THEIR return to action delayed by the ongoing pandemic, the MJAS Zenith Talisay Aquastars are raring to compete in the inaugural Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup and keenly eyeing the title.

Speaking at the online Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday, Aquastars members said they are now gearing up to go into battle in the tournament targeted to begin next month.

“The goal is to win the championship. It will be history because it will be the first,” said team manager Jhon Santos.

The Aquastars, whose core is composed of players from the Valenzuela City team in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL), are set to leave for Cebu on March 16 to officially start its team practices.

After that, they will proceed to the municipality of Alcantara where the Visayas leg of the Super Cup kicks off on April 9.

“We joined the tournament not only to compete, but to win the championship. The team has been complete since last year and have bonded. We’re like family and the chemistry is already there,” said former Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) player Paolo Hubalde, who will banner the team, which is backed by Puma.

The Aquastars will also feature a number of homegrown players from Talisay, a requirement in joining the league.

Messrs. Santos and Hubalde said that while they want to win the championship, they, too, recognize that it will not come easy and the team has to put in the needed work end to end if they are to succeed.

Other members of the team are Patrick Cabahug, Val Acuna, Tristan Albina, Darell Shane Menina, Lugie Cuyos, Kevin Villafranca, Joshua Dela Cerna, Jaymar Gimpayan, Lord Casajeros, Egie Boy Mojica, Steven Cudal, Allan Dominic Santos, Mel Francis Mabigat, and Jhaymo Eguilos.

The team reiterated that while it is competing in the Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup, it is not totally closing its doors on the MPBL, which is still working on resuming its stalled season because of the pandemic.

The Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup 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.

Since the new league will be operating under extraordinary circumstances with the coronavirus pandemic still a concern, organizers are coordinating with pertinent government agencies for the successful holding of the competition, including the needed swab testing and quarantine procedures.

The winner of the Visayas leg will meet the champion of the Mindanao leg — to be held in Zamboanga City — for the Super Cup national championship. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo