what it takes to become a PBA prospect, the Valientes coach says.
Jeff Bernardo may have what it takes to become a PBA prospect, the Valientes coach says.

As a breeding ground of great point guards — the most notable ones being Mark Barroca and RR Garcia who are making their mark in the PBA — this year's JPS Zamboanga Valientes MLV team competing in the new season of the VisMin Cup will showcase the future of the province's basketball program.

Two of those homegrown talents — Jeff "Wonder Boy" Bernardo and Denver "Raton de Coco" Cadiz — want to prove they deserve to play among the big boys in the league dominated by former PBA players and several stars who played in major commercial leagues such as the MPBL and D-League.

Standing 5-foot-7, Bernardo played for Zamboanga in the VisMin Cup last year.

Cadiz, meanwhile, is a 5-foot-5 spitfire known as "The Coconut Rat" because of his blinding speed.

These pint-sized guards will play alternately at the point guard spot of the Valientes owned by Cory Navarro, Mike Valenzuela and James Siason and will be handled by Joseph Romarate.

"I think kami ’yung team with the most number of homegrown players fielded," Romarate told ABS-CBN. "Abangan nila ’yung mga new breed of Valientes, ‘the future Mark Barroca’ sila Bernardo and Cadiz." 

Although they have a lot of homegrown talents to showcase, the Valientes won't be a pushover as they will be bringing in former PBA players Reed Juntilla, Jonathan Pareño, and mainstays Das Esa and Gino Jumao-as. 

Perhaps, the Valientes will also have the most talented import among the reinforcements seeing action in this coming season, as former NCAA Most Valuable Player Prince Eze will be shoring up the team's frontcourt.

"We want to compensate our lack of size, that's why Prince Eze will be a big help to boost our front court," added Romarate. "As host, we cannot let our fans down. Nakita niyo naman ‘yung turnout dati. Each time na may game dito ‘yung MPBL, parating jampacked."

Seven teams are seeing action in the league's new season, which is now under new management headed by commissioner Cris Bautista. 

Besides host Zamboanga, other teams competing are Bohol-CPG Pure Mineral Water, Misamis Oriental, Iligan City, Tubigon Mariners, Basilan Macfi and OCCI Ormoc.

The new season starts on March 19.