RECOGNIZING the rich history of Visayas and Mindanao in producing quality basketball talents, a newly organized league is seeking to highlight such as it stages its inaugural season early next year.

The Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup, targeted to begin in January or February, aims to discover and develop grassroots talent from Southern Philippines as well as provide them with a platform, which could pave the way for a career in the sport of basketball.  

The regional amateur league is the brainchild of the group of Mindanao-based businessman Vicente Guingona.

“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 Mr. Guingona, who is the executive vice-president of the Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup.

Among the notable players who emerged from the south were multiple Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) most valuable player awardees Ramon Fernandez, June Mar Fajardo and James Yap, as well as pro stars Dondon Hontiveros, Jeff Chan, Mark Barroca, Michael Tolomia, Jio Jalalon, Baser Amer, Scottie Thompson, and Francis Arnaiz.

It is this tradition of producing quality players that the Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup wants to restart and continue.

“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,” Mr. Guingona said.

Back in 2006, the region had the Mindanao Visayas Basketball Association (MVBA) which later merged with the National Basketball Conference to form Liga Pilipinas which operated until 2011.

For its inaugural season, the Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup is looking at holding two conferences.

Organizers said teams from Sindangan, Zamboanga, Pagadian, Davao, Iligan, Cagayan de Oro, Mandaue, Cebu, Iloilo, Dumaguete, and Roxas have already signified their intent to join. Each squad needs to have at least six homegrown athletes on its lineup.

Since the new league will be operating under extraordinary circumstances with the coronavirus pandemic still a concern, Mr. Guigona said their group is coordinating with pertinent government agencies for the successful holding of the competition.

“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,” he said. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo