|Most of the Aquastars' careers have been intertwined, making them a cohesive unit this far in the preseason. Talisay Aquastars (file photo)|
MANILA--Looking at the Talisay lineup for the upcoming VisMin Super Cup, it looks like familiarity could be the key for the team to win it all in the newly founded league.
After all, in one way or another, the core of the lineup have mainly played together for other teams.
Paulo Hubalde, Patrick Cabahug, Jaymar Gimpayan, Kevin Villafranca, and Mel Mabigat were teammates for Valenzuela in the MPBL.
Hubalde happens to be teammates too with Val Acuna when they played for San Miguel in the ABL, even winning a title together.
Acuna then played alongside Jhaymo Eguilos and Lester Alvarez for Batangas City in the MPBL.
Also to be noted are the Cebuano ties between Villafranca and Darrell Menina in terms of recency of starting their careers.
For Hubalde, the listed captain of the team to be known as the Aquastars, the cohesion that they have built prior to the formation of the roster should be of a big advantage to them as they vie for the inaugural Super Cup pennant.
"Chemistry is a big factor. Dapat buo ang team kasi marami kayong problemang tatahakin. Kaya ba ng team mo yung problemang tatahakin? Yun yung big factor," Hubalde said in the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum.
He added, "Na-bond na kami ng panahon kasi buo na kami since last year, so 'di man kami nagkakaroon ng training, pag may gathering kahit online, we're really talking to each other. So yung chemistry namin, nandoon na. Kumbaga, it's not a team. It's a family na."
Among the first to announce its lineup for the Super Cup, Talisay was seen as among the favorites to win it all.
"It's a well balanced team in terms of positions and even the experience. It's a mix of rookies and professionals like Paulo, Cabahug, and Val Acuna. Maganda yung blend ng team, especially the local players. They are very strong. Nagulat ako sa performance ng mga local players," said Mike Aldover, the senior manager for sales marketing and operations for Puma, the Aquastars' kit sponsor.
With that said, Hubalde is aware that the expectations are high on them.
"We want to win the championship. Kaya naman tayo sumasali sa mga leagues is to win the championship," he further said.
Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno