THE Zamboanga Valientes will draw inspiration from the local crowd when they clash with the Sultan Naga Dimaporo Barracudas at 8 p.m. in the GlobalPort VisMin Super Cup kicking off today at the Zamboanga City Coliseum.
Powered by homegrown stars and reinforced by former NCAA MVP Prince Eze, the Valientes are slight picks over the Lanao del Norte team in the four-game opening salvo of the imports-spiced pro league.
The Valientes, owned by philanthropist Cory Navarro and supported by JPS, MLV Group, Go for Gold and 1 PacMan Partylistwill be led by former PBA player Jonathan Parreno, former Letran Knight Jonathan Belorio, former Adamson Falcon Araouf Julkilpi, former University of the East Red Warrior Gino Jumao-as and Tausug hero Das Eza.
Pesky guards Jeff Bernardo and Denver Cadiz and veteran Reed Juntilla, another former PBA player, are also with the Valientes being backed by Zamboanga City Mayor Beng Climaco, Councilor Pinpin Pareja and Kap James Siason.
Former actress Empress Schuck will be the Valientes’ muse in the opening ceremonies set at 7 p.m.
The Barracudas have Jaymar Gimpayan, last year’s VisMin Cup MVP, former Barangay Ginebra guard Teytey Tedoro, and former MPBL players Adrian Celada, Ken Acibar and Ricky Maurillo in their roster.
Other inaugural matches pit Kalos PH (Eastern Samar) against MACFI Basilan at 1 p.m.; McDavid ZamPen versus OCCCI (Ormoc) at 3 p.m.; and Tubigon Miners against CPG Bohol at 5 p.m.
Tickets are almost sold-out, guaranteeing a big crowd at the air-conditioned coliseum which drew a record crowd of over 12,000 in an MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) game between the Zamboanga Valientes and the Manila Stars in 2018.