Deeply hurt was Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 founder Ronald Mascariñas after the announcement of the suspension of the VisMin Super Cup’s Mindanao Leg.
In the wake of the farcical game between Siquijor and ARQ Builders-Lapu Lapu in the Visayas leg, the Games and Amusements Board was forced to suspend the Mindanao leg of the tournament. The suspension of the Mindanao Leg which was supposed to begin on May 20 in Dipolog City would only be lifted pending the performance of the remained for the Visayas Leg.
That is why Mascariñas questioned the logic of it as the teams from Mindanao were already in the midst or are about to start their preparations for their coming-out party.
“Nakakagulat yung desisyon ng GAB na hindi pa naguumpisa yung Mindanao at wala dun sa Cebu, sinuspinde. Yun yung hinihingan namin ng konsiderasyon na bakit naman masyado niyong minamaliit yung Mindanao,” the amiable executive told DZRH’s Dos Por Dos.
“Masakit sa akin yun kasi taga-Mindanao ako.”
Since time immemorial, Mindanao has been battling with representation in sports. And the VisMin Super Cup’s Mindanao leg was a dream fulfilled for fans like Mascariñas — a native of Butuan City.
Two decades ago, the Metropolitan Basketball Association was the first to attempt to do a regional league. However, out of the 16 teams that played in the league’s five-year run, only the Cagayan de Oro Nuggets, the SocSarGen Marlins, the Surigao Miners, and the Davao Eagles were true blue Mindanao teams.
Another league tried to attempt doing a regional format in Liga Pilipinas. But again Mindanao was “underrepresented” as only the MP-Gensan Warriors and the Misamis Oriental Meteors were the representatives of the area. Liga Pilipinas eventually folded in 2011.
Then of course there’s the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League. But despite having a 31-team cast and a proud Mindanaoan in Manny Pacquiao as owner, only reigning national champions Davao Occidental-Cocolife Tigers, Zamboanga Family’s Brand Sardines, Sarangani Marlins, GenSan Warriors, and Basilan-Jumbo Plastic Steel are the only members from down south.
Entering its inaugural pro season, homegrown-based basketball league National Basketball League-Pilipinas only has the Zamboanga Valientes as its southern team.
That is why the Mindanao Leg of the VisMin Super Cup was a beacon of hope for Mindanaoans.
Already confirmed for the leg are nine teams — just three teams shy of the total number of clubs that have played in the MBA, Liga Pilipinas, MPBL, and NBL. These teams are the Basilan Peace Riders, the Cagayan De Oro Rafters, the Zamboanga Los Valientes, the Pagadian Explorers, the Roxas Vanguards, the Sindagan Saints, and teams from Tawi-Tawi; Valencia City, Bukidnon; and Ozamis.
For Mascariñas, the Mindanao Leg was supposed to be a showcase of their region and a celebration of southern basketball. However, the punishment that was handed to it based on the sins of two teams from Visayas dampened it.
“Hindi pa nga nagsisimula yung liga, pagsususpetyahan niyo na. Nag-uumpisa pa lang yung imbestigasyon sa Visayas, suspendido na. Ganun ba talaga kaliit ang tingin niyo sa taga-Mindanao? Huwag naman ganun. Yung mga team owners dun nag-invest yan sa pagkakataon na makalaro.”