SEVERAL of Cebu’s finest young players expressed their simple wish for the upcoming year: to have more commercial tournaments to play in so that they may further develop their skills and confidence.
Long considered to be the premier hoops hotbed in the south, Cebu City has gone through a drought in past years especially when it came to staging commercial basketball tournaments. Players and basketball fans alike, however, were treated to a weeklong hoops extravaganza with the staging of the Mayor Edgar Labella Christmas League a few weeks ago, which drew a who’s-who of Cebu basketball.
The roster of players that competed in the said tournament included the likes of NLEX’s JR Quinahan, the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League’s Cedric Abalaza and Marvin Hayes, Cebuano hoops legend Dondon Hontiveros, University Athletic Association of the Philippines players Patrick Yu, John Galinato and Royce Mantua as well as a slew of former and current Cesafi players led by Most Valuable Player Shaquille Imperial and Mythical Five members Darrell Shane Menina and Isaiah Blanco.
After getting a taste of the action, a number of Cebu’s best young players want more.
“Grabe ka importante as a basketball player nga makaduwa ko kontra sa mga high-calibre players (It is very important asa basketball player to play against high-calibre players),” said Menina, who helped lead Journey to Recovery to the
title in the aforementioned tournament. “Opportunity na pud nako kay mga experienced na pud sila sa basketball ug naa koy makat-onan ug maka-mature sad ni as a basketball player (It is also an opportunity because they are experienced basketball players and they can also teach me maturity and new skill as a player).”
Menina said having more tournaments like this would give local players the chance to become better and more confident.
“Ganahan ko makigduwa sa mga high-calibre player kay maka-compete jud ta ug makat-on ta unsaon pag-season moduwa sa
basketball,” Menina added.
(I want to play alongside high-calibre players because we become more competitive and we can learn a lot from seasoned basketball players.)
Blanco, who got to play with his father, Dondon Hontiveros, for Fighter 50 Wine, echoed Menina’s sentiments.
“Importante kaayo because naa kay makat-onan nila especially with them having played at different and big leagues. Naana sila'y experience, learnings, 'gulang' na matudlo nila nimo,” said Blanco.
(It is very important because we can learn a lot from them having played at different and big leagues. They acquiredexperience, learnings, and are seasoned to teach us new skills.)
Blanco, a high school standout for the University of Cebu, added that he even got his fair share of scolding from the veterans, but he was more than happy to receive them.
“It was a cool experience overall kay dili lang on the same team kundi on the court pa jud nako nakuyog sila Kuya JR (Quinahan), Kuya Marvin (Hayes) and papa. Kadaghan ko nakasab-an nila pero naminaw ko kay para ra man pud nako ang ilang mga gi-correct.”
(It was a cool experience overall not only because of the we're on the same team but also I get to chance to play with Kuya JR (Quinahan), Kuya Marvin (Hayes) and papa. They've corrected a lot of my mistakes but I have to listen to theirb advice for my own good.)