Now that the PBA has finally resumed, a group has recently been planning to revive the Visayas-Mindanao basketball circuit.
The Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup, set to kick off by January or February next year, aims to discover and develop grassroots talent from Visayas and Mindanao, as well as gear these players for a much bigger stage of basketball.
For more than 40 years, the Visayas-Mindanao circuit has produced a crop of gifted cagers that has raised the standard of play on the hard court, including June Mar Fajardo, James Yap, Dondon Hontiveros, Jeff Chan, Mark Barroca, Michael Tolomia, Jio Jalalon, Baser Amer, Scottie Thompson, Francis Arnaiz and Ramon Fernandez.
"History shows that Visayas and Mindanao are home to the best of the best basketball players in the Philippines. These players left an indelible legacy on the court. We are here to honor their legacy by discovering more players from our region and helping these prospects reach greater heights like their predecessors,” said Mindanao-based businessman Vicente Guingona, whose group has conceptualized the regional amateur organization.
The region once had a community-based amateur commercial league in 2006 when Cebu City councilor Raul “Yayoy" Alcoseba partnered with sports patron Michel J. Lhuillier to found the Mindanao Visayas Basketball Association (MVBA).
Two years later, MVBA merged with the National Basketball Conference to form Liga Pilipinas which operated until 2011.
Guingona hopes that the Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup will fill in the void left by MVBA and further elevate the hoop scene in the region.
“It has been years since we had our own league here. It’s high time for us to once again showcase what we have in terms of basketball. I believe we can still produce more top-caliber athletes that will leave a mark in Philippine basketball history,” he said.
Teams from Sindangan, Zamboanga, Pagadian, Davao, Iligan, Cagayan de Oro, Mandaue, Cebu, Iloilo, Dumaguete and Roxas have already signified their intent to join the inaugural season.
Each squad must have at least 6 homegrown athletes on its lineup.
Two conferences are being targeted, one exclusively for Filipinos and the other featuring foreign players. Games in the elimination round will be confined within their respective areas, waiving the need for long-distance travel.
With amateur sports now awaiting a go-signal from the Inter-Agency Task Force dealing with coronavirus mitigation to troop back to their respective playing fields, Guingona said: “The groundwork has already been laid out. We are just waiting for the green light. We can rest assured that the health and safety of the teams and organizers will be of paramount importance.”