After a year in hiatus, the Filipino summer basketball league is back in full force.
The popular league brings Filipino families, and those who want to take part, from all around central Alberta together for a friendly, yet competitive, basketball league series, which started Saturday, May 21 at St. Augustine Catholic School. The sport is quite popular in the Philippines, explained Jerry Nepomuceno, spokesperson of a working group who brought teams together for the event.
It’s so popular the committee made sure to put in all the stops for the event, including a running commentary, which helped fans cheer on their favourite teams, players or when an athlete made a significant play in the game. Fans were vocal in their support, which made the event that more exciting.
Hosted by Christ’s Corridor Church in Ponoka, the purpose of the series is to bring a sense of fellowship and community for the many Filipino families in the area but Nepomuceno says it is not exclusive to people from the Philippines. The last time the group hosted the basketball series players from Ponoka joined in on the teams, in what players jokingly called ‘imports.’”
“We like to see the Ponoka group grow as a family,” he said.
Making the event possible came from help from the school. Nepomuceno is grateful for the support and says principal Kevin Prediger was able to accommodate the event by suggesting the group host the league from May to June. This ensured the group could get six teams every Saturday for the series.
The committee wants to create a culture of camaraderie and fellowship so that there are ways for people to come together rather than being in split groups.
Another committee is working on implementing the outdoor summer basketball league, said Nepomuceno.
One benefit of the league is it gives Filipino families, new to the area, a chance to make new friends and play the game that is so loved from their home country. “We really would just like to create a place and event that is what you miss back in the Philippines. We would like to bring it here.”
Ponoka’s second most-spoken language is Filipino due to the number people from the Philippines in town.