Despite being together for just a few weeks, MJAS Zenith-Talisay has been so dominant in the 2021 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup.
Last Tuesday, the Aquastars completed a five-game sweep of the opening round.
But for 16-year pro Paulo Hubalde, the best has yet to come for MJAS-Talisay.
“Our expectation kasi was very high. Pinepressure namin yung sarili namin na to win the championship,” the 40-year-old floor general said.
“For us to do that, we have to win.”
MJAS-Zenith itself is a hodgepodge of veterans and young guns.
There are the likes of Hubalde, Patrick Cabahug, Jhaymo Eguilos, and Jan Jamon who have already seen it all in the game. Then there’s the likes of Shane Menina, Egie Boy Mojica, and Reeve Ugsang who are just starting out with their careers.
Despite this composition, the Aquastars have played in a perfect symphony so far. And it’s because everyone knows their roles in the team.
“All of them are very grounded. Yung personality nila is mababait sila tapos may mga history na nawala sa team pero winelcome namin sila. I think sinusuklian naman nila which sa akin is very good,” said Hubalde, who is averaging 8.6 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 5.6 assists so far.
“Kaya ang sa akin, minimal adjustment. Inaalam na lang namin yung galawan ng bawat isa.”
Still, Hubalde sees a lot of flaws in their game.
“Marami pang kulang. We start slow, missed boxed outs, some of us hindi pa kondisyon. It can get better pa. We still have to stay humble and hungry every game,” he said.
“Hangga’t hindi pa tapos yung laban hindi ka magcecelebrate.”
Their flaws were greatly shown when the Aquastars took on the short-handed ARQ Builders Lapu-Lapu last Saturday.
Despite having a complete squad, MJAS-Talisay struggled to fend off the Heroes, escaping only in the endgame with an 84-75 win.
The next match-up between the Aquastars and the Heroes is still on April 29. But as early as now, Hubalde is already looking forward to it.
“Unang-una, gusto ko silang congratulate for giving their best. Sabi ko nga, heads up you did a great job,” said Hubalde.
“As a competitor, you want to beat their best. I’m looking forward sa game na yun. Mas gusto ko yun na all hands on deck.”