Pagadian Explorers make hardcourt comeback in Mindanao Leg of VisMin Cup

By: Glendale G. Rosal - CDN Digital Correspondent | May 14,2021 - 05:54 PM

Pagadian Mayor Sammy Co (middle, in blue shirt) is joined by Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup COO Rocky Chan (middle, in red shirt) and other officials after finalizing the entry of Pagadian Explorers in the upcoming Mindanao Leg. | Photo from VisMin Super Cup Media Bureau.

CEBU CITY, Philippines— The Mindanao leg of the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup will feature a team that has not been seen in local basketball tournaments for a decade.

The Pagadian Explorers will make their much-awaited return to hardcourt action in the Mindanao leg slated to open on May 30.

The Explorers are best remembered for playing in the finals of the National Basketball Conference and later on in Liga Pilipinas.

The Explorers’ team owner and incumbent Pagadian Mayor Sammy Co ensured that his team’s revival is in time for the Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup the first professional basketball league in the south.

“Before, we already had a team. I don’t know what happened because I was out of politics for six years. Right now, I have another first term and I made sure to revive a team,” said Co, who tapped the likes of Nelson Asaytono and Elbert Alberto during their time with the NBC and Liga.

“It would really help our youth and encourage them na ma-hook sa games and not ma-hook sa drugs.”

Headlining the team is 6-foot-6 Mark Benitez, who previously played for Rizal-Xentro Mall during the 2019-21 Chooks-to-Go MPBL Lakan Cup.

Joining him are Arellano transferees Rich Guinitiran and CJ Pamaran — both of them already secured their special guest licenses from the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) back on April 8, and Keanu Caballero, formerly of Taguig in the National Basketball League.

Completing the squad are Orvelle Saludsod, John Edros Quimado, Arman Demigaya, Kenneth Singedas, Elizalde Sunogan, Kenth Baldeo, Kem Jhon Diva, Von Dechos, Ruben Caballero, Jehzreel Acaylar, Jeric Serrano, Rex Quilo, Christian Manalo, Rey Bolotaolo, Godfred Helido, and Jan Villaver.

Serving as head coach is Harold Sta. Cruz while the team manager is Dodong Pamaran.

“Siyempre we want to promote our province and tell the country that there is a city called Pagadian. Also, we want to win but in sports, siyempre may nananalo at natatalo. We just want to play our best,” said Co about his modest goals in the league.

Besides putting up a team, Co also made a bid to host the league’s Grand Finals this August.

He wants the VisMin Super Cup to be the first league to be played in their newly-constructed gym in Plaza Luz.

“We have a new venue. Sana yung VisMin yung maka-break in sa court natin.”   /rcg

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TAGS: Mayor Sammy Co, Mindanao leg, Pagadian Explorers, VisMin Super Cup

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