Super Cup finals set: Talisay Aquastars, Mandaue Specialists ready to rumble
CEBU CITY, Philippines— All roads lead to the finals of the inaugural Visayas leg of the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup as two of the best teams in the Visayas collide tomorrow at the Alcantara Civic Center in Alcantara town, southwest Cebu.
Both the MJAS-Zenith Talisay City Aquastars and KCS Computer Specialists-Mandaue City expect a war in their best-of-three finals series.
The Aquastars have the upper hand as they are rested well following their 10-0, unbeaten run in the entire double-round robin elimination campaign, but they have the highest stake in play as they take on the equally determined Specialists that just recently flexed their might by eliminating the ARQ Builders Lapu-Lapu City Heroes on Wednesday evening.
Part of the Aquastars’ 10-game winning streak is a pair of victories against the Specialists. They first won by a large margin,77-57, back on April 13 before a much closer,81-73, victory on their second meeting on April 24.
However, their rare feat in the elimination round meant nothing for their head coach, Aldrin Morante, if they won’t hoist the Visayas leg title as champions.
Morante said they must stay hungry if they would come out on top of this impending battle.
“We’re back to 0-0,” said Morante. “Forget about 10-0. This is the finals, and we need to stay hungry and we need to stay sharp.”
While Morante admits that practice pales in comparison to actual game action, he says their scrimmages have been fierce, which bodes well for their preparation.
Come game one, the soft-spoken coach says he wants his players to pay close attention to KCS’ top guns—Gryann Mendoza and Ping Exciminiano.
“We can’t be complacent on any of them and we have to limit their scoring since they’re the ones who give life to KCS,” Morante shared. “KCS is a heavy-hitter and we all need to stay focused.”
On the other hand, the Specialists’ head coach Mike Reyes said that their performance against the Heroes on Wednesday was their validation that they could compete with anyone in the league.
Reyes, who is always reserved when asked about his team’s chances in their campaign, showed some confidence in tomorrow’s game one.
“We played better, and that is some sort of validation that we can compete with them. If we’re able to compete and keep the game as close as possible, then we have a good chance at the end game,” said the veteran coach who led the Southwestern University-Phinma Cobras to the Cesafi men’s basketball title in 2019.
According to Reyes, their victory against the Heroes on Wednesday put the team’s morale at an all-time high.
“Our morale right now going to the finals is very high which is a great sign. It’s really high because we’ve put a lot of effort in that game and we showed all of that effort in that game. We need to maintain that effort. We need to focus on our defensive skids over Talisay. We need to execute our defense better and offensively, we must value every possession,” added Reyes.
Game one’s tip-off is at 7:00 PM.
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